Symphony No. 4 in E minor & Hungarian Dances (2008)

Brahms

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

Marek Janowski

The brotherhood of writers likes to get hold of a slogan in order to effectively and boldly describe a composer and his oeuvre. However, such an abbreviated description is not without danger, if not followed by subtle arguments for the choice of the words. Nevertheless, please permit the undersigned also to mention a catchy phrase in the case of Johannes Brahms, which concentrates the mind on the essential. Therefore, should one wish to label Brahms as a composer, then it would most certainly not bear the inscription of a “symphonic” or “Lied” composer, but – if the word existed – of a “variationalistic” composer. After all, the main purpose of Brahms’ life as a composer was the constant transformation of the musical material at hand, the re-examination of traditional elements and forms. And also during the course of his four contributions to the symphonic genre, which indeed caused him such great problems at first, the variation model was ceded an increasingly important role.

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Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

For more than 115 years, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO) has been an essential part of Pittsburgh’s cultural landscape. The PSO, known for its artistic excellence, is credited with a rich history of the world’s finest conductors and musicians, and a strong commitment to the Pittsburgh region and its citizens. This tradition was furthered in fall 2008, when Austrian conductor Manfred Honeck assumed the position of Music Director with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Heading the list of internationally recognized conductors to have led the PSO is Victor Herbert, Music Director between 1898 and 1904, who influenced the early development of the PSO. Preceding Herbert was Frederic Archer (1896-1899), the first Pittsburgh Orchestra Conductor. The Orchestra’s solidification as an American institution took place in the late 1930s under the direction of Maestro Otto Klemperer. Conductors prior to Klemperer were Emil Paur (1904-1910), Elias Breeskin (1926-1930) and Antonio Modarelli (1930-1937). From 1938 to 1948, under the dynamic directorship of Fritz Reiner, the Orchestra embarked on a new phase of its history, making its first international tour and its first commercial recording. The PSO’s standard of excellence was maintained and enhanced through the inspired leadership of William Steinberg during his quarter-century as Music Director between 1952 and 1976. André Previn (1976-1984) led the Orchestra to new heights through tours, recordings and television, including the PBS series, Previn and the Pittsburgh. Lorin Maazel began his relationship with the PSO in 1984 as Music Consultant but later served as a highly regarded Music Director from 1988-1996. As Music Director from 1997-2004, Mariss Jansons furthered the artistic growth of the orchestra, and upon his departure, the PSO created an innovative leadership model with Artistic Advisor Sir Andrew Davis, Principal Guest Conductor Yan Pascal Tortelier and Endowed Guest Conductor Chair Marek Janowski. These three conductors formed the primary artistic leadership for the Orchestra until January 2007, when the PSO selected Honeck to take the reins at the start of the 2008-2009 season. In February 2012, Honeck agreed to extend his contract with the PSO through the 2019-2020 season.

Marek Janowski

Marek Janowski has been artistic director of the Rundfunk- Sinfonieorchester Berlin (= RSB, the Radio Symphony Orchestra Berlin) since 2002. Under his directorship between 1984 and 2000, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France rose to become the leading orchestra in France. During a number of years, he also put his personal stamp on the Gu?rzenich Orchester Köln (1986-1990), the Dresdner Philharmonie (2001-2003), the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo (2000-2005), and the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande (2005-2012).

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Symphony No. 4 in E minor & Hungarian Dances (2008)

Brahms

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

    Classics Today -

Marek Janowski concludes his superb Brahms cycle with this unquestionably great performance of the Fourth Symphony. Everything about it is memorable, stylish, and characterful. The first movement opens at a perfect tempo, and if you don’t thrill to the way the strings bloom lushly in their answer to the woodwinds’ initial phrase at the start of the second subject, then you may need medical attention. The orchestra’s glorious horn section really comes into its own in the scherzo, but then, this is truly great Brahms playing–warm, idiomatic, perfectly balanced, and rhythmically true, just like the conducting. Superbly realistic engineering in all formats provides the icing on the cake. Artistic Quality: 10, Sound Quality: 10.

David Hurwitz[read full review]

Symphony No. 4 in E minor & Hungarian Dances (2008)

Brahms

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

Digital Converters: Meitner EMM Labs
Producer: Job Maarse
Recording Engineer: Everett Porter
Recording location: Heinz Hall Pittsburgh
Recording Software: Merging
Recording Type & Bit Rate: DSD64

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This album is available as ST+MCH download (Stereo + Multichannel)
Included in any DSD purchase is access to the base DSD64 resolution. All DSD capable units will be able to play DSD64.
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PTC5186309: Symphony No. 4 in E minor & Hungarian Dances
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Tracks.
1.
Symphony No. 4 - Allegro non troppo
Brahms
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2.
Symphony No. 4 - Andante moderato
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3.
Symphony No. 4 - Allegro giocoso
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4.
Symphony No. 4 - Allegro energico e passionato
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5.
Hungarian Dances for Orchestra - No. 1 in G Minor - Allegro molto
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6.
Hungarian Dances for Orchestra - No. 3 in F Major - Allegretto
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7.
Hungarian Dances for Orchestra - No. 10 in F Major - Presto
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8.
Hungarian Dances for Orchestra - No. 17 in F-sharp Minor - Andantino
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9.
Hungarian Dances for Orchestra - No. 18 in D Major - Molto vivace
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10.
Hungarian Dances for Orchestra - No. 19 in B Minor - Allegretto
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11.
Hungarian Dances for Orchestra - No. 20 in E Minor - Poco Allegretto
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12.
Hungarian Dances for Orchestra - No. 21 in E Minor - Vivace
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