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Symphonies 3 & 4

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Audio CD, June 18, 1996
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Editorial Reviews

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How Roger Norrington every managed to get a recording contract with a major label remains a complete mystery. The man is a musical monstrosity, and his Brahms is simply appalling. Despite the conductor's manifold claims to historical authenticity, these performances are simply a willful collection of scrappy sound effects, harshly multi-miked and preserved in claustrophobic digital sound. Music-making of this amateurishness would be laughed off the stage, were it not for the pseudo-scholarly trappings supported by the cozy nepotism of the British musical press. A disgrace. --David Hurwitz


1. Symphony No. 3 in F major, Op. 90: Allegro con brio
2. Symphony No. 3 in F major, Op. 90: Andante
3. Symphony No. 3 in F major, Op. 90: Poco Allegretto
4. Symphony No. 3 in F major, Op. 90: Allegro
5. Symphony No. 4 in E minor, Op. 98: Allegro non troppo
6. Symphony No. 4 in E minor, Op. 98: Andante moderato
7. Symphony No. 4 in E minor, Op. 98: Allegro giocoso
8. Symphony No. 4 in E minor, Op. 98: Allegro energico e passionato

Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 18, 1996)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Angel Records
  • ASIN: B000002RWB
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #467,852 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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31 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Gregory M. Maldonado on May 3, 2000
Format: Audio CD
...Mystery to me as well. Music reviwers and so called "critics" with snippy, arrogant, holier than thou attitudes such as this need to, in a word, get over themselves. He obviously hasn't the slightest idea what intelligent music-making is all about; he cannot begin to comprehend this high spiritual level of art, for if he did, he wouldn't show his ignorance by making comments such as those in his review above.
These Brahms Symphonies under the vision of Sir Roger Norrington and company finally come to life in a way that has not been heard in this century. Sir Roger's understanding of the Brahmsian line and his uncanny sense of proper mood and tempi (that have come out his wonderful innate feelings of what harmonic motion in all about) are an aural revelation to behold. The clarity of sound, precision of intonation and range of dynamics and articulation from the gut-strung string instruments is a breath of fresh air; these qualities of his strings alone would rival the string section of ANY orchestra. The commanding power of the clear, sweet-sounding brass and the non-homogeneous individualistic sounds of the wind are breath-taking.
Brahms is usually criticized for his mono-chromatically colored orchestration and orchestral writing, but this idea of Brahmsian mono-chromatism is at once dispelled from the very opening chords of the F major Symphony as performed by the London Classical Players. It is as if we are watching and hearing these shades of perceived gray turn into a glorious 35mm Nitrate Technicolor Imbibition print; obviously Mr. Hurwitz is used to relishing and seeing faded Eastmancolor prints that have all but turned red.
And have you EVER seen Mr.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Gregory M. Maldonado on May 3, 2000
Format: Audio CD
...Mystery to me as well. People with snippy, arrogant, holier than thou attitudes such as this need to in a word, get over themselves. He obviously hasn't the slightest idea what intelligent music-making is all about; he cannot begin to comprehend this high spiritual level of art that has been created for our senses, for if he did, he wouldn't show his ignorance by making comments such as those in his review above.
These Brahms Symphonies under the vision of Sir Roger and company finally come to life in a way that has not been heard in this century. Sir Roger's understanding of the Brahmsian line andhis uncanny sense of proper mood and tempi (that have come out his wonderful innate feelings of what harmonic motion in all about) are an aural revelation to behold. The clarity of sound, precision of intonation and range of dynamics and articulation from the gut-strung string instruments is a breath of fresh air and would rival ANY orchestra. The commanding power of the brass and the non-homogenious individualistic sounds of the wind are breath-taking.
Brahms is usually criticized for his mono-chromatically colored orchestration and orchestral writing, but this idea of Brahmsian mono-chromatism is dispelled from the very opening chords of the F major Symphony. It is as if we are watching and hearing these shades of perceived gray turn into a glorious 35mm Nitrate Technicolor Imbibition print; obviously Mr." Hurlwitz" is used to relishing and seeing faded Eastmancolor prints that have all but turned red.
And have you EVER seen Mr. Hurwitz's name associated with the creation a great work of art or HIS name associated with a major recording label? No, and you probably won't either...not in this lifetime. Perhaps we are getting a sense of what a bitter and jealous man he really is.
Get a life, David.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Mark Salamon on April 23, 2002
Format: Audio CD
What the Sistine Chapel fresco restorers have done for Michelangelo's masterpiece, Sir Roger Norrington and the London Classical Players have achieved for Brahms' symphonies. A century's worth of lugubrious interpretive encrustations have been peeled away, and the musical compositions that Brahms heard in his heart as he wrote them, and the instrumental timbres that caressed his ears when the symphonies were performed by the orchestras of his day, are unveiled again in all their freshness, strength and glory. Thus Brahms emerges as the true classicist he believed himself to be --the grateful inheritor of a noble linneage traced through Haydn, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Schubert and Schumann-- distinct from such composers as Liszt and Wagner, whose Romanticisms he wished to avoid.
In his notes accompanying the recording, conductor Norrington speaks persuasively of the benefits derived from observing the musical practices of the Brahms-era orchestra, performance traditions that have been vastly altered or lost in these intervening 130 years. We know from musician-writers of that time the precise balance and positioning of strings, woodwind and brass instruments in the orchestra (giving more equal weight to the wind sonoroties than is heard in today's symphony; balancing the violins on both the right and left sides of the stage) the construction of the instruments used (gut, not steel strings; less complicated winds; smaller-bored brass; leather-headed timpani) and playing techniques (judicious use of vibrato, portamento, and rubato; livlier tempos.) The revived richness, energy and clarity are heard immediately, thanks to the polished skills of the London Classical Players and the natural, full-bodied yet detailed sound captured by EMI's technicians.
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