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Pierre's Tuesday Blog

A Playlist of Brahms Firsts

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Related Threads:
A Dark Moment
Brahms Symphonies with Istvan Kertesz and Vienna Philharmonic

En français: http://itywltmt.blogspot.com/2011/10...s-signees.html

For this first of my set of playlists on my Number One Obsession, a look at some Brahms works that have in common the number "1".

As most of us know, oine of our regular TC'ers is a Brahms fanatic, and since he's been having his (un) fair share of health problems, consider this my "get well card" to Polednice (who's handle I privately pronounce as "Pole-de-nit-shay", with an Italian swoop in my voice).

Poley and I have been exchanging barbs on this forum ever since day one, and he's been not only a good sport, he also represents 50% of my followers on the ITYWLTMT Blogspot Blog, and has some good stuff on his own blog. I'm proud to call him my "cyber-friend", and I hope his latest therapies will get him back on his feet and back to school and to a more "normal" routine.

Enough about vampire pigs, and on with the Show.

The main feature in this playlist is provided by an irregular contributor to our forum, the Orange Soda King, who has a very cool YouTube channel full of digitized vinyl. He took it upon himself to revive the Brahms cycle recorded by the late Istvan Kertesz and the Wiener Philharmoniker. I own Kertesz's Third and Haydn variations on vinyl, and was very pleased to discover these neglected interpretations online.

Of Brahms' piano portfolio, a few nuggets: his first rhapsody, his first ballade, and the first Hungarian Dance in the original piano four-hands setting.

Like many of us who have passed kidney stones, I empathize with Brahms, and the well-documented arduous chore of compoleting his first symphony. It is not to say that Brahms didn't delight us with orchestral gems prior to that seminal event - his First piano concerto comes to mind (I save that for an April blog) but also a pair of Serenades, of which I chose an excerpt of the First. (Click here for a complete performance on YouTube).

The last selection I wanted to discuss is an orchestration by Arnold Schonberg of Brahms' First piano quartet (and its famous gypsy dance). Again, in addition to the movement I chose to add to the playlist, I have the complete performance from YouTube for you right here.

Enjoy!

PLAYLIST DETAILS


Works by Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)

Ballade no. 1, in D minor, after the scottish ballad "Edward" from "Simmen der Völker" by Johann Gottfried Herder, op. 10 no. 1
Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, piano

Scherzo: Allegro from the Serenade No. 1 in D Major , Op. 11
St-Louis Symphony Orchestra, Leonard Slatkin conducting

Rhapsodie no. 1 in B Major, op. 79, no. 1
Dejan Lazic, piano

Symphony No. 1 in C Minor Op. 68
Wiener Philharmoniker, Istvan Kertesz conducting

Rondo alla Zingarese. Presto from Piano Quartet no. 1 in G major, op. 25
(Arranged by Arnold Schonberg - 1937)
hr-Sinfonieorchester (Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra), Paavo Jarvi conducting

Ungarische Tänze "Isteni Czardas", WoO 1, no. 1
Francisco and Mireille Silva, pianists

Your YouTube playlist: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLCE6BD755B3152C91

October 7 2011, "I Think You Will Love This Music Too" will be adding a new montage "Prokofiev 'Number One' Montage" to its Pod-O-Matic Podcast. Read our English and French commentary October 7th on the ITYWLTMT Blogspot blog.

Updated Oct-06-2011 at 11:45 by itywltmt

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Classical Music , Composers , Recorded Music

Comments

  1. Sid James's Avatar
    Good list. Being more into the chamber, I've been listening to the original version of Brahms' Piano Quartet #1. I wrote about this on my blog amongst other places, eg. current listening. Love the ending where the piano imitates the cimbalom.

