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Brahms Complete Edition
Various Artists
Brahms Complete Edition
Genres: Dance & Electronic, Folk, Classical
  •  Track Listings (174) - Disc #1

THE COLLECTION TO OWN! 46 CDS OF THE GREATEST BRAHMS RECORDINGS EVER MADE. This is a one-time opportunity to own the most distinguished Brahms Edition that will likely ever be produced. Not only does it feature amazing wor...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Various Artists
Title: Brahms Complete Edition
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: Deutsche Grammophon
Original Release Date: 1/1/2009
Re-Release Date: 7/14/2009
Album Type: Box set, Limited Edition
Genres: Dance & Electronic, Folk, Classical
Styles: Opera & Classical Vocal, Chamber Music, Forms & Genres, Ballads, Concertos, Instruments, Reeds & Winds, Symphonies
Number of Discs: 46
SwapaCD Credits: 46
UPC: 028947781837


Album Description
THE COLLECTION TO OWN! 46 CDS OF THE GREATEST BRAHMS RECORDINGS EVER MADE. This is a one-time opportunity to own the most distinguished Brahms Edition that will likely ever be produced. Not only does it feature amazing works but it also includes some of Deutsche Grammophon's greatest recordings. The entire set is presented in a handsome cube with a lid (not lift-off), and the CDs are easily accessible in individual card sleeves. In addition, a booklet provides the complete and detailed track listing. LIMITED EDITION - features Herbert von Karajan's 1977 complete Symphony Cycle with the Berlin Philharmonic - Orchestral works with Claudio Abbado & the Vienna Philharmonic - Piano Concertos with Maurizio Pollini - Violin & Double Concertos with Anne-Sophie Mutter & Karajan - Violin Sonatas with Pinchas Zukerman & Daniel Barenboim - Cello Sonatas with Mstislav Rostropovich & Rudolf Serkin - Chamber music with the Amadeus Quartet, LaSalle Quartet & Quartetto Italiano - Solo piano works with Barenboim, Wilhelm Kempff & Tamás Vásáry - Lieder with Jessye Norman & Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau - Extensive vocal ensemble and choral works - Carlo Maria Giulini conducts Ein deutsches Requiem.

CD Reviews

What a deal for one-stop shopping for all your Brahms music
Daniel W. Fowler | Austin TX | 07/20/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I bought this 46-cd set when it first became available for $80. That's less than 2$ per disk! I would have gladly paid that much just for some of the individual sections. Of course, if the performances were terrible, or even mediocre, I would have been much better off seeking out individual performances or competing box sets like Brilliant Classic's collection of complete Brahms works. But I already had a couple of the individual works (portions of the symphonies conducted by Karajan and performed by the Berlin Philharmonic from their digital 1980s recordings, for example)and knew that they were outstanding performances. And the roster of performing artists was a who's who of the classical recording industry: Daniel Barenboim, Wilhelm Kempff, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Maurizio Pollini, and countless others. Even though I had a good assortment of Brahms recordings, I felt this was an excellent way to fill in some of the gaps and introduce myself especially to some of the choral works and lieder that were unfamiliar to me. I haven't listened to everything yet, but I've listened a good deal to the orchestral works (cds 1-5), concertos( cds 6-8), chamber works (cds 9-19 - and wow is that clarinet trio with Karl Leister awesome!), and the German Requiem (Abbado, Vienna Philharmonic) and Alto Rhapsodie (Sinopoli, Czech Philharmonic, Brigitte Fassbaender contralto). Everything has been a first-rank performance, if not an out and out first choice, with very good recorded sound as well. I haven't begun to listen to the choral works or the solo piano recordings, and I am already blissfully content with my purchase.

The product description offers pretty good details about the set. Here is some additional information:

CDs 1-5 offer the orchestral works. Symphonies 1-4 are conducted by Herbert von Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic (according to the booklet the performances were recorded in 1986-1988, not the 1970s cycle). I've long enjoyed Karajan's 70s rendition of the symphonies, and these seem very similar but in digital sound. Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic also perform the Haydn Variations and Tragic Overture. Serenades 1 & 2 and the Academic Festival Overture are ably performed by Claudio Abbado and the Berlin Philharmonic. Abbado also leads the Vienna Philharmonic in a sprightly version of the Hungarian Dances.

