Brahms: Symphony No.4; Saint-Saens: Symphony No. 3 in C minor, op. 78 Organ Import
Brahms Fourth Symphony, his last, was completed in 1885 twelve years before his death. It is particularly notable for its finale, a rare example of a symphonic chaconne that is adapted from the closing movement of Bach s cantata Nach dir, Herr, verlanget mich. Saint-Saëns Third Symphony is popularly known as the Organ Symphony, even though only two sections out of four feature the instrument. Zubin Mehta leads the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra in taut and colorful performances, recorded live in Tel-Aviv in 2006-07.
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Top Customer Reviews
For those who dare to venture in, a frivolous and unimaginative Brahms Fourth, metronomically played by a bass-deficient Israeli Philharmonic, awaits you. This performance of Opus 98 has no redeeming features whatsoever. With impunity, you could play it in the lobby of Dollywood Theme Park, thereby adding sales to the nearby fairy-floss stall.
The performance of the Organ Symphony is less woeful. One of Mehta's relative strengths has been his ability to blaze away in orchestral fireworks such as the 1812 Overture where little or no thought is predicated. On its own terms, this is enjoyable enough even if the organ in the finale could be of the Hammond variety.
Does anyone win out of this venture? Pity the listener. Not Helicon Records, which would be better advised sinking its capital into the ghost of Enron. The Israeli Philharmonic is not the last word in orchestral excellence - if anything, this encounter made me more appreciative of ensembles in the penal colonies. Such as they were, the sound-engineers must have been paid for their labour - bully for them! That leaves the conductor.
As documented by the tribulations of his wife, Nancy, a Crassus-like extravagance is the order of the day in the Mehta household. It soon attracted the attention of any number of predators who, sad to say, treated the Mehtas as a veritable African watering-hole. Easy meat was on offer. Tears were shed. Court cases ensued. Pennies from this venture hopefully bring solace to Uncle Zubin as he caresses his Grammy Awards in the seclusion of his sybaritic study and dreams of the Baths of Caracalla.
As a houseman prepares porterhouse steaks for Tarras, the pampered pooch ("Raoul, rare, not medium please! He has a delicate stomach!") the rest is silence.