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Thread: Brahms Symphonies

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    Default Brahms Symphonies

    So I've found Brahms to be my favorite Romantic composer lately, but I only owned Haitink's Symphony/Concertos/Etc. collection as far as his orchestral music is concerned. I also had Kleiber's 4th, which speaks for itself and doesn't need my approval. I recently got Chailly's and I like it very much, but I wanted to know where I should go from here.

    It needn't be a cycle, just give me your favorites of each of his 4 symphonies and/or renditions you think would complement the relatively crisp style of Chailly - who I find myself turning to most often.

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    As a potential followup, I am looking at Sanderling's 2 cycles (seen it recommended in old threads, reading reviews). I see that Dresden is the more heralded but that the Berlin is more recent and with better sound quality. Would I be foolish to get the Berlin instead should I choose to go for a Sanderling cycle?
    Last edited by bz3; Dec-11-2015 at 20:58.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bz3 View Post
    As a potential followup, I am looking at Sanderling's 2 cycles (seen it recommended in old threads, reading reviews). I see that Dresden is the more heralded but that the Berlin is more recent and with better sound quality. Would I be foolish to get the Berlin instead should I choose to go for a Sanderling cycle?
    I owned the Dresden set for years on an old RCA Eurodisc import. I recently purchased an enhanced bly ray version of the cycle from Japan (cdjapan) and there is a noticeable improvement. I don't know the Berlin cycle.
    My other favorite cycle is Klemperer on EMI and in multichannel, Janowski/Pittsburgh.
    Favorites:
    1) Klemperer or Szell
    2) Sanderling
    3) Klemperer, Furtwangler, Sanderling
    4) Furtwangler, Klemperer, or my all time, Reiner/Royal Phil

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    Hello,

    I like the following best. There are other good ones too.

    Brahms 1: Ozawa/Boston*, Levine CSO, Kempe Munich PO
    Brahms 2: Karajan 1986, Monteux LSO, Kempe Munich PO, Giulini LAPO
    Brahms 3: Klemperer PO EMI, Solti CSO,
    Brahms 4: Kleiber VPO, Giulini CSO, Kempe Munich PO

    *OOP in Japan. except single layer SACD

    Thanks, Bill

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    I love Karajan's Brahms 1 from the 1970s. It makes me think of Robert Frost's "The woods are lovely, dark and deep".

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    I do like the whole Karajan set (first recording ) on DG

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    I, too, like Karajan's 1970s Brahms as well as Christian Thielemann's newish recording.

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    HvK '63/4.


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    We probably all have our warhorses.

    Mine is Abbado/BPO. Some of his best recordings with the BPO.

    Vaneyes, how strange that Karajan's 1960s cycle is only available as a patchwork of recordings, not as a set. The first symphony from that cycle is justly famous, but I find the sound quality to be one notch behind Abbado.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AndorFoldes View Post
    We probably all have our warhorses.

    Mine is Abbado/BPO. Some of his best recordings with the BPO.

    Vaneyes, how strange that Karajan's 1960s cycle is only available as a patchwork of recordings, not as a set. The first symphony from that cycle is justly famous, but I find the sound quality to be one notch behind Abbado.
    "The good news is that these new reissues sound terrific: There is almost none of the quasi-metallic scraping and dry, air-between-the-notes sound that so irritated listeners when the new digital technology emerged in the middle 1980s. The bad news is that listeners may find themselves, yet once more, buying new copies of their favorite recordings. To take one example, compare the new transfer of the Karajan-Berlin Philharmonic Schumann Symphony No. 1 (coupled with Brahms' Symphony No. 1) to the 1990 transfer. The opening horn call is more clearly focused, not shrill as in the 1990 transfer, and the fanfare that follows has the solidity and richness of the 1972 LP issue."

    - Stephen Wigler, The Baltimore Sun,
    [02/25/1996] (About this CD reissue within The Originals series.)

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    In stereo, the Levine/CSO cycle is very good. If you don't mind mono, the Furtwangler cycle on Music and Arts contains some of his best Brahms on record.

    Or

    1: Furtwangler (BPO '52 or NDRS '51), Jochum/BPO, Levine/CSO or Horenstein/LSO
    2: Walter/NYP, Karajan (BPO 60s), Abbado/BPO
    3: Walter/NYP, Giulini/VPO, Reiner/CSO
    4: Furtwangler (BPO wartime), Karajan/Philharmonia, Giulini/VPO
    Last edited by phlrdfd; Jan-09-2016 at 04:55.

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    I was very taken by Klemperer in this music in my youth.

    To day I find Klemperer too serious and prefer the lyrical Walter (Columbia SO recording) or thje classical Boult (his first recording from the 1950es).

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    Doesn't anyone like Bernstein/Wiener Philharmoniker?



    It's one of the first CD sets I got, back in the early '90s.

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    1. Klemperer
    2. Jurowski/LPO
    3. Walter/Columbia SO
    4. Let me think...

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    I would like to make a correction: (Bychkov comment below, Solti CSO added to no 2, and a comment regarding Giulini 4)

    Brahms 1: Ozawa/Boston*, Levine CSO, Kempe Munich PO
    Brahms 2: Karajan 1986, Monteux LSO, Kempe Munich PO, Giulini LAPO, Solti CSO
    Brahms 3: Klemperer PO EMI, Solti CSO,
    Brahms 4: Kleiber VPO, Giulini CSO, Kempe Munich PO But the Giulini VPO is powerful...many will think its too slow.

    *OOP in Japan. except single layer SACD
    I am still trying to evaluate Bychkov WDR, not sure I am going to buy it..I have many already.
    I really comes down to what you value in a performance, and what notes are emphisized or de-emphisized. Sound, conducting style. Bernstein VPO while many like got so-so reviews in Fanfare magazine in 1984. I am perplexed by the mixed Fanfare reviews of the Orozco-Estrada set (12/15).

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