The concertos occupy CDs 6-8. Maurizio Pollini performs in the two piano concertos. The first is conducted by Karl Bohm leading the Vienna Philharmonic. The second is also by the Vienna Philharmonic, this time conducted by Claudio Abbado. The performances are very nice but won't displace my favorites (Gilels/Jochum, Fleisher/Szell). I have not yet heard Pollini's later collaboration with Abbado and the Berlin Philharmonic but will seek them out based on his playing on these recordings. The violin concerto and double concerto are conducted by Karajan and played by the Berlin Philharmonic. Soloists are Anne-Sophie Mutter on violin and Antonio Meneses on cello.

CDs 9-19 feature chamber music. Barenboim and Zukerman play the violin sonatas, Serkin and Rostropovich the cello sonatas, Karl Leister and Jorg Demus the clarinet sonatas. The clarinet trio (did I mention this was a stunning performance) is played by Leister, Tamas Vasery, and Ottomar Borwitzky. Vasery and Borwitzky are joined by Thomas Brandis and Worfram Christ on the other piano trios and quartets. String Quartets are played by the LaSalle Quartet. The Quartetto Italiano joins Pollini in the Piano Quintet in F minor, and the Amadeus Quartet participates in the other quintets and sextets.

CDs 20-28 feature piano and organ works. Anatol Ugorski plays the 3 piano sonatas. Wilhelm Kempff plays the scherzo, 4 Ballades, and assorted Klavierstucke and Fantasias. Daniel Barenboim and Tamas Vasery play the variations. Alfons and Aloys Kontarsky play the works for two pianos (great set of Hungarian Dances!). Peter Planyavsky plays the organ works.

CD 29-35 offer Lieder, 36-39 vocal ensembles, 40-43 choral works, and 44-46 works for chorus and orchestra. I'll leave others to comment on these performances as I have yet to explore their magic (except for the outstanding performances of the German Requiem and Alto-Rhapsodie mentioned earlier).

I'll be enjoying these recordings for many years to come."
Somewhat of a mixed bag...
Peter | 07/30/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)

"There are some excellent recordings in this set - but there are some rather mediocre too. The sound quality of some DG recordings from the 80ies leaves much to be desired. Especially in orchestral music, the sound can be congested and you can't hear details. To begin with, the symphonies, featuring Karajan and the Berliners, are recorded 1986-88, and it's not his best set (which likely would be his readings from 1978). The serenades and the Hungarian dances with Abbado, other the other hand, are excellent. It's a pity that DG chose the Pollini / Böhm team for the piano concertos, and not the classic account of Gilels / Jochums. The violin concerto with Mutter and the double concerto with Mutter / Meneses are fresh. The chamber music discs are good throughout, but I would rather prefer the complete set of Philips if I had to choose. The keyboard works are probably the most uneven of the whole collection. The songs, on the other hand, featuring Fischer-Dieskau and Jessye Norman, are recommendable, as are the vocal ensembles. There are better recordings today of the a cappella choral works. I refer to the excellent recordings of Chamber Choir of Europe on Brilliant Classics. The same goes for at last some of the works for chorus and orchestra. Especially Ein deutsches Requiem, accounted here for by Giulini, which definitely is available in fresher versions.

The documentation, which in the original CD-release consisted of some twenty essays by well-known scholars, along with over hundred pictures, seems to have been excluded from this release. The description states that the included booklet only provides "the complete and detailed track listing". This is a great shame, because these essays and pictures were really excellent.

For completists: The DG edition may be called "complete", but the Brilliant BRAHMS: Edition - Complete Works is even more complete, featuring 60 CD:s instead of DG:s 46. Some of the a cappella choral works seems to be missing from the DG edition compared to the Brilliant one."
One complaint...
A. Roth | Baltimore, MD | 08/27/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"On the whole, I am delighted with this purchase. I will leave reviewing the quality of the recordings (though I am pleased) Instead, I will focus on packaging, since I am always curious about it and very few reviews deal with it.

The box is the size of a jewel box cubed, so, quite small. The discs are stacked vertically in the box and each disc is house in amedium thickness cardboard envelope with the disc number in the upper right so that they can be browsed through with ease. The booklet lies on top of the discs under the flip top lid.

My biggest complaint is that the set does not include the text of the lieder and vocal works. I would have loved a CD ROM with those. I do not speak German and frankly, with Schubert's lieder too, I find that knowing what the words mean greatly enhances my enjoyment.
There is a book by Sams, The Songs of Brahms, that has the texts, but it is an expensive book...

All told, no regrets, especially at this bargain price, but having the texts would have made this an out of the park set..."