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Brahms: Symphonies

4.8 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Between 1981 and 1984 Leonard Bernstein recorded nearly all of Brahmss orchestral works with the Wiener Philharmoniker to honor the 150th anniversary of the composer's birth in 1983. For the concertos, Bernstein enlisted the services of some of the finest Brahms interpreters of the time: the violoninst Gidon Kremer, the cellist Mischa Maisky and the pianist Krystian Zimerman.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Directors: Leonard Bernstein
  • Format: Multiple Formats, NTSC, Classical, Color, DTS Surround Sound
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Chinese, English, French, German, Spanish
  • Dubbed: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Deutsche Grammophon
  • DVD Release Date: October 9, 2007
  • Run Time: 235 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000RP4LW6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #108,562 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Michael Birman TOP 1000 REVIEWER on April 21, 2008
Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) was an enigmatic composer, both in his person and in his music. His music often requires that we tease out its meaning from its motivic and compressed architecture. His life is similarly mysterious and difficult to define. What induces a man as classically handsome as Brahms to hide his features behind a massive patrician beard? Brahms was already the endpoint of the great Germanic musical tradition at the end of the 19th Century. He was the inheritor of a line that begins with Bach, through the Classicism of Haydn and Mozart, culminating in Beethoven, continuing through the Romantic era of Schubert, Mendelssohn and, especially for Brahms, Schumann. Thus, Brahms was a kind of post-modern composer, aware of his position, constantly referring to older styles of music. Part of his enigmatic style is due to this. His relationship with the Schumanns and his life long love for Clara also took its toll on his life. Brahms burnt most of his musical sketches and his letters and papers to insure that the mystery would continue.

Leonard Bernstein chose to record this collection containing Brahm's orchestral symphonic music with the Vienna Philharmonic because of their homogeneous sound. The musicians are similarly schooled and, most important, the majority of their instruments are uniquely handmade: many of them dating back to the era of Brahms. In a strange (but very real) way, this collection presents Brahms played on original instruments, performed in an historically informed fashion. You cannot fail to be impressed how right everything sounds. The strings all have a similar silky sheen. The horns sound restrained and warmer. The winds have a burnished tone; their effect more diffident, less forward. This is a Brahmsian orchestra, without question.
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This particular study of Brahams as offered by the very esteemed members of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, partnered then with Maestro Bernstein, were in magnificent agreement with each other. They were in well disciplined form as one would expect. They were in a rare form with a sense of comradery, dipicting ever so seemingly what Johannes Brahms had intended to be heard and felt as each Symphony had been performed. Begining with the First Sympnony as to where the young Johanness Brahms had showed us a fresh approach to 'Clacicisim', with a hint of what was yet to come, towards the feeling of genuine 'Neo-clacicism', developing towards'Romanticism'. With a sense of fun and laghter, along with times of somber seriousness. Ever so seemingly that each movenment, along with their related eposition sections had they're own story to tell. These performances are a must, if one really wants a very astute and well informed presentation to add a wonderment of enlightenment and knowledge of Brahms, on a very intellectual but not too challenging undersanding of the interworkings of Johannes brahms and the meaning of his music.
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Here is the most convincing presentation of Brahms' symphonies that I personally have ever experienced. There is no explaining a gift like Leonard Bernstein, a true legend and one of the truly great ones of the 20th century (and a great Brahms conductor!). I have followed his career and recordings both at the NY Philharmonic and at Vienna (other places too). His brilliance and incandescence are revelatory in these Brahms performances. His view of a thorough-going romantic Brahms expressing his passionate control of an inner rage in classical form is convincing. He and this great Vienna orchestra give a consistent statement of it. And, of course, Bernstein's introductory comments are without peer.

There are other views of Brahms, but Bernstein is convinced and convincing. I certainly am not on a level to disagree. These are impassioned historic performances that will be around for a long time, and deservedly so. Every Brahms' lover like me needs to get them, pay them homage, note their brilliance and passion, and thank Bernstein for making such a contribution with this historic offering. They truly belong in the pantheon of great recordings.

On the way to a doctorate I had a number of profs with photographic minds. I was always amazed at how someone could retain that much information. Close your eyes and see it. Recall anything. Endless capacity. Amazing. Bernstein is obviously so magnificently gifted. His gesticular style -- and this is going to sound corny - is Elvis-like in effect and has always amused me. But he is with the music. That is the key. He's got it all up there, and out it comes with effervescence on the podium. Silvery hair waving in the breeze. His orchestra is as sold out as the hall. Together they produce passionate Brahms music with deliberate tempos.
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Leonard Bernstein was one of the last great conductors and composer to grace a podium. His enthusiasm and understanding of the composers intent rings clear in all four of Brahms symphonies. I own eight different Brahms symphony cycles and Bernstein along with Herbert Von Karajan reign supreme!
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By LJC on September 2, 2015
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Brahms and Bernstein....what more can I say?! This is a wonderful DVD for any music lover! Even my cat loves this DVD....The music is interpreted well and the sound is clear. I highly recommend this DVD!
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