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  • Brahms: Symphony No.1 / Serenade for Orchestra, No. 2 (Royal Edition)
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Brahms: Symphony No.1 / Serenade for Orchestra, No. 2 (Royal Edition)

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Audio CD, July 28, 1992
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1. Sym No.1 In c, Op.68: I. Un Poco Sostenuto-Allegro
2. Sym No.1 In c, Op.68: II. Andante Sostenuto
3. Sym No.1 In c, Op.68: III. Un Poco Allegretto e Grazioso
4. Sym No.1 In c, Op.68: IV. Adagio-Piu Andante-Allegro Non Troppo, Ma Con Brio
5. Ser No.2 in A, Op.16: I. Allegro Moderato
6. Ser No.2 in A, Op.16: II. Scherzo. Vivace-Trio
7. Ser No.2 in A, Op.16: III. Adagio Non Troppo
8. Ser No.2 in A, Op.16: IV. Quasi Menuetto-Trio
9. Ser No.2 in A, Op.16: V. Rondo. Allegro

Product Details

  • Orchestra: New York Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Conductor: Leonard Bernstein
  • Composer: Johannes Brahms
  • Audio CD (July 28, 1992)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B0000027M4
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #337,165 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Santa Fe Listener HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on November 25, 2006
In its 24-bit remastering (the same one is used for both the Bernstein century and Royal Edition issues) this 1960 Brahms First sounds warm and expansive. Bernstein was a passionate Brahmsian, and he grew more so. By 1976, when he recorded the symphony again in Vienna, every measure throbbed with emotion and every phrase was clung to for dear life. That latter style has attracted much criticism, but I think it may prove to be greater even than this fine recording because we are so lacking in conductors with Bernstein's charisma.

There's charisma aplenty here, too. Bernstein conducts with the same commitment he brings to Mahler, and the NY Phil. plays its heart out, especially the first violin and horn, whose solos are inspiring. Tempos are all in the standard range, a minute faster than usual in every movement compared with Muti, Chailly, Jochum, and other traditionalists. If I leave aside Furtwangler, an incomparable Brahms interpreter, Bernstein ranks with Karajan as the outstanding Brahmsian of his generation, and that holds true for either the New York or Vienna cycle.

The filler here is the Serenade #2, recorded in less good sound at Avery Fisher Hall in 1966 (the symphony comes from Manhattan Center). Since it's scored without violins, this work can seem a bit melancholy and subdued. Rather than overcome that mood with his usual ebullience, Bernstein accentuates it--this is one of the more inward, quiet versions I've heard.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Hiram Gomez Pardo HALL OF FAME on September 4, 2008
The enormous responsibility that behoved upon the shoulders of Brahms from all the corners of Europe as the main successor of Beethoven made of him so nervous, unquiet and disturbed respect this OP. 48 that its final revision took over fourteen years when the composer was in his 44. Hans von Bullow hailed the work as the "tenth symphony" and coined the phrase "the three great B's". Walter Niemann by his own augmented the entire symphony "Brahms Pathetique Symphony. Movement by movement, third by third, it struggles upwards, in a titanic striving against the most grievous tribulation, to a triumphant paean of confident vitality.

Bernstein achieved a major reputation as Brahms conductor when he journeyed to Europe, but what most tend to forget was the fabulous approach given by him respect this so challenging work whose dynamic changes and modulations are far to be a piece of cake.

I would like to remark the approach given by Mr. Bernstein to this well known piece of the repertoire is marvellously balanced. Loaded of febrile passion, astonishing expressiveness and ferocious attacks without falling in common places. Bernstein makes the orchestra breathes and dives into the core of the score. What so wonderful sound. Strings, woodwinds and metals demonstrate once more the characteristic and glorious sound of this overwhelming Op.

Despite I miss a major dramatic sense in the introduction, the whole achievement never incurs in cheap sentimentalism, on the contrary exudes Germanic noblesse. The slow movement is conducted with serene firmness, impregnated of that autumnal tint. Notice, for instance how the horns phrase with majestic shinning and the cellos section were simply outstanding.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By David Saemann VINE VOICE on December 3, 2008
I recently listened to this disc again after hearing Bernstein's slower, more eccentric, later recording with the Vienna Philharmonic. Hearing this 1960 recording, it took me a few minutes to get my bearings. This is a fast Brahms 1st. It is not as warm as the late 50's recordings by Walter and Ormandy, both pretty sensational. Rather, there is an emphasis on the grandeur of the piece, with the N.Y. Philharmonic creating brilliant sonorities that I doubt any orchestra could surpass. John Corigliano's violin solo in the 2nd movement is the best I've ever heard. There is the usual slowing down for the chorale in the coda of the finale, but it is not nearly as extreme as on Bernstein's later recording. The 1960 sound engineering is very good, full and well balanced, if a trifle cold. The 1966 recording of the Serenade is closer up and warmer. The performance, however, does not please me. It is too slow in places and very fussy. When you compare it to Georg Tintner's exquisite live performance, there just is a lack of grace and momentum. Nevertheless, this performance of the Brahms 1st is an important one, an example of Bernstein at his early peak.
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