Pianist Helene Grimaud.

(Photo: Mat Hennek/Deutsche Grammophon)
Pianist Helene Grimaud and the Philadelphia Orchestra perform Brahms' massive Piano Concerto No. 1 this Saturday evening at Bravo! Vail.

When Brahms wrote the piece, it came to fruition in fits and spurts between 1854 and 1859. Brahms initially set out to write a symphony, then tried arranging the material for two pianos. He ultimately settled on writing for piano and orchestra. 

The final piece is a sweeping -- and intimidating -- piece of the piano repertory, CPR Classical's Charley Samson notes.

"It's a massive work. Not all pianists can even do it. ... It's a bear," he says. Click the audio link above to hear more from Charley on the piece's history.

Grimaud, who released an acclaimed recording of both Brahms concertos in 2013, performs it on a program this Saturday that includes Rachmaninoff's "Symphonic Dances." Philadelphia Orchestra Music Director Yannick Nezet-Seguin conducts.

Hear the entire concert live at 6 p.m. Saturday on CPR Classical as part of our SummerFest concert broadcast series.