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.
Total time: 00:56:55
Meitner EMM Labs
|Original Recording Format|
Heinz Hall Pittsburgh
|Recording Type & Bit Rate||
|Release Date||July 17, 2015|
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.
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