The other evening I had the good fortune of witnessing Emanuel Ax perform Johannes Brahms - Piano Concerto No.1, Op.15 with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. I do not have an educated ear so I cannot tell you why it was excellent but viscerally I know that to be the case. It was among the very finest performances I have ever experienced.
Should you ever have the chance to experience a performance by Mr. Ax, grab it.
As for Brahms Piano Concerto No. 1, Opus 15, well, I expect piano concertos to lull me to sleep (I don't mean that as criticism, it is what piano concertos do to me and as odd as it may be to say so, I like the feeling of it). There is no lullaby in that piece. It is invigorating (thanks, Rick!). Try it, you'll like it.
As for the orchestra, it is always in fine fiddle and for this performance, it seems to this knucklehead, in excellent form and Maestro Järvi, a man of good humor, was at his best.
Half the Puzzle
6 minutes ago