Between 1981 and 1984, Leonard Bernstein recorded nearly all of Brahms's
orchestral works with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra to honor the 150th
anniversary of the composer's birth in 1983. Today, the cycle is considered
as a landmark in the interpretation of Brahms' music. For Bernstein, Brahms
was "a true Romantic, containing his passions in classical garb", but also
a "North-German classicist swept away to Vienna, and fired by Danubian,
Carpathian and gypsy passions". Bearing this dualism in mind, Bernstein and
the Vienna Philharmonic have underscored both the classicism and
romanticism, the dramatic intensity and the sober restraint of Brahms's
music. The venue was Vienna's Musikvereinssaal, where two of Brahms's
symphonies were premiered and where Brahms himself conducted. The soloist
in Brahms's concerto is the Polish pianist Krystian Zimerman, who launched
his meteoric career when he won the Chopin Competition in Warsaw in 1975.
An important influence in his youth was his friendship with Arthur
Rubinstein, and other landmarks in his career arose through his work with
conductors such as Bernstein, Giulini and Karajan.