Aureole etc.




Nimbus on-line




If it’s the Czech works you’re after, do not hesitate

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


CD REVIEW

Some items
to consider

 


Enjoy the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra wherever you are. App available for iOS and Android


Mahler symphony 6 Nott


Vaughan Williams Symphony 3 etc.


Lyrita New Recording


Lyrita Premiere Recordings

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage


Decca Phase 4 - 40CDs


Judith Bailey, George Lloyd


BAX Orchestral pieces


CASKEN Violin Concerto

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 

 

 

 


alternatively Crotchet

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)
CD1
Symphony No. 1 (1868) [44.50]
Schicksalslied (1868) [15.53]
Academic Festival Overture (1880) [9.53]
CD2
Symphony No. 2 (1869) [35.34]
Symphony No. 3 (1883) [38.32]
CD3
Symphony No. 4 (1885) [41.36]
Haydn Variations (1873) [12.37]
Tragic Overture (1880) [18.39]
London Philharmonic Orchestra/Wolfgang Sawallisch
rec. Abbey Rd, Studio 1, June 1989 (2, 4); Apr 1990 (Variations, Tragic), Apr 1991 (1, Academic, Schicksalslied), Dec 1991 (3). DDD
EMI CLASSICS TRIPLE 5009132 [3 CDs: 70:33 + 78.53 + 72:52]



Sawallisch was born in Munich in 1923. Attending a performance of Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel at the age of 11 determined him on a life of music-making. He served in the Wehrmacht 1942-46 and was taken prisoner in Italy. His progress as music director took him from Augsburg to Salzburg, Aachen, Wiesbaden, Köln, Vienna (with the Symphony, not the Phil) and Brahms' 'own' Hamburg. He also established a strong connection with Philadelphia although towards the end of his time there in 2003 ill health made his concerts increasingly rare.
 
Reticent and unflamboyant Sawallisch has never relished or courted for himself the dazzle and glamour of a Bernstein, a Karajan or a Stokowski. His virtues are bound up with his fidelity to the score; more of a Boult then. He conducts without the score in front of him. His reflexes are good and there is electricity in his control of pacing. More than many he also impresses with his careful attention to harmony as the wind playing at the start of the finales of the First and Second Symphonies pays warm testimony.
 
The Third - a particular favourite of mine - is relaxed and I did not find it as strong as I was hoping especially in the first movement. The third and fourth movements are fluent and gracious. Overall, deliberation is too much in the ascendant here. This does not dislodge my reference version - Walter and the CBS Symphony - though the EMI sound is much more civilised.
 
The snappier episodes in the Haydn Variations are rattled through with virility and at a speed that prompts surprising parallel-drawing with Mendelssohn and even Berlioz. The attack at the start of the Tragic Overture is gripping and Sawallisch brings out the same darker shadows we also experience in Dvořák's Seventh Symphony - he has recorded the later Dvořáks for Philips. At other points, as in the great yelping cry of the violins in the peroration to the finale of the First Symphony, Sawallisch turns away from piercing intensity.
 
The brass are made very pleasingly 'present' by the EMI engineers even when not centre-stage and this facet can be heard again in the finale of the Third Symphony which grasps splendour more than once. It is also immanent in the Fourth which scorches along exactly as it should. In the finale it is brassily Gothic - autumnally spacious without dawdling.
 
I am not sure what has happened to these recordings for they appear to have had little in the way of a first issue life. They re-emerged as part of a much bigger Brahms-Sawallisch EMI box and later in a bargain basement box from Brilliant Classics. Perhaps their shelf life will now be as long as Sawallisch’s never-out-of-the-catalogue EMI set of Schumann symphonies with the Dresden Staatskapelle.
 
Sawallisch emerges from this set undemonstrative but with honours high.
 
Rob Barnett
 



 


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
Atoll
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample
 

Return to Review Index

Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.