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Brahms: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 4
One year after the successful release of the 2nd and 3rd symphonies by Johannes Brahms, the present double CD now completes the full cycle of Brahms’s symphonies, as performed by the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks under the direction of Mariss Jansons. Only a few weeks ago, Mariss Jansons finished the recording of the 4th symphony in Munich’s Herkulessaal. Along with his 1st symphony (“Beethoven’s Tenth”), it puts the finishing touch on the complete performance of Johannes Brahms’ symphonic works, compositions oriented around the creativity of his great role model, yet in many ways also forward looking and innovative.
The first complete Brahms cycle with Mariss Jansons.
A brand-new recording from February 2012.
“[Jansons’s account of these two Brahms symphonies] is notable for the care taken with articulation, phrasing and balance, and for the disciplined force of his Bavarian orchestra. All the more disappointing, then, that No 1 receives a performance that is generally so dull...Happily, in No 4, Jansons’s qualities come fully to the fore. Here everything is alive, and dullness is banished.” Sunday Times, 15th July 2012
“it's clear from the volatile wistfulness with which Jansons phrases its opening bars that he just loves the Fourth Symphony...This is undoubtedly a reading to return to.” BBC Music Magazine, October 2012 ***
“Throughout [the first] movement an assured Jansons successfully provides generous quantities of beauty, sadness and even menace...Jansons and his Bavarian Radio colleagues are impressive Brahmsians. Any serious collector should be happy to hold this set of Brahms’ symphonies.” MusicWeb International, August 2012
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Nielsen & Brahms: Symphony No. 4
Sir John Barbirolli was a champion of both Jean Sibelius and Carl Nielsen. He recorded all the Sibelius Symphonies and many of the orchestral works, but this 1959 recording of the Symphony No.4 ‘The Inextinguishable’ is Barbirolli’s only commercial recording of the music of Nielsen.
The symphony expresses ‘the elemental will to life’ and the explosive start to the symphony bears witness to the inextinguishable energy of the natural world. In the astonishingly powerful finale Nielsen places two timpani players at opposite sides of the orchestra, and from here their thundering volleys fly across the sound stage at each other. Barbirolli’s classic recording is a powerful rendition of Nielsen’s greatest symphony. Sir John was also a champion of the music of Brahms.
He recorded the four symphonies with the Vienna Philharmonic and the piano concertos with Daniel Barenboim. This 1959 recording of Symphony No.4 with the Hallé Orchestra was briefly available on CD over ten years ago, so this latest reissue is a welcome reminder of Barbirolli intense performance.
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Klemperer Rarities: New York, Vol. 3 (1942)
Rehearsals 29 January 1942
Brahms: Symphony No. 4
Recorded in the Mann Auditorium, Tel Aviv, 11/2006 [Brahms], 10/2007 [Saint-Saëns]
Brahms' Fourth Symphony, his last, was completed in 1885, twelve years before his death. Perhaps, having reached such perfection in his Fourth Symphony, Brahms was less inclined to write another. In his Third Symphony, Saint-Saëns, himself a highly accomplished organist – hailed by Frans Liszt as the greatest in the world, gives us the first work to place the organ in a prominent role in a symphonic setting.
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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.
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Brahms: Symphonies Nos. 3 & 4
Bremen Philharmonic Orchestra, Markus Poschner
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