Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Johannes Brahms, Claudio Abbado, Berlin Philharmonic Chorus|
Brahms: Symphony no. 1; Song of the Fates
Claudio Abbado's partnership with the Berlin Philharmonic has produced virtually nothing of interest on disc, but his Brahms is an exception. These are very sensitive performances, more lyrical than most, but never lacking... more »
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Claudio Abbado's partnership with the Berlin Philharmonic has produced virtually nothing of interest on disc, but his Brahms is an exception. These are very sensitive performances, more lyrical than most, but never lacking in energy or intensity. The orchestra sounds better than it did playing this music for Herbert von Karajan, and the coupling is both unusual and very well done. A pleasant surprise in what has been in general a very disappointing legacy. --David Hurwitz
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Trevor Gillespie | San Jose, California United States | 02/20/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Pay no attention to bad reviews of this recording, because it is incredible. I've been collecting and listening to classical music for a while and until recently I haven't found a recording by Claudio Abbado that I would term my very favorite recording. With that said, I was hesitant to buy his Brahms No. 1. However, the Penguin Guide had given it a good review. I decided that I might as well take a chance. The symphony is great, so it couldn't be horrible. Well not only is this performance good, but it instantly charged up to my favorite recording of Brahms No. 1. I have von Karajan, Szell, Solti, Bernstein, and MacKerras. I like all of their recordings, but when I heard Abbado's, something became quite clear to me---this is awesome Brahms. It's high voltage, it's driven, it's impeccably played, and it's moving. Abbado has his orchestra delving into the music and strongly articulating various passages that other conductors mull over. I think that's what I like best about this recording is that it's so articulate and driven. Someone said below that Toscanini must be turning in his grave. I say who cares? I don't think Brahms is turning over in his, and that's what matters. This is an awesome recording of Symphony No. 1 and I can't qualify / recommend it enough. If you're looking for a recording, definitely get this one!"
A fine Brahms 1 that characterises Abbado's Berlin years.
Yi-Peng | Singapore | 06/15/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This Claudio Abbado performance of Brahms's groundbreaking first symphony is one of the most beautiful-sounding performances of this work today. Recorded during the early years of Abbado's partnership with the Berliners, it makes a fine listen for anyone who already has existing favourite versions of this work. The Berliners have the music instinctively in their blood, having played it with Karajan on many occasions, and Abbado shows that he can embellish the character of the Karajan sound in this performance. To add to this, the DG engineers give us top-notch recording quality, with digital clarity bringing out the best and most sumptuous sound of the orchestra, strong in atmospheric feeling yet never clouding in inner detail.After a thundering Introduction with the timpani drumstrokes signalling a sense of foreboding, Abbado lurches into the first movement with a relentless, driving passion. This driving passion resembles clearly the impetus of the famous first movement of Beethoven's Fifth symphony (the key of which is shared in this symphony), whose famous four-note motto makes cameo appearances at certain points of the movement. The lyricism of the middle movements is keenly displayed, with a sweet-sounding violin contribution from the anonymous concertmaster in the slow movement, and beautiful woodwind contributions in the third movement. The fourth movement and its links with the Joy Theme of Beethoven's ninth symphony crowns a superb performance, with the tragic mood of the introduction keenly showing, and the horns blazing in its intensity. As in the first movement, there is forward drive and impulse, and the last few pages are intensely gripping. The Gesang der Perzen which rounds off this disc makes an unusual fill-up, even though at times I feel that the Tragic Overture (with its Beethovenian overtones) could have been more suitable. But nevertheless, both chorus and orchestra are able to get to the tragic heart of this piece very well.In short, I would heartily recommend this performance of Brahms's first symphony not only to novices to the symphony, but also to Abbado admirers who would like a fine CD from his Berlin years. The booklet has a pretty good essay by musicologist Michael Steinberg, and the text of the Gesang der Perzen, with English translations."
The best of Abbado's Brahms
Yi-Peng | 03/16/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've never been a fan of Karajan's Brahms, so it's a great thrill to have another conductor take a crack at this music with the great Berlin Philharmonic. Abbado delivers a uniquely polished but powerful performance. Karajan never sounded as fresh and exciting as Abbado does here, not even in his supposedly legendary 1964 reording. This is the highlight of Abbado's otherwise over-rated set -- only the 4th offers anything close to this in terms of sheer beauty and magnificence. Walter is also good and better value for money ( would it have killed DG to add one more piece on this disc?) And where is Levine's mad and intense reading with the Chicago Symphony on RCA? So much dreck on the shelves while classics are languishing in recording limbo. So Abbado and Walter will do the heavy lifting for now. If you can afford top dollar, then go for the Abbado."