Brahms: Symphonies Nos. 1, 2, 3 & 4 / West German Radio Symphony
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
SYMPHONY NO. 1 in C Minor, Op. 68
SYMPHONY NO. 2 in D Major, Op. 73
SYMPHONY NO. 3 in F Major, Op. 90
SYMPHONY NO. 4 in E Minor, Op. 98
The Brahms symphonic cycle features stirring performances of Semyon Bychkov conducting the WDR-Sinfonieorchester Köln. Semyon Bychkov's love and affection for the music of Brahms goes back to the beginnings of his conducting career. In harmony with the WDR Symphony Orchestra, he shows us the depth and the magnificent density of texture and feeling within these symphonies.
With the exception - a glorious one - of Kurt Sanderling, there are no Soviet conductors whom we immediately associate with Brahms. So where has Bychkov landed and how does he see the music? The answer is, in a logical, clear-sighted way, more after the manner of Weingartner or Boult than Furtwängler or Sanderling ... Texts are clean. Textures reflect Brahms's interest in a pre-Wagnerian sound world.
'The results, for the most part, are unexceptionably fine' MUSIC WEEK
Documentary: The Horizon Moves with You. A portrait of the conductor Semyon Bychkov
Top Customer Reviews
Even though recorded on stage in full concert dress the performances are done without audience - rather as a studio recording. There is a strong sense of long takes however, and of real performances taking place before our eyes. Bychkov has a real understanding of the Brahms sound world and overall structure. Pace is maintained well and climaxes are built convincingly, without exaggeration and excitingly. Orchestral textures are reinforced with a strong bass foundation supplied by the fine string section.
The sound is presented in excellent surround format as well as stereo. The camera work is mostly very sympathetic although there is a tendency towards camera hyperactivity at climax points where the camera shots hop quickly from one instrument to another to show answering phrases. I find this to be distracting rather than adding to excitement although others may not find this a problem. The actual imaging is nicely sharp and texturally very good.
I would suggest that at the moment this is arguably the best option on the market and represents outstanding value. I am aware though that there are other opinions about this! However in my personal judgement, it seems that 5 stars would be a fair assessment for what seems to me to be a fine achievement and one which most purchasers should be very happy with it as performances and as a recording.
I've decided it's time to revise and update my very critical review. In reading my comments below, keep in mind that I had recently seen most of box set of all 9 Beethoven symphonies with Berliner Philharmoniker/Claudio Abbado. (The entire set is apparently not presently available, but two of the DVDs pulled out from this set include Berliner Philharmoniker/Claudio Abbado: Beethoven - Symphonies 4 & 7 and Berliner Philharmoniker/Claudio Abbado: Beethoven - Symphonies 2 & 5).
The entire Beethoven set (with the exception of the 9th) was overwhelming: conducting, playing, videography, the orchestra (aside: if it is rereleased, grab it). The Beethoven set became a paradigm for me of what a classical music DVD should be. Alas, this Brahms simply did not live up to that paradigm. Thus my very negative reaction.
With further listening and reflection, I'm upgrading from 2 stars to 3 (="it's okay"). Perhaps not entirely fair, but many of my critiques remain: the videography, the focus on Bychkov, the lack of audience interaction, and fact that the music generally does not deeply move me (the end of the 2nd is an exception here).
Still, on second and third listening, the music is, to my non-aficionado's ears, enjoyable. Someone who watches without my biased high expectations might extend even more approval.
The first thing you need to know is that these performances are not recordings of a live concert.Read more ›
Set up an Amazon Giveaway
What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?
Look for Similar Items by Category
- CDs & Vinyl > Classical > Symphonies
- Movies & TV > Fully Loaded DVDs > DTS
- Movies & TV > Genre for Featured Categories > Arts & Entertainment
- Movies & TV > Genre for Featured Categories > Music Videos & Concerts
- Movies & TV > Genre for Featured Categories > Performing Arts
- Movies & TV > Genre for Featured Categories > Special Interests
- Movies & TV > Musicals & Performing Arts > Classical
- Movies & TV > TV