- Serenade for orchestra No. 1 in D major, Op. 11
- Serenade for orchestra No. 2 in A major, Op. 16
As a pendant to their recent and controversial recordings of the Brahms symphonies, Telarc has released new versions of the composer's Serenades with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Sir Charles Mackerras. Except for the decision not to use divided violins in the D major Serenade (there are no violin parts in the A major), the recording uses the same reduced forces and natural horns employed in the symphony recordings. But given the inherently lighter nature of the pieces themselves, the effect here is far greater. Along with the appealing intimacy of the performances, there is a wonderfully relaxed, easygoing quality in the interpretations matched only by Istvan Kertész in his classic London recording. Mackerras has the advantage of state-of-the-art digital sound and the superb acoustics of the Glasgow City Hall, which seem to bathe everything in the glow of a late summer afternoon. If you're searching for a first-rate modern recording of these magical works from Brahms's early years, then look no further than here.