Brahms: Symphony No. 3, Variations on a Theme of Haydn

Brahms: Symphony No. 3, Variations on a Theme of Haydn

by 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… See more details below

Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Philadelphia Inquirer - David Patrick Stearns
The performances here are full of lovely, original things.
San Francisco Chronicle - Steven Winn
An adept and carefully measured reading.... Everything is capably deployed.
Dallas Morning News - Scott Cantrell
[Grade: B+] Something's really going on here with the Third Symphony: an active engagement with the music, more shaping of phrases, more interventionist urging of the musical ebb and flow.
Baltimore Sun - Tim Smith
Right from the first measures, [Alsop] has the music churning mightily, and the playing by the Londoners reveals real weight and vigor.... The result is glowing music-making, rich in character and atmosphere.

Product Details

Release Date:
01/30/2007
Label:
Naxos
UPC:
0747313243020
catalogNumber:
8557430
Rank:
255664

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Symphony No. 3 in F major, Op. 90  - Johannes Brahms  - Marin Alsop  -  London Philharmonic Orchestra
  2. Variations on a Theme of Haydn for orchestra in B flat major (St. Anthony Variations), Op. 56a  - Johannes Brahms  - Marin Alsop  -  London Philharmonic Orchestra

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