Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Swarowsky, Suddeutsche Philharmonie|
Brahms: Symphonies Nos. 1-4 [Germany]
Listen to Samples
Swarowsky was the greatest of all Brahms conductors,
Eric Zuesse | USA | 03/18/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Swarowsky was a very great conductor, and his specialty above all else was Brahms. His recordings of Brahms will stand for all time as setting a standard which can only be approached, not surpassed. Like Brahms's music, Swarowsky's style was dry and strict, but yet compassionate and muscular. One of the reasons Brahms is so hard to get right is that compassion without even a trace of sentimentality is hard to achieve, and that's what Brahms's music requires. And it's what Swarowsky delivered. Swarowsky's Brahms 4th is the only perfect performance that I have heard of anything: that symphony is astoundingly difficult to get right, because, unlike many other masterpieces such as the Beethoven 9th, which can receive great interpretations that approach the given work in fundamentally different ways, the Brahms 4th doesn't succeed fully unless it's done in only one way, which is exactly the way that Swarowsky did it. I have listened to approximately two hundred conductors do the Brahms 4th, and even great conductors do it only well, except for Swarowsky, whose recording of the work I've listened to hundreds of times, always in amazement, as if I've never heard the work before. A typical recorded performance by Swarowsky grows in stature with each repeated hearing, but this is especially true of his Brahms 4th. Swarowsky was perhaps the most highly regarded teacher of conducting who ever lived; everyone wanted to be his student; he was the conductor's conductor; and the Brahms 4th was the best example of why. The performances of the three other symphonies here are also great, but not like the Fourth. This set, at its price, is a steal. If there were no other way to get these performances, the set would be worth $100, even though these CD's contain fewer minutes of music than they should. I would have wished that Swarowsky's Supraphon recording of Brahms's short works for chorus and orchestra had been added in as filler. They too are miracles. But this is carping: the performances presented in this set are a must for any collection. I cannot comment upon the transfers, because I have these performances from previous issues. But I can vouch for the performances."