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  • Brahms: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 3
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Brahms: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 3


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Audio CD, May 24, 2011
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Product Details

  • Orchestra: Philharmonia Orchestra
  • Conductor: Christoph von Dohnanyi
  • Composer: Johannes Brahms
  • Audio CD (May 24, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Signum UK
  • ASIN: B004YDVMUQ
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,740,812 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 68: 1. Un poco sostenuto - Allegro
2. Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 68: 2. Andante sostenuto
3. Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 68: 3. Un poco allegretto e grazioso
4. Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 68: 4. Adagio - Più andante - Allegro non troppo ma con brio
Disc: 2
1. Symphony No. 3 in F major, Op. 90: 1. Allegro con brio
2. Symphony No. 3 in F major, Op. 90: 2. Andante
3. Symphony No. 3 in F major, Op. 90: 3. Poco allegretto
4. Symphony No. 3 in F major, Op. 90: 4. Allegro

Customer Reviews

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Santa Fe Listener HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on August 24, 2011
After leaving Cleveland, Dohnanyi's decade-long stint in London (1997-2008) passed all but unnoticed in the U.S. and only latterly have we been getting a few recordings. To judge by the calm, assured but eminently unexciting pairing of the Brahms Second and Fourth that the Philharmonia released on the Signum label three years ago, Dohnanyi found the Philharmonia a comfortable berth. English critics have always been kind to him, hearing elegance and aristocratic poise where I hear an orchestra becalmed at sea. Now it's 2011, a long wait for the remainder of the Brahms symphony cycle with this release of Sym. 1 and 3.

Sym. no. 1 doesn't give much cause for hope, since it starts off sleepily, with almost no rhythmic punch or even a strong pulse. As before, the orchestra plays beautifully and the recorded sound is fine. But the Brahms First should never sound this tired; the first movement feels endless. The slow movement is lyrical and well organized, but it has events, simply one thing following another. The Scherzo at lest relieves the sensation of listlessness, after which the finale opens without any tension or anticipation of the Allegro to come. That Allegro is probably the best thing here, but it's indistinguishable form the Mittel Europa ordinariness of Gunter Wand or Kurt Sanderling, which is to say that if you admire them, you may like this reading far more than I did.

The third fares better, with an assured, well handled first movement that is of the weighty and measured school rather than the exciting and propulsive. The Third is tricky in its two inner movements, which can sound much alike in pacing and mood, both feeling like Allegrettos. Dohnanyi doesn't seem to care, since both are paced the same here, lightly moving along.
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I got to hear quite a bit of Brahms conducted by Christoph von Dohnanyi during his years in Cleveland. I wasn't prepared by that for the very slack and meadering 1st symphony recorded here. The Philharmonia Orchestra plays well enough, but the sound quality is not as good as on Dohnanyi's Cleveland studio recording 20 years ago. The 3rd fares somewhat better, but nothing exceptional. Maybe it's time to retire.
Dohnanyi would have been better off leaving the Cleveland recordings as his Brahms legacy.
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