Brahms: The Symphonies

( 3 )

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Uncle Dave Lewis
Even as he is most closely associated with the music of Wagner and Beethoven, conductor Georg Solti enjoyed a long and fruitful relationship with the orchestral music of Johannes Brahms. Solti's own personal preferences in terms of Brahms, judging based on his performance history, were slanted toward the "Haydn Variations," "German Requiem," and the concerti, but in the late '70s he undertook a cycle of the symphonies with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for Decca London that some expert listeners feel have never been bettered since. Solti's Brahms is flexible, easygoing, and never hurried, and the late analog recording, made at the Medinah Temple in Chicago, is warm, ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Uncle Dave Lewis
Even as he is most closely associated with the music of Wagner and Beethoven, conductor Georg Solti enjoyed a long and fruitful relationship with the orchestral music of Johannes Brahms. Solti's own personal preferences in terms of Brahms, judging based on his performance history, were slanted toward the "Haydn Variations," "German Requiem," and the concerti, but in the late '70s he undertook a cycle of the symphonies with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for Decca London that some expert listeners feel have never been bettered since. Solti's Brahms is flexible, easygoing, and never hurried, and the late analog recording, made at the Medinah Temple in Chicago, is warm, lush, and persuasive. During these sessions, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra sounds near perfect in intonation and in responsiveness to its conductor. Solti does bring some sense of individuality to the proceedings in his choice of tempi, which are generally on the slow side and directed with a design toward expansiveness in Brahms, a working method that succeeds very well in the second movement of the "Symphony No. 4." On the other hand, tautness and tension are not hallmarks of these interpretations; Solti prefers a soft-focus approach to the whole, sacrificing potential power for the sake of a gently flowing orchestral texture that is easy to follow and soothing to experience. This ease of expression makes Brahms: The Four Symphonies a great starter set for those who don't really know these works, but to a more experienced ear how much one enjoys these interpretations depends to some extent on how they like their Brahms -- rare, medium, or well done? Solti and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's Brahms: The Four Symphonies is definitely on the "well-done" side, a reasonably uncontroversial option that will satisfy most of the listeners who would approach it. Brahms' "Tragic Overture" and "Academic Festival Overture" are also included, but not the "Haydn Variations," a pity as it was utilized effectively as filler for Decca London's single-disc version of the "Symphony No. 4."
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 2/11/1992
  • Label: Decca
  • UPC: 028943079921
  • Catalog Number: 430799
  • Sales rank: 16,315

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1–4 Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 68 - Johannes Brahms & Chicago Symphony Orchestra (48:55)
Disc 2
  1. 1–4 Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 73 - Johannes Brahms & Chicago Symphony Orchestra (45:40)
  2. 2 Tragic Overture, in D minor, Op. 81 - Johannes Brahms & Chicago Symphony Orchestra (13:26)
Disc 3
  1. 1–4 Symphony No. 3 in F major, Op. 90 - Johannes Brahms & Chicago Symphony Orchestra (39:07)
  2. 2 Academic Festival Overture, for orchestra in C minor ("Akademische Festouvert├╝re"), Op. 80 - Johannes Brahms & Chicago Symphony Orchestra (10:34)
Disc 4
  1. 1–4 Symphony No. 4 in E minor, Op. 98 - Johannes Brahms & Chicago Symphony Orchestra (42:16)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Georg Solti Primary Artist
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 3 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    No Brahms' recording can match the sound, the pace, the beauty of this collection

    After hearing several CDs of Brahms' symphonies, Solti's version is best in tempi, sumptuos and resonant recording at the Medinah Temple, Chicago. As a proven band, CSO out shines BPO, VPO, NYPO, SD, RCO and Cleveland orch in low registers (bass/bassoon/tuba) and superb reverberating opening in the 4th movement of 1st and 1st movement of 2nd symphony, respectively. Only Cleveland/Dohnanyi matches to closeness, but fails due to averge recording. Unless available in newer higher-bit recording of this box collection, I am very satified with this box as compared to others. (Definitely avoid HvK/BPO version of 1st due to cloudy recording (1-star for effort).

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    No challenges here

    I agree with "Uncle Dave" Lewis that although the recording is wonderful in many ways, there are few traces of originality in the interpretation, and Solti never challenges the listener. The smooth texture is achieved at the cost of clarity - it is often difficult to hear exactly what is going on among the different parts of the orchestra. Perhaps this is the fault of the recording more than the conducting.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews