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Brahms: Symphony No. 2 - Hungarian Dances


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Audio CD, October 11, 2005
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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 Title Time Price
listen  1. Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 73: I. Allegro non troppo20:09Album Only
listen  2. Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 73: II. Adagio non troppo 9:45Album Only
listen  3. Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 73: III. Allegretto grazioso, quasi andantino 5:14$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 73: IV. Allegro con spirito 9:51Album Only
listen  5. 21 Hungarian Dances, WoO 1 (version for orchestra): Hungarian Dance No. 1 in G minor (orch. J. Brahms) 3:16$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  6. 21 Hungarian Dances, WoO 1 (version for orchestra): Hungarian Dance No. 3 in F major (orch. J. Brahms) 2:46$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  7. 21 Hungarian Dances, WoO 1 (version for orchestra): Hungarian Dance No. 10 in F major (orch. J. Brahms) 1:52$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  8. 21 Hungarian Dances, WoO 1 (version for orchestra): Hungarian Dance No. 17 in F sharp minor (orch. A. Dvorak) 3:35$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  9. 21 Hungarian Dances, WoO 1 (version for orchestra): Hungarian Dance No. 18 in D major (orch. A. Dvorak) 1:33$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen10. 21 Hungarian Dances, WoO 1 (version for orchestra): Hungarian Dance No. 19 in B minor (orch. A. Dvorak) 2:39$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen11. 21 Hungarian Dances, WoO 1 (version for orchestra): Hungarian Dance No. 20 in E minor (orch. A. Dvorak) 2:44$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen12. 21 Hungarian Dances, WoO 1 (version for orchestra): Hungarian Dance No. 21 in E minor (orch. A. Dvorak) 1:35$0.89  Buy MP3 

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Brahms: Symphony No. 2 - Hungarian Dances + Brahms: Symphony 3 + Symphony 4: Hungarian Dances
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Product Details

  • Performer: Brahms, Alsop, London Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Audio CD (October 11, 2005)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Naxos
  • ASIN: B000B6N67W
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #227,358 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Amazon.com

Here, Marin Alsop follows up her successful recording of Brahms's First Symphony with an equally fine Second. The first movement has great warmth but moves ahead with conviction; the second is devoid of any unwanted density of tone; the third has real class, and the final movement is exciting, with dazzling brass. The selection of Hungarian Dances is varied and handsomely performed. At this price, this is a front-runner. --Robert Levine

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By J Scott Morrison HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 11, 2005
Format: Audio CD
First a couple of stories about the writing of the Brahms Second Symphony. He began it in his first summer at a retreat on Lake Wörth in southern Austria where, he said 'Melodies are so abundant you have to be careful not to step on them.' Certainly, in this symphony he scooped up numbers of them. He must have been in an exuberant mood as he was composing it because he twitted his notoriously prim and humorless musical friend, Elizabeth von Herzogenberg, by writing her that the symphony was basically just a series of F minor chords played first ff and then pp, the joke being that there is not a single F minor chord in the symphony. It is in sunny D major. Some have called the Second Brahms's 'Pastoral' Symphony.

