A great introduction to the music of Johannes Brahms
maelstrom1 | 04/28/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have a moderate collection of classical music, consisting almost entirely of the works of Mozart, but I recently decided to explore the music of other composers and Brahms was the first one I have chosen. I decided the best way to become acquainted with his style and form of composition was to listen to an introductory-type of album, so "The Best of Brahms" was the obvious choice. After listening to the ten pieces on this album for the first time, I simply had to hear them all again. This is a great collection of classical music and if it is any reflection of the rest of Brahms' work, then he ranks as one of my favorite composers. The collection begins with the Academic Festival Overture, from which eminates the sounds of jubilation and celebration. This was especially a great piece to listen to since I recently completed my final exams! The second selection, the Intermezzo in E flat major - Andante moderato (Op.117 No.1), is in my opinion the best piece on this entire album. The music gently flows into the ear and I had the sensation of talking a pleasant stroll in the park. The obviously talented pianist Idil Biret has an excellent performance on this number and I was actually inspired to buy a collection of Intermezzi composed by Brahms and performed by Biret (the collection of Intermezzi and piano pieces is Naxos 8.550354 for anyone who is interested). This album also includes interesting works from Symphony Nos. 1 and 4, as well as Hungarian Dance Nos. 1 and 5. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Hungarian Dance No. 5 and loved its thriving tempo. Lastly, along with pieces from a String Sextet and a Violin Concerto in D major, there is the Cradle Song (Op.49 No.4). This is an absolutely beautiful lullaby that I am sure most people have heard before, but did not know it was the work of Brahms. If you need to relax or help a baby to sleep, the Cradle Song is the perfect remedy. Overall, this album is a great introduction to the music of Johannes Brahms and I recommend it to any beginning or experienced classical music lover. I recently read a quotation of when the famous composer Schumann first met with Brahms, he held Brahms in such high esteem that he considered him to be the successor to Beethoven. This may very well be true, but I will let you listen and decide for yourself. I hope you enjoy this album as much as I did."