Brahms: Symphony No. 3, Variations on a Theme of Haydnby Marin Alsop
With half of a highly praised Brahms cycle already in release, Marin Alsop and the London Philharmonic move on to an equally fine performance of the Third Symphony on this album. In a recording career that has focused primarily on the 20th century -- and on American music -- Alsop's interest in Brahms might seem like an anomaly. Yet his Romantic symphonies clearly appeal to an equally important side of her artistic persona, considering how successful the results have been thus far. At the heart of this performance is an especially warm reading of the third-movement Poco Allegretto, a leisurely substitute for the usual symphonic Scherzo. Alsop and her musicians, especially the solo horn player, capture the ambiguity of Brahms's tone in this movement -- somewhere between melancholy, nostalgia, and romantic longing -- and are equally convincing in the propulsive rhythms and broadly heroic themes of the outer movements. The charming Variations on a Theme by Haydn make for an appealing contrast after the symphony's subdued ending. Alsop brings this work's details into perfect focus, demonstrating a superb ear for balance in the opening wind-section scoring of the theme and discerning the multiple layers of orchestral color in many of the following variations. With one more symphony to go, this series is clearly a key achievement in Alsop's career, but it's also a Brahms cycle to treasure.
- Release Date:
- Symphony No. 3 in F major, Op. 90
- Variations on a Theme of Haydn for orchestra in B flat major (St. Anthony Variations), Op. 56a
Performance CreditsMarin Alsop Primary Artist
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