This performance led by Marin Alsop reminds me of a couple of recordings that I know and love well, those by Kurt Sanderling and the Dresden Staatskapelle and by, of all people, Otto Klemperer and the Philharmonia. Largely this is because she takes a leisurely approach that simply revels in the harmonic luxuriance of all four movements, never rushing, never forcing the drama (as in the climaxes of the first movement) but letting the music speak for itself without artificially added histrionics. She is aided immensely by the London Philharmonic's masterly playing. The strings are positively silken; their tone seems to have, particularly in the slower legato sections, an added depth of dark chocolaty tone. The horns, particularly the solo horn, are equally rich and dark. The other winds sound appropriately Germanic, even though this is an English orchestra; I wonder if that is a conscious decision on their part? The brasses, especially the trombones, are mellow but still dramatic when need be.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Cat Nation on November 2, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Though not a revelatory version of the 2nd, Alsop's presentation sweeps along beautifully and shimmers in all the right places. Perhaps she meanders a bit in the Adagio, but I find much to relish in Alsop's pacing and lyricism. This is a nice new version of one of my favorite (perhaps my favorite) symphonies, and I have revisited it several times. If you love Brahms, I think you will find much to enjoy in this new recording!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By drdanfee VINE VOICE on December 23, 2006
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I approached this second disc in the Marin Alsop series on Naxos with some caution, given my mixed reactions to the first symphony on SACD, as well as some of the down sides of the comments the Amazon posted reviewers have made. My objections to the Alsop First Symphony involved mostly the dislocated sonics that came from using that markedly unwise venue, the Watford Colosseum. I like Alsop's approach to the composer well enough to actually wish to be able to hear it, well. Her tendencies to bring out Brahm's polyphony without unraveling the larger melodic/harmonic forward motion only makes sound and aural staging more pertinent concerns. So as a happy starting note, one can see this Second Symphony has been recorded in another, much better venue, London's Blackheath Concert Hall. Catching this break, one immediately wishes we had another go at SACD. (So I waited and waited before trying this second out. What is Naxos thinking these days? Do any of the company people actually listen to their own catalog?) On the disc filler of eight of the orchestrated version of the Hungarian Dances, we return to the Watford. Oh well, give that venue another chance I suppose, so long as it doesn't get to sabotage one's potential enjoyment of the Second Symphony.

My steadfast standard in the second has involved an old, wonderful stereo recording, led by Pierre Monteux with the Vienna Philharmonic. Some day it may get remastered again, and if Universal Classics lets Sony BMG lead the way, we might even get an SACD hybrid disc like the BMG Living Stereo series.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Alex on September 16, 2010
Format: MP3 Music
Alsop provides an extremely clear reading of the score. The balance and delineation between the separate stages of exposition and development in the first movement was impressive. The tempos are appropriately ponderous, and I have never so well appreciated the tonal continuity between this work and the Clarinet Quintet.

(I agree with some previous reviews, that this interpretation may not be suitable to someone looking for a racy interpretation. But I strongly dislike Karajan's interpretation of this particular symphony. To readers looking for a more exciting interpretation I also recommend Eugen Jochum on DG).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By John J. Puccio TOP 1000 REVIEWER on March 9, 2013
Format: Audio CD
Alsop's reading is a very tight, cozy, safe-sounding one that should play well over the years, radiant and amiable, with plenty of lyrical sentiment expressed throughout. Comfy sound, too.

John J. Puccio
Classical Candor
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Leslie Richford on August 6, 2009
Format: Audio CD
Johannes Brahms (1833 - 1897): Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 73. Hungarian Dances Nos. 1,3,10 and 17 through 21 (orchestrated by Brahms himself or by Antonin Dvorak). Performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Marin Alsop. Recorded on 21st and 22nd March 2005 (Symphony No. 2) at the Blackheath Concert Hall in South London, England and on 28th July 2005 (Hungarian Dances) at Watford Colosseum, Watford, England. Producer and Engineer: Tim Handley. Released in 2005 as Naxos 8.557429. Total playing time: 65'06".

Looking at the comments made by other reviewers, one wonders if all were listening to the same CD! I have been enjoying this recording for some time now and have just listened very carefully to it on both earspeakers and in front of my loudspeakers - and I arrived at the conclusion that this is one of the loveliest orchestral recordings in my collection! The reasons for this are fairly obvious: 1. Brahms' music itself, although anything but "pastoral", is unusually cheerful in tone and reflects the lightness the composer felt in pleasant, scenic surroundings. 2. Marin Alsop and the LPO offer a rendition which enables one to savour all the glorious detail of Brahms's score, taking, in particular, the first movement ("Allegro non troppo") at a leisurely pace - they need a full 20 minutes -, but never allowing the music to disintegrate; rather the opposite, I felt, with a clarity of structure and harmony I have never heard on other recordings of the symphony (and I include the 1958 stereo recording by Klemperer and the Philharmonia Orchestra for EMI which I listened to for comparison). 3. The engineering and the acoustics, which are some of the finest I have heard from Naxos.
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