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There are many who believe that, if Beethoven wrote the Old Testament of the symphonic literature, then Brahms was the author of the New. Brahms certainly had a rich and complex relationship with tradition and novelty. ‘You don’t know what it’s like, having that giant at my heels,’ he ruefully remarked to one who was waiting, as was much of musical Europe at the time, for a First Symphony from a man whom Schumann had already proclaimed as Beethoven’s heir.
In fact the giant referred to by Brahms may indeed have been Schumann and not Beethoven, for the First Symphony contains an embedded thematic narrative that links both composers through Schumann’s wife Clara, and the complex relationship between the three was never to be satisfactorily resolved. Brahms conceived a somewhat desperate passion later in life for one of the Schumann children, and it may be said of him more truly than most creative artists that he subsumed many of his most private and turbulent feelings within his own work.
Turbulence is certainly a keynote of these marvellous, dramatic recordings. Antal Doráti may be better known to us now as a Haydn and Stravinsky specialist, or at least pioneer, but the rhythmic spring he insisted upon is at least as germane to symphonies that have often laboured under heavier weights. Indeed his light-footed tempi and incisive articulation are among the reasons why this set, unusually, fits on two CDs.
“This is about the most extrovert performance of Brahms’s First that I have ever heard. Even I, a devotee of Klemperer and Walter, find the blood stirred by Dorati’s crisp, clean-cut attack and guiltily enjoy some of the
outrageously fast speeds.” Gramophone Magazine, April 1961
Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days.
Carl Schuricht conducts Brahms & JS Bach
Carl Schuricht was awarded a warm welcome in Geneva from Ernest Ansermet when forced into exile in 1944. Brahms was always a central part of Carl Schuricht’s repertoire. The harnessing of the fourth symphony, delivered in 1952 is amazing due to the intensity of its metronomic movements and the fluidity of its reading. Carl Schuricht added Bach’s second suite for orchestra to his repertoire to allow the talents of the orchestra’s solo flutist – André Pépin, to be highlighted.
Usually despatched in 4 - 5 working days.
Brahms: Symphonies Nos. 3 & 4
Bremen Philharmonic Orchestra, Markus Poschner
(also available to download from $20.00)
Usually despatched in 4 - 5 working days. (Available now to download.)
Brahms: Symphony No. 4 in E minor, Op. 98
version for piano 4 hands
Hans-Peter Stenzl (piano), Volker Stenzl (piano)
Brahms: Symphony No. 4
Recorded live at Royal Festival Hall, London, 5-8 October 2008
Soli Deo Gloria is proud to release the last instalment of its successful Brahms Symphony series which sees John Eliot Gardiner and his Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique explore the music of Johannes Brahms.
This album is a celebration of the Fourth Symphony and the various pieces that contributed to its making.
From baroque to romantic, and from great orchestral pieces to intimate choral works, the listener gains a wonderful insight into Brahms’s mind and music making, through pieces that he loved and inspired him.
The Fourth Symphony was described by Richard Strauss as “a giant work, great in concept an invention, masterful in its form, and yet from A to Z genuine Brahms, in a word, an enrichment to our art”. Drawing from many sources of the musical past, it is nevertheless absolutely unique.
It is impregnated with baroque influence – the Finale was directly inspired by Bach’s cantata Nach dir, Herr, verlanget mich. Brahms enjoyed conducting less known old repertoire such as Gabrieli’s Sanctus Benedictus and Schütz’s Saul, Saul. They influenced his choral writing as we can hear in the Geistliches Lied. Brahms was also famously inspired by Beethoven, and the Finale to the Fourth clearly owes to his Coriolan overture.
The booklet includes a conversation between John Eliot Gardiner and composer Hugh Wood, explaining how the pieces relate to each other and giving a moving account of Brahms as a composer and as a man.
This recording was made during the 2008 Brahms: Roots and Memories tour.
