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  • Brahms: Symphony No. 1 / Alto Rhapsody, Op. 53
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Brahms: Symphony No. 1 / Alto Rhapsody, Op. 53 Import


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Audio CD, Import, December 27, 2005
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Editorial Reviews


Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song TitleArtist Time Price
listen  1. Symphony No. 1 Op. 68 In C Minor: Un Poco Sostenuto - AllegroOrchestra Sinfonica Della Rai Di Torino & Peter Maag14:04Album Only
listen  2. Symphony No. 1 Op. 68 In C Minor: Andante SostenutoOrchestra Sinfonica Della Rai Di Torino & Peter Maag10:14Album Only
listen  3. Symphony No. 1 Op. 68 In C Minor: Un Poco Allegretto E GraziosoOrchestra Sinfonica Della Rai Di Torino & Peter Maag 5:05$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Symphony No. 1 Op. 68 In C Minor: Adagio - Allegro Non Troppo Ma Con BrioOrchestra Sinfonica Della Rai Di Torino & Peter Maag16:56Album Only
listen  5. Alto Rhapsody Op. 53: Adagio - Poco Andante - AdagioCoro Sinfonica Rai Di Milano, Orchestra Sinfonica Della Rai Di Torino, Peter Maag, Mino Bordignon & Lucia Valentini Terrani15:16Album Only

Product Details

  • Orchestra: Turin RAI Symphony Ochestra, Milan Symphony Orchestra & Choir
  • Conductor: Peter Maag
  • Composer: Johannes Brahms
  • Audio CD (December 27, 2005)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Arts Music
  • ASIN: B000B7VZYM
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #304,223 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Format: Audio CD
I don't know the date of this live recording, since my version is a download, but the late Swiss conductor Peter Maag (1919-2001) made me sit up in this Brahms First. His commercial recordings hardly reveal, stylistically, that he was a protege of Furtwangler's, nor does his streamlined Beethoven. But here we are in Furtwangler territory with a Brahms First that aims to sink deeply into the expressive world of this romantic monument to passion and struggle, a true continuation of Beethoven's ideals, and Furtwangler's. There is rigor and strength, and once he has dived in, Maag keeps up the intensity (not to Furtwangler's extent, but let's not ask the impossible).

The orchestras of the Italian Radio system regularly featured outside European conductors, and they tended to have a high standard of musicianship. Here the one in Milan sounds like a real Brahms orchestra (i.e., central European). Furtwangler almost made the Rome one sound like a Wagner orchestra, but the time was the early Fifties, and the damage done by the war was all too apparent still. Here the playing is quite expressive; the sheen on the strings in the slow movement is magical. But everything feels right to me from beginning to end. I can't hear the clarinet obliggato in the Scherzo well enough, and other niggling balance problems appear, such as underpowered French horns in the finale. What matters is the urgency and authenticity of Maag's interpretation. If he didn't learn it at Furtwangler's knee, I don't know what. Curious devotees of either Brahms or Furtwangler should listen to this, a kind of afterglow that brings him back, the best part of him. The sound is excellent broadcast stereo.

The Alto Rhapsody that comes as a filler is a total loss, since the soloist and male choir were apparently recorded in a highway tunnel.
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By Dabí Sánchez on November 14, 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This review is essentially a pendant to the excellent write-up by "Santa Fe Listener", who is one of my favorite commentators for classical music on the Amazon site. I subscribe to nearly all of what "Listener" says here. In any given Furtwaengler performance of the Brahms First (my reference is the November 1947 recording with the Vienna Philharmonic), you find the atmosphere and the directorial footprint much the same. Interestingly, Maag's first movement is actually a bit more expansive than that of Furtwaengler, who takes a bit longer in the second movement than does Maag. The last two movements have the two at a dead heat, so the two conductors' timings for the whole symphony come out pretty much the same. Furtwaengler, as is his habit, tends more toward the underlining of expression, whereas Maag plays for the long line. But the inner sense of the music with the two conductors is of a piece. Maag's orchestra in the symphony is actually the Torino RAI -- not the Milano, as Listener says; this might make a difference to those who follow the respective RAI orchestras, as the one in Torino seems to be the best of them. The recording dates are 1976 for the symphony, 1979 for the rhapsody, which is from Milan. Both are live performances with a studio audience, the more appreciative one in Torino, not surprisingly, as that is really the performance to treasure. I don't find the reverberant sound in the rhapsody as bad as Listener does, but this might be because I have the CD whereas Listener has the download, which will give a different sound-perspective. I fully agree with Listener that the symphony alone is worth the price of admission (and , as of this writing, the prices in the after-market offerings are refreshingly low). This is a nuts-to-the-wall performance --probably not an expression Brahms would have taken to, but the CD honors him and brings us very close to his musical alchemy.
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Format: Audio CD
True, Maag is a truly great conductor and his approach to Brahms is right on the button. Both works are performed in a way that raise them to the front rank.

However, I'm surprised that no reviewer hasn't mentioned the presence of the great Rossini contralto, Lucia Valentini-Terrani, singing the solo part in which she ranks with the best. In fact, her (sadly) few performances of German repertoire are as great as those in she specialized and excelled so superbly. Read my review of her Cenerentola recording on Sony with Araiza, Dara and Ferro conducting the Capella Coloniensis, a period instrument orchestra for more details.
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Brahms: Symphony No. 1 / Alto Rhapsody, Op. 53
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