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Serge Koussevitzky Conducts Brahms - The Complete Symphonies

Serge Koussