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Thread: SS 13.09.13 - Brahms #4

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    Senior Member realdealblues's Avatar
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    Default SS 13.09.13 - Brahms #4

    Continuing on until Bix returns...

    A continuation of the Saturday Symphonies Tradition:

    Johannes Brahms (1833 – 1897)

    Symphony # 4 in E Minor, Op. 98

    1. Allegro non troppo
    2. Andante moderato
    3. Allegro giocoso
    4. Allegro energico e passionato

    ---------------------

    Post what recording you are going to listen to giving details of Orchestra / Conductor / Chorus / Soloists etc - Enjoy!

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    Senior Member realdealblues's Avatar
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    This Saturday I will be listening too:

    Attachment 24731

    Brahms: Symphony No. 4
    Charles Munch & The Boston Symphony Orchestra

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    nathanb
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    2878406.jpg

    Sorry Kleiber haters, it's all I have.

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    Quote Originally Posted by arcaneholocaust View Post
    2878406.jpg

    Sorry Kleiber haters, it's all I have.
    Me too. Try to catch some extra from youtube

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    I listened to Haitink's recent recording with the LSO. I thought about skipping this week, because I've listened to this work so much lately, but I never pass up the opportunity to hear Brahms' greatest symphony, which I've had a fondness for since my college years.

    As for the recording itself, it's a good reading, best in the middle movements, but probably not worthy of the "classic" status that some are already giving it. Haitink does an admirable job in making Brahms' thick orchestrations seem balanced, and he doesn't make any obviously "wrong" decisions regarding tempo or phrasing, but overall it feels like it could be more.

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    Senior Member techniquest's Avatar
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    Had to skip this week as I really can't get on with Brahms - sorry. However looking forward to getting on board every week onwards until No.27
    There may come a time when Youtube won't let us do this...

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    Senior Member Vesteralen's Avatar
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    I decided, after thinking about the five or six different versions of this work in my collection, to go with Alsop/LPO. This would be only my second listen for this particular disc.

    The 3rd and 4th symphonies of Brahms are equally my favorites. I remember from the time I first listened to the 4th, over 40 years ago, that I thought it had a certain quality of the ancient world about it. More recently, I came across the fact that around the time of its composition, Brahms had gotten very interested in Sophocles. It seems to me that "Sophoclean" kind of sums up my feelings about this piece.

    Alsop's reading is fine by me. The first movement has just the right amount of swing and ends with just the right degree of weightiness. I like how she subtly slows down the recurrence of the second theme of the slow movement - kind of a unique take in my experience. The Scherzo has fewer rough edges than most performances I've heard, but I find it very appealing. And, the finale ends with some degree of quickness, which always suits me better than the more ponderous readings - like Karajan's.

    Overall, I enjoyed her take on this work.

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    Senior Member AClockworkOrange's Avatar
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    Otto Klemperer & Philharmonia Orchestra.

    To be honest, I have always preferred the first Symphony but the fourth is a strong second pace for me.

    As much as I adore Carlos Kleiber's interpretation, Klemperer's nudges just ahead for me at present. Both offer a truly great interpretation and performance, in their own distinct styles.

    Klemperer presents a powerful performance, wonderfully recorded. I can just lose myself so easily in the performance - in much same way I can in Furtwangler's interpretation of Beethoven's Ninth or Wand's Bruckner Eight.
    "Nietzsche said that life was a choice between suffering and boredom. He never said anything about having to put up with both at the same time."
    Humphrey Lyttelton

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    Senior Member realdealblues's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AClockworkOrange View Post
    To be honest, I have always preferred the first Symphony but the fourth is a strong second pace for me.
    That's funny because I feel the same way. The 1st is my favorite followed closely by the 4th.

    I listened to Charles Munch and it's definitely a top pick for me. After finishing I immediately listened to my Rudolf Kempe and the Munich Philharmonic recording.

    Other than a small difference of tempo here and there I really love the both recordings. As usual Munch is a little more high octane and brings a bit more excitement, but Kempe was just always so wonderful at achieving orchestral clarity in thickly orchestrated works. I always hear a few things in his recordings I never notice in others. It's an absolute shame his Brahms recordings are so hard to find. I still love my Klemperer recording as well and I think that one rounds out my top 3 favorites for right now.
    Last edited by realdealblues; Sep-16-2013 at 16:42.

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    Having listened to Paavo Berglund's recording with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, I feel that the Brahms 4 is presented out of character when played by a large orchestra. I see the piece much closer to Schoenberg's 1st Chamber Symphony. The thickness and density in the Brahms 4 seems purposeful to me and therefore shouldn't be toned down. There is a cubistic feel to the music, particularly the first movement, which hardly ever comes out with full orchestras.

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    Senior Member DiesIraeCX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by arcaneholocaust View Post
    Sorry Kleiber haters, it's all I have.
    There are C. Kleiber haters out there?
    That's UNCONSCIONABLE!

    C. Kleiber is my choice too. Brahms' 4th is his greatest symphony in my opinion and it holds a special place in my collection, it's been one of my favorites since I was introduced to classical, I think it's one of those "perfect" symphonies.
    There is an undeniable driving force in Kleiber's recording, a momentum that just grips me every time I hear it.

    "No composer has been more innovative than Beethoven, he radically changed the nature and character of the music composed in the two centuries that followed his earliest works" - Charles Rosen ("The Classical Style")

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    Senior Member OperaGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiesIraeVIX View Post
    There are C. Kleiber haters out there?
    That's UNCONSCIONABLE!
    The only thing one could possibly hate Kleiber for, is for not making more recordings!

    As for other first rate recordings of the 4th, Blomstedt with the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig (Decca - now available on a Double Decca release) is another one well worth a listen.
    Last edited by OperaGeek; Aug-22-2014 at 23:11.

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    You can get the Kleiber 4th bundled with Schubert's 'Unfinished' and some extracts from Tristan for around the same price - a pound here, a pound there. This is the cover,

    41zjR6A7ocL._AA160_.jpg

    Seems like the better deal, considering his version of Schubert's 8th is also excellent.

    This is actually what I am listening to right now as it happens.
    Last edited by thetrout; Aug-22-2014 at 23:37.

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    I have a number of versions of Brahm's #4.
    Hard to pick one favorite, but I do especially like Klemperer and Bruno Walter.

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    Senior Member Steve Wright's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by realdealblues View Post
    After finishing I immediately listened to my Rudolf Kempe and the Munich Philharmonic recording.

    Other than a small difference of tempo here and there I really love the both recordings. As usual Munch is a little more high octane and brings a bit more excitement, but Kempe was just always so wonderful at achieving orchestral clarity in thickly orchestrated works. I always hear a few things in his recordings I never notice in others. It's an absolute shame his Brahms recordings are so hard to find. I still love my Klemperer recording as well and I think that one rounds out my top 3 favorites for right now.
    I posted recently about Kempe's Brahms cycle now being available very cheaply, in tandem with a live 1960 Beethoven cycle by Klemperer.
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Beethoven-Br...empe+klemperer
    I am tempted. You'd recommend Kempe's Brahms, then?

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