Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Johannes Brahms, Philharmonia Orchestra, Christa Ludwig|
EMI Great Recordings of Century - Brahms: Symphonies Nos. 1-4/Klemperer
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A Unique Brahms Interpreter
Johannes Climacus | Beverly, Massachusetts | 08/31/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Klemperer's Brahms is not for those who prefer gemütlichkeit to cogency. If geniality is your highest priority, try Bruno Walter's stereo cycle with the Columbia Symphony Orchestra (*not* his altogether tougher monaural cycle with the NYPO). Klemperer was never one to play to the gallery, and so here. Arguably, he probes more deeply beyond the surface consolations of these scores than any other conductor, save for Fürtwängler. By carefully respecting the composer's markings, elucidating his densely contrapuntal textures, and appreciating his introverted temperament (are there any 19th century symphonies *less* flashy than these?), Klemperer succeeds in revealing just how much more there is to this music than usually meets the ear. His interpretation of the c minor has long been on a short list of preferred versions (its thunderous opening surely is imposing), but I find the Second and Third symphonies to be if anything even finer. Both works--yes, even the D major--are haunted by a spirit of melancholy that is only just kept at bay (and which ultimatly crashes the party in the Fourth Symphony), and Klemperer has the rare knack of holding euphonic text and angst-laden subtext in tension. You won't probably be thrilled by these performances as you might by Toscanini or Fürtwängler--but you will be edified and enriched by them. Glorious playing from the Philharmonia (particularly the winds), superb recording, and an unforgettable *Alto Rhapsody* with Ludwig make this set a first choice, at least for introverts like me."
Not a weakness in the whole set
J. Grant | North Carolina, USA | 03/15/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This has long been one of my very favorite Brahms cycles. It is one of the few complete cycles that has absolutely no low points, and the Alto-Rhapsody is the best I've heard. All of the overtures are also splendid. Other stereo cycles to consider would be Kertesz, Walter or the Levine/VPO, while Furtwangler and Weingartner are leading contenders of the mono cycles. Of the stereo cycles, the Kertesz and Levine are both out of print. That leaves this set and Bruno Walter's, of which while I prefer Walter's 1st and 3rd, I think Klemperer is superior on 2 & 4. Both sets have wonderful renditions of the overtures, but Klemperer's Alto-Rhapsody with Christa Ludwig is perhaps the best on record. For those of you who prefer a more straight-laced approach, Szell's cycle is also excellent."