“Gardiner brings a delightful crispness and spontaneity to the work: he creates great sweeps of emotion without sacrificing inner details, and the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique respond to him by playing with warmth and passion.” METRO, 3rd September 2010
“[The motets] provide a surprising context for the symphony, given in a transparent, analytical performance by the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique. Harmony and counterpoint gleam, with no aural smudges and not a jot of bookish didacticism.” The Observer, 12th September 2010
“...the variety of tone, dynamic and texture from Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique is consistently well defined...A no-prisoners account of Beethoven's Coriolan Overture opens a programme that explores Brahms' choral influences, with pristine excerpts of Gabrieli, Schütz and Bach.” The Independent on Sunday, 12th September 2010
“Gardiner's highly energised, raw-boned account, superbly played by the ORR and never dwelling unduly on inessential expressive details, has a real sense of culmination, of the end of a creative journey that the whole series of recordings has illuminated in a genuinely original way.” The Guardian, 16th September 2010 ****
“The symphony is upstaged by choral works (Schütz, Gabrieli, Beethoven and Brahms) which illuminate its creative background. The jewel is Brahms’s wondrous Geistliches Lied, giving the Monteverdi Choir its finest hour.” Financial Times, 17th September 2010 ***
“this disc is a triumph of imaginative programming, an education for anyone wishing to hear the music that inspired the composer...Gardiner’s approach is the antithesis of the muddy sound of most “classic” recordings. His tempi are brisk yet flexible, as Brahms wanted, but he refuses to sentimentalise the music.” Sunday Times, 26th September 2010 ****
“everything seems in focus: not just the tempo, but also the rhythmic drive and urgency seem absolutely right in the third and fourth movements...This performance gives a lively sense of what that authentic Brahms sound might have been like, and the music gains enormously - not an ounce of flab on these textures” BBC Music Magazine, December 2010 *****
“It's fascinating to hear the Bach cantata movement that inspired that Finale, with the orchestra in its comfort zone. The little-known choral pieces are done well.” Classic FM Magazine, December 2010 ****
“Textures are as transparent as chamber music. Phrases and ideas are nuanced, but disciplined...In short, Gardiner and his orchestra have placed the work firmly within the classical tradition, as a natural continuation from Brahms' symphonic idol Beethoven, rather than the seamless precursor to Wagner.” Charlotte Gardner, bbc.co.uk, 2nd November 2010
(also available to download from $10.00)
This item is currently out of stock at the UK distributor. You may order it now but please be aware that it may be six weeks or more before it can be despatched. (Available now to download.)
Brahms: Symphony No. 4 & Piano Concerto No. 2
live Konzerthaus Berlin, 14/12/2002
Dietrich Fischer Dieskau at 85
With an artist such as Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, who has engaged successfully with the work of so many composers, it makes little sense to assign Johannes Brahms a special place in his repertoire (alongside Schubert, Wolf and innumerable others). And yet his 85th birthday is perhaps an appropriate occasion to point out that in the case of Brahms, the conductor Fischer-Dieskau cannot be separated from the singer (no less than either can be separated from Fischer-Dieskau the painter or writer). It is perhaps with no other composer that Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau’s universality comes to such fullness of expression. There is here an awareness of tradition, form and historical contrasts, both in competition and in equilibrium with each other (and all the greater for it), a never-ceasing delight in discovery and above all an honest desire to communicate in the languages of music and poetry (but of course – who else could have made Die schöne Magelone as popular in the dual role of singer and speaker?). He was able to realise this brilliantly on the conductor’s rostrum, as is proven by this live CD recording with the Konzerthausorchester Berlin in its home on the Gendarmenmarkt in December 2002. Konstantin Lifschitz is the piano soloist in the Second Piano Concerto, as thunderingly virtuosic as he is subtly aware of form. The Fourth Symphony by Brahms offers a marvellous example of how breathing and phrasing is the basis of all common music-making, not least in the symphonic repertoire (and just as much in the concerto here that was in Brahms’ day scolded as being a “symphony with obbligato piano”). Dense agogic and dynamic elaboration and a sense of withdrawn contemplation do not just alternate in this piano concerto, but rather emerge one out of the other. The same is true of the symphony’s formal coherence, from the directness of its opening to its abrupt, almost brusque close. Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Konstantin Lifschitz and the Konzerthausorchester Berlin reveal in every moment that musical beauty in Brahms, whether calm or passionate, is always grounded in a consistent musical rhetoric, and that this beauty must be striven for – a process that is as exciting as it is, in the end, mellow and enriching.
Usually despatched in 3 - 4 working days.
Sir Simon Rattle conducts Brahms and Wagner
Recorded live at Kabelwerk Oberspree, Berlin, 1 May 2007
Sir Simon Rattle conducts the 2007 Europa-Konzert on the occasion of the 125th anniversary of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.
Lisa Batiashvili and Truls Mørk are the wonderful soloists for Brahms`s last orchestral work, the Double Concerto.
Sir Simon Rattle and the Berliner Philharmoniker demonstrate their outstanding musicianship with a fresh and dynamic interpretation of Brahms`s 4th Symphony.
Wagner’s Prelude to Parsifal - was the orchestra’s first recording in September 1913 under Alfred Hertz.
The Kabelwerk Oberspree (power and cable factory) is one of the most impressive historical industrial buildings from late 19th-century Berlin and is an extraordinary venue for an extraordinary programme.
16:9, PCM Stereo, DD 5.1, DTS 5.1
Region code: 0
Booklet notes: English, German, French
Running time: 103 mins
Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days.