    This has to be played like a chamber piece, a piano quartet not as a defacto piano concerto, as some have played it in the bad old days (that's partly why Schoenberg did his arrangment). I was surprised that Martha Argerich and her Russian guests (Kremer, Bashmet, Maisky) did it totally on steroids in their 2002 DGG recording. Ok Brahms did write the piano part as quite dominant and beefy, but you don't have to do it on steroids, guys. I think that Ms Argerich's "take" is a good demonstration of the WRONG way, whereas another recording I've heard by the Quatour Kandinsky of France (now probably out of print) from the early 1990's on a French boutique label was perfect. I've also heard Artur Rubinstein's recording with Guarneri Quartet in 1960's and if anything he was a bit restrained and hesitant to play it as a concerto, which is better than going the other way and doing it on steroids. I've only read about Mr. Rubinstein's earlier mono recording of this work, the comments were that people thought it was done "right," but in matter of fact it was done quite "wrong."

    I haven't heard Schoenberg's arrangement for yonks so I'll definitely listen to the clip you posted when I get the chance. Beethoven & Brahms are my favourites of the "three B's," J.S. Bach is way way behind, but I do recognise his genius, it's just that he's not amongst my (current) favourites...
    Updated Oct-05-2011 at 08:36 by Sid James
  2. itywltmt's Avatar
    Thanks Sid for the observation. I own a version of the op. 25 piano quartet (actually, a compilation of all three) by one of those "all star" made-for-CD ensembles, featuring Emmanuel Ax, Isaac Stern, Jamie Laredo and Yo-Yo Ma. Ax is a fine Brahms interpreter, and he stands out among the four (as though he should, since it is a PIANO quartet).

    As for the Schoenberg orchestration, you will find it lacks the chamber character you discuss (clearly...) but the use of non-strings is interesting. When it comes to Schoenberg tinkering with repertoire, my favourite is his "reduction" of Mahler's 4th Symphony for a small ensemble, required for his "salon" gatherings in Vienna at the turn of the century. I heard it once on the radio and if you find a recording, it's worth a listen!
    Updated Oct-05-2011 at 14:08 by itywltmt
  3. Polednice's Avatar
    Yaaaay! Thank you for the get well gift! :D

    I'm not in the mood for listening to any music at the moment, but I'll give your list a whirl when I'm a bit happier.
  4. Sid James's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by itywltmt
    Thanks Sid for the observation. I own a version of the op. 25 piano quartet (actually, a compilation of all three) by one of those "all star" made-for-CD ensembles, featuring Emmanuel Ax, Isaac Stern, Jamie Laredo and Yo-Yo Ma. Ax is a fine Brahms interpreter, and he stands out among the four (as though he should, since it is a PIANO quartet)...
    I haven't heard that one with Mr. Ax and the others - very good line-up. BTW, the "wrong" way (comparing it to the "right" way, they played a short excerpt of each way) was demonstrated to me here by a group before they played schumann's piano quartet. Even I, a layman, could clearly hear the distinction between the "wrong" way to play these works - eg. as a piano concerto - and the "right" way, as a chamber work, or a piano quartet, as you rightly point out. it's there and my reading about the brahms 1st PQ & why schoenberg decided to orchestrate it - eg. because it was being badly played - also backs these facts up. i'm not against it being played vigorously but i'm against it being done like a concerto. if brahms would have wanted a concerto, he would have written one, he would have written his 1st PQ as a piano concerto, i mean.

    ...
    As for the Schoenberg orchestration, you will find it lacks the chamber character you discuss (clearly...) but the use of non-strings is interesting. When it comes to Schoenberg tinkering with repertoire, my favourite is his "reduction" of Mahler's 4th Symphony for a small ensemble, required for his "salon" gatherings in Vienna at the turn of the century. I heard it once on the radio and if you find a recording, it's worth a listen!
    i have heard about this arrangement, and seen it here on the ABC classics budget "discovery" label. seems like it has been done here down under. i did hear a performance of Mahler 4 live earlier this year. it is my favourite symphony of his, i like it's overall optimism. i will see if i can buy that schoenberg arrangement. i've already put in an order for the schoenberg brahms arrangement as well as the string orch. version of transfigured night, which i don't currently have on CD. they're on an emi 2 disc set with other things by arnie HERE...
    Updated Oct-06-2011 at 08:32 by Sid James
  5. Orange Soda King's Avatar
    Thank you for posting and giving me a mention! The Kertesz/Vienna recordings are great. I also put up the Bruno Walter/Columbia recordings on my channel if anyone is interested.