Johannes Brahms was anything but a timid composer. His works were often of epic stature and he made them thus with no apology. And the Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat major is no exception. Held aloft by the majority of classical pianists, it is a mammoth work of extraordinary breadth and quality, deftly bridging classical and romantic styles as only Brahms could do.
Cast in four-movement structure more akin to classical sonata form than the traditional three-movement concerto plan, Brahms made the piece singularly his in many ways. Its themes and cadenzas embody that peculiarly Brahmsian style of composition that implies all that is grand, wondrous and mysterious in life. The texture is woven beautifully through a mixture of stormy drama, lustrous romance and calm reflection. And strangely enough, the third movement Andante features a lengthy solo for violoncello, slightly unconventional for a piano concerto! All of this, however, is uniquely Brahms and it is no surprise that this piece has remained one of the great achievements in the concerto form.