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  • Brahms: Symphony No. 4; Tragic Overture; Variations on a Theme by Haydn
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Brahms: Symphony No. 4; Tragic Overture; Variations on a Theme by Haydn Original recording remastered


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Audio CD, Original recording remastered, September 7, 2004
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Product Details

  • Orchestra: Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra of London
  • Conductor: Carlo Maria Giulini
  • Composer: Johannes Brahms
  • Audio CD (September 7, 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: EMI Classics
  • ASIN: B0002VEQFM
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #506,322 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Tragic Overture Op.81 - Philharmonia Orchestra
2. Thema - Chicago Symphony Orchestra
3. Variation I (Poco Piu Animato) - Chicago Symphony Orchestra
4. Variation II (Piu Vivace) - Chicago Symphony Orchestra
5. Variation III (Con Moto) - Chicago Symphony Orchestra
6. Variation IV (Andante Con Moto) - Chicago Symphony Orchestra
7. Variation V (Vivace) - Chicago Symphony Orchestra
8. Variation VI (Vivace) - Chicago Symphony Orchestra
9. Variation VII (Grazioso) - Chicago Symphony Orchestra
10. Variation VIII (Presto Non Troppo) - Chicago Symphony Orchestra
See all 15 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Carlo Maria Giulini - A Profile - Carlo Maria Giulini
2. Carlo Maria Giulini - A Profile - Carlo Maria Giulini
3. Carlo Maria Giulini - A Profile - Carlo Maria Giulini
4. Carlo Maria Giulini - A Profile - Carlo Maria Giulini
5. Carlo Maria Giulini - A Profile - Carlo Maria Giulini
6. Carlo Maria Giulini - A Profile - Carlo Maria Giulini
7. Carlo Maria Giulini - A Profile - Carlo Maria Giulini
8. Carlo Maria Giulini - A Profile - Carlo Maria Giulini

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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"In music everything is important, every note is important for everybody.
Music Lover
I heartily recommend this to any collector who who loves the Brahms 4th and has interest in this outstanding conductor.
W. Chiles
Operatic, in the best sense of the word, could best describe Giulini's approach to the Fourth Symphony.
Jon. Yungkans

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jon. Yungkans on October 22, 2006
Format: Audio CD
The other reviewer of this disc has a good point about EMI duplicating the release of the Chicago Brahms 4th Symphony in its Chicago Recordings tribute to Giulini. However, as a primer for Giulini's approach with Brahms (or for those who don't really want all the extra music in teh Chicago box set, fine as it may be), this Great Recording of the Century release does fill a niche. It also begs the question of when EMI will remaster and re-release Giulini's performances of the four symphonies and Academic Festival Overture with the Philharmonia. A box set of these, the shorter works on this disc and perhaps the two piano concertos with Claudio Arrau would not only be a fitting tribute, but is also a long overdue one. Meanwhile, this release will do nicely, even as it whets our appetites for more.

From the sharp crack and force of the pair of opening chords, this performance of the Tragic Overture announces itself as a sleek, muscular tiger of music making, moving with plenty of power and a coiled-spring intensity but also possessing a feline grace and a deep, smoldering warmth that could - and often does - explode into white-hot passion. The Haydn Variations that follow are equally fine, capturing all the joy, yearning and humor of Brahms in his sunnier moods.

Operatic, in the best sense of the word, could best describe Giulini's approach to the Fourth Symphony. As Sir Simon Rattle, who served as an associate conductor under Giulini in Los Angeles, points out in the liner notes, "It is one of those performances in which you feel the musicians are playing not the notes but the stories of their lives.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Music Lover on June 19, 2007
Format: Audio CD
The Giulini/CSO performance of the Brahms 4th is, in my opinion, the finest, and certainly my undeniable favorite, of all time. I like the tempos, the playing, the artist's concept, and the dark, melancholy Brahms sound that CMG inevitably evinces from whatever orchestra he is leading. The CSO was a great instrument, period, and certainly a great one for him. But truthfully I have not heard him conduct a Brahms symphony with an orchestra that did not sound like the best Brahms orchestra.

As with Verdi, CMG was a master conductor of Brahms. And he got the most from his orchestras. They bought into his vision. I believe him to have been among the top three or four most insightful interpreters and communicators of Brahms in the 20th century. I am not alone in that. That takes in a lot of territory and some very great conductors. Since I am in my late 60's, that takes in some very great ones. But such was Giulini's stature. All one needs to do is listen to his recorded three cycles of Brahms Symphonies and the many additional single recordings out there, like this one with the CSO, about which I am so fond. There is no doubt in my mind that this one is the finest recorded performance of all time. That takes in some great performances, not to mention CMG's own great farewell performance with the Vienna Philharmonic in the early 90's.

Since this is certainly one of the great recorded performances of all time for the Brahms 4th, it is helpful to know what Giulini thought in general as he approached conducting Brahms. "In music everything is important, every note is important for everybody. But in Brahms, the hundred percent participation, the total intensity of every note is, I think, particularly and absolutely fundamental.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By W. Chiles on March 2, 2011
Format: Audio CD
Having heard quite a number of recorded and live performances of this symphony since the mid 1960s this particular recording remains my all time favorite despite some of the most mediocre engineering ever perpetrated on a fine orchestra and our human ears. At the time of this recording Giulini had established himself as one of the most sought-after conductors on the international circuit despite a rather limited repertoire. But what he could accomplish within his repertoire was a rare combination of passion and excitement coupled with a warmth of expression and delicateness of attack. He was such a favorite with Chicago audiences in large part for his ability to produce a warmer quality from this well-trained & responsive but often harsh sounding orchestra.

I agree with the other reviews posted here although I tend to favor this recording more than they did. A prior mastering as part of a 4 CD set of Giulini's Chicago EMI recordings was still quite harsh sounding in comparison with the original LP which itself was not particularly attractive acoustically. This remastering is definitely the one to have. The performance continues to delight and amaze me for the amount of highlighting that Giulini makes of this score without sounding mannered or losing sight of the score's architecture. The slow movement in particular strikes me as one of the most beautiful recorded performances I've ever heard and I've heard many including Böhm's VPO, Sänderling's Dresden, Walter's Columbia, Barbirolli's VPO, Bernstein's VPO and Andermet's Suisse Romande recordings all of which I enjoyed.

I heartily recommend this to any collector who who loves the Brahms 4th and has interest in this outstanding conductor. His later performances often became distractingly slow to the point of lethargy, but here he was in his absolute prime.
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