Brahms: Symphonies Nos. 1-4 (Complete)

This page lists all recordings of Symphonies Nos. 1-4 (Complete), by Johannes Brahms (1833-97) on CD, SACD, DVD, Blu-ray & download (MP3 & FLAC). Generally, more recent releases are listed first, but with priority given to those that are in stock.

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Brahms: Symphonies Nos. 1-4 (Complete)

Brahms: Symphonies Nos. 1-4 (Complete)


Even while creating a sensation across the US, with concerts in Chicago, Cleveland, New York and further afield, Rafael Kubelík recorded the four symphonies of Brahms with the Vienna Philharmonic for Decca (in stereo) in the 1950s. Long unavailable, they are here presented together for the first time on CD, in an economical 2CD package, further enhanced by both new digital remasterings from the original tapes, and an extensive appreciation of the happy marriage of composer and conductor by Rob Cowan.

Cowan observes that Kubelík came to take a more expansive view of this music in the recorded cycle he made almost 30 years later with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. In Vienna, exposition repeats were cut, tempi were taut and often uncommonly swift for the time, even in the pastoral Second and ruminative Third symphonies; impulsiveness and sudden access to drama were paramount, yet always modulated by the renowned, sweetly refined string sound. ‘Music has always developed by moving on to something new once one idiom has been exhausted,’ the conductor once remarked, ‘but it has always had a form. Like a tree, like a man, it must have a skeleton, flesh and veins – it must have its own logic.’

Such sensitivity to nature and to his fellow man stood Kubelík in good stead when approaching the work of a composer who felt likewise, and yet whose creativity was indeed ruthlessly disciplined by musical logic, whether in the long-gestated, darkness-to-light journey of the First or the ineluctable tragedy of the Fourth. These qualities, too, Kubelík had absorbed from his father, the violinist Jan Kubelík, whom he always regarded with more than filial respect. There is, indeed, an evolving tradition at work in these performances which commands attention anew.

“The performance illuminated by the fine general quality of sound is a strong one … The symphony is kept moving throughout, culminating in a finale which is positively exhilarating.” Gramophone Magazine, June 1958 (Symphony No.1)

“Kubelík’s performance has a splendid impulse to it; and the Vienna Philharmonic is at its best … this is an exciting version.” Gramophone Magazine, February 1959 (Symphony No.2)

“Kubelík gives a smooth and loving reading of the work, reserving excitement, as such, for the finale. The excitement, in fact, is doubly effective when held in reserve.” Gramophone Magazine, October 1956 (Symphony No.4)

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Australian Eloquence - ELQ4824969

(CD - 2 discs)

$12.00

(Sorry, download not available in your country)

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Brahms: Symphonies Nos. 1-4 (Complete)

Brahms: Symphonies Nos. 1-4 (Complete)


Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

The Boston Symphony Orchestra and Andris Nelsons are pleased to announce the release of their latest recordings on BSO Classics-a three-disc set of the four Brahms symphonies, recorded live during concert performances at Symphony Hall this past November, engineered by the same in-house team that produced the BSO's recent Grammy-winning Shostakovich recordings under Maestro Nelsons on Deutsche Grammophon. This new Brahms symphony cycle follows two others recorded previously by the BSO, under Erich Leinsdorf in the mid-1960s and Bernard Haitink in the early 1990s. "It makes me so proud and happy," observes Andris Nelsons, "that the Boston Symphony Orchestra of today, filled with so many great musicians, will now have its own place in recorded history with this amazing music."

“There’s not a single bar that feels heavy or stodgy, and yet amongst the lightness there is real weight when required...Aside from that, what impressed me most was the absolute clarity achieved, with every facet of Brahms’s orchestration there to be heard...This set is quite exceptional, and surely one of the finest to have come along in recent years.” James Longstaffe, Presto Classical, 26th May 2017

“His Brahms is as vital, impulsive and rhythmic as all his work strives to be – though not as sheerly dynamic as one might have imagined – but there is blend and bloom, too...he truly listens to the music, feeling its pulse and allowing the phrasing to evolve with as little intervention or ‘shaping’ as possible. He is generous without indulgence, muscular without vulgarity.” Gramophone Magazine, September 2017

Presto Disc of the Week

26th May 2017

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - September 2017

Released or re-released in last 6 months

BSO Classics - BSOCL1701

(CD)

Normally: $35.00

Special: $31.25

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Brahms: Symphonies Nos. 1-4 (Complete)

Brahms: Symphonies Nos. 1-4 (Complete)


NDR Elbphilharmonie Orcheste, Thomas Hengelbrock

Before moving into the Elbphilharmonie, chief conductor Thomas Hengelbrock and his NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester performed a ‘Brahms Marathon’ with all four symphonies of the Hamburg-born composer in the historic Laeiszhalle. Brahms’ music has always played an important role in the history of the orchestra, whose defining interpretations of the symphonies by Brahms and Bruckner have become the ensemble’s artistic hallmark. The orchestra, founded in 1945, was led by outstanding conductors such as Günter Wand, Christoph Eschenbach and Christoph von Dohnányi. Since 2011, chief conductor Thomas Hengelbrock is in charge of continuing the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester’s history. In the bonus program Discovering Brahms, Thomas Hengelbrock offers interesting background information on all four symphonies. ‘The evening was more than worth it’ (Hamburger Abendblatt).

