Brahms: Symphonies, Overtures & Violin Concerto

Brahms: Symphonies, Overtures & Violin Concerto

by Christoph von Dohnányi



Released at the first peak of the digital era, Christoph von Dohnányi and the Cleveland Orchestra's recordings of the complete symphonies of Brahms were better than most released at the time -- Wolfgang Sawallisch's lethargic readings with the London Philharmonic and Carlo Maria Giulini's apathetic accounts with the Vienna Philharmonic -- but not quite as good as the best -- Claudio Abbado's triumphant performances with the Berlin Philharmonic. Manifestly, Dohnányi is brilliant technical conductor -- every line is masterfully phrased and every sonority is superbly balanced -- and his interpretations comprehend the full greatness of Brahms' music from his heroic First through his lyrical Second and his pastoral Third to his epic Fourth. The Cleveland Orchestra plays with a lean, stern tone and a clear, bright sound that may be too unrelentingly edgy for some. What it is exactly that puts Dohnányi and the Cleveland slightly behind Abbado and the Berlin is almost indescribable -- perhaps its warmth of tone or depth of emotion -- but whatever it is, Abbado and the Berlin have it, and Dohnányi and the Cleveland don't -- quite. Still, for collectors of Brahms' symphonies, this set will rank high among those released in the early digital era, particularly when coupled with Thomas Zehetmair's elegant and energetic recording of Brahms' Violin Concerto with Dohnányi and the Cleveland. When it was released on Teldec, the sound of these recordings was clean and crisp but hard. Re-released here apparently un-re-mastered on Warner Classics, the sound is still clean and crisp -- and just as hard.

Product Details

Release Date: 04/24/2007
Label: Warner Classics
UPC: 0825646415922
catalogNumber: 64159


  1. Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 68
  2. Academic Festival Overture, for orchestra in C minor ("Akademische Festouvertüre"), Op. 80
  3. Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 73
  4. Tragic Overture, in D minor, Op. 81
  5. Symphony No. 3 in F major, Op. 90
  6. Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 77
  7. Symphony No. 4 in E minor, Op. 98
  8. Variations on a Theme of Haydn for orchestra in B flat major (St. Anthony Variations), Op. 56a

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