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Brahms: Symphony No 1 In C Minor Op 68, Haydn Variations


Release Date: 08/28/2007 
Label:  Pentatone   Catalog #: 5186307   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Johannes Brahms
Conductor:  Marek Janowski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Multi 
Length: 1 Hours 1 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This is a splendid Brahms disc; really the only thing that prevents me from giving it the highest rating is the fact that there are already so many excellent performances of this music available. However, I can easily imagine this version becoming a favorite. The performance of the symphony is broadly in the style of Wand's two RCA versions, or perhaps also Dohnányi (Teldec). In other words, it plays up the "classical side" of Brahms, Toscanini style, but there's nothing remotely tight-lipped or underplayed here when compared to the more wild-eyed, "romantic" versions.

Marek Janowski is particularly adept in generating rhythmic tension in the outer movements thanks to his vigorous handling of
Read more accompanimental textures, which never sound thick or heavy. The Pittsburgh Symphony plays magnificently, and with great sensitivity. In the Andante the strings sound luminous, and the delicious third movement is perfectly paced and phrased. It all culminates in a really brilliant finale: the closing pages have a positively physical lift.

The Haydn Variations are just as fine. The Pittsburgh winds sound absolutely radiant here, while Janowski characterizes each variation with real personality. The final passacaglia builds effortlessly to the work's joyous conclusion. Pentatone's engineers have done an excellent job capturing the orchestra in a nicely warm acoustic that permits a clear delineation of texture without undue spotlighting. Brahms' occasionally prowly writing for contrabassoon, for example, has presence without turning into a concerto for the instrument. In short, this is beautiful Brahms; if you want this music in fine multichannel sound, you can buy with confidence.

--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Variations in B flat major on a theme by Haydn, Op. 56a "St. Anthony" by Johannes Brahms
Conductor:  Marek Janowski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1873; Austria 
Date of Recording: 03/2007 
Venue:  Live  Heinz Hall, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 
Length: 16 Minutes 47 Secs. 
2.
Symphony no 1 in C minor, Op. 68 by Johannes Brahms
Conductor:  Marek Janowski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1855-1876; Austria 
Date of Recording: 03/2007 
Venue:  Live  Heinz Hall, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 
Length: 44 Minutes 36 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Variations on a Theme by Haydn, Op. 56a, "St. Anthony Variations": Thema, "Chorale St. Antoni": Andante
Variations on a Theme by Haydn, Op. 56a, "St. Anthony Variations": Variation 1: Poco piu animato
Variations on a Theme by Haydn, Op. 56a, "St. Anthony Variations": Variation 2: Piu vivace
Variations on a Theme by Haydn, Op. 56a, "St. Anthony Variations": Variation 3: Con moto
Variations on a Theme by Haydn, Op. 56a, "St. Anthony Variations": Variation 4: Andante con moto
Variations on a Theme by Haydn, Op. 56a, "St. Anthony Variations": Variation 5: Vivace
Variations on a Theme by Haydn, Op. 56a, "St. Anthony Variations": Variation 6: Vivace
Variations on a Theme by Haydn, Op. 56a, "St. Anthony Variations": Variation 7: Grazioso
Variations on a Theme by Haydn, Op. 56a, "St. Anthony Variations": Variation 8: Presto non troppo
Variations on a Theme by Haydn, Op. 56a, "St. Anthony Variations": Finale: Andante
Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 68: I. Un poco sostenuto - Allegro
Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 68: II. Andante sostenuto
Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 68: III. Un poco allegretto e grazioso
Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 68: IV. Adagio - Piu andante - Allegro non troppo, ma con brio - Piu allegro

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