RECORDING DATE: Laeiszhalle Hamburg, May 2016

SOUND FORMAT: Blu-ray: PCM Stereo, DTS-HD MA 5.1

PICTURE: 16:9, HD

BOOKLET: English, German, French

SUBTITLES BONUS: German (original language), English

TOTAL RUNNING TIME: 210 mins

Concert: 167 mins / Bonus: 43 mins

BONUS: Discovering Brahms with Thomas Hengelbrock

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Blu-ray Disc

Region: all

C Major - 741104

(Blu-ray)

$33.75

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Brahms: The Four Symphonies

Brahms: The Four Symphonies


Brahms:

Symphonies Nos. 1-4 (Complete)

Tragic Overture, Op. 81

Academic Festival Overture, Op. 80

Variations on a theme by Haydn for orchestra, Op. 56a 'St Anthony Variations'


The music of Brahms held an important place in Sir John Barbirolli’s repertoire and these recordings of the symphonies, made with the Vienna Philharmonic in 1966 and 1967, stand as one of the peaks of his discography. Barbirolli’s relationship with this music is rooted in his time as an orchestral cellist, and these performances are notable for their rich, ripe sonorities and expansive warmth.

Warner Classics Original Jacket Reissues - 2564676771

(CD - 2 discs)

$18.75

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Brahms: Symphonies Nos. 1-4 (Complete)

Brahms: Symphonies Nos. 1-4 (Complete)


DG 2CD - 4742632

(CD - 2 discs)

$13.00

(also available to download from $16.75)

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Brahms: Symphonies Nos. 1-4 (Complete)

Brahms: Symphonies Nos. 1-4 (Complete)


“The playing of the Berlin Philharmonic remains uniquely cultivated, the ensemble is finely polished, and yet there is no lack of warmth or impetus throughout the set.” Penguin Guide, 2011 edition

DG 2CD - 4530972

(CD - 2 discs)

$13.00

(also available to download from $16.75)

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Brahms: Symphonies Nos. 1-4 (Complete)

Brahms: Symphonies Nos. 1-4 (Complete)


DG Originals - E4497152

(CD - 2 discs)

$13.00

(also available to download from $16.75)

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Brahms: Symphonies Nos. 1-4 (Complete)

Brahms: Symphonies Nos. 1-4 (Complete)


Before moving into the Elbphilharmonie, chief conductor Thomas Hengelbrock and his NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester performed a ‘Brahms Marathon’ with all four symphonies of the Hamburg-born composer in the historic Laeiszhalle. Brahms’ music has always played an important role in the history of the orchestra, whose defining interpretations of the symphonies by Brahms and Bruckner have become the ensemble’s artistic hallmark. The orchestra, founded in 1945, was led by outstanding conductors such as Günter Wand, Christoph Eschenbach and Christoph von Dohnányi. Since 2011, chief conductor Thomas Hengelbrock is in charge of continuing the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester’s history. In the bonus program Discovering Brahms, Thomas Hengelbrock offers interesting background information on all four symphonies. ‘The evening was more than worth it’ (Hamburger Abendblatt).

RECORDING DATE: Laeiszhalle Hamburg, May 2016

SOUND FORMAT: Blu-ray: PCM Stereo, DTS-HD MA 5.1

PICTURE: 16:9, HD

BOOKLET: English, German, French

SUBTITLES BONUS: German (original language), English

TOTAL RUNNING TIME: 210 mins

Concert: 167 mins / Bonus: 43 mins

BONUS: Discovering Brahms with Thomas Hengelbrock

Released or re-released in last 6 months

DVD Video

Region: 0

Format: NTSC

C Major - 741008

(DVD Video - 2 discs)

$28.25

Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days.

Brahms: Symphonies Nos. 1-4 (Complete)

Brahms: Symphonies Nos. 1-4 (Complete)


Berlin Classics - 885470009384

Download only from $10.00

Available now to download.

Brahms: Symphonies Nos. 1-4 (Complete)

Brahms: Symphonies Nos. 1-4 (Complete)


When Brahms’ First Symphony received its premiere, it was immediately described as ‘Beethoven’s Tenth’ – the highest praise possible, acclaiming Brahms as the successor to the greatest symphonist of all.

But it hadn’t been an easy journey. Brahms was 43 years old when this symphony was first performed, and in those first four decades of his life he had been grappling with the question of how to deal with the great legacy of the Classical era that lay before him. It took him 20 years to compose that first symphony – but once it was completed, he suddenly produced three more in under ten years, in one of the most astonishing creative outpourings in music: ‘a quartet of masterworks,’ in the words of Asher Fisch, ‘that are both old and new.’

Recorded live in concert in 2015, these performances from the West Australian Symphony Orchestra and its Principal Conductor bring to life the colour and complexity of Brahms’ vision.

Fisch – a protégé of Daniel Barenboim – is acclaimed as one of the great conductors of the Romantic repertoire of our times; from the lyrical second symphony to the epic fourth, this album is a testimony to his interpretative prowess, Brahms’ music, and to a superlative orchestra recorded in its prime.

ABC Classics - ABC4814413

(CD - 2 discs)

$19.50

(also available to download from $18.25)

Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days. (Available now to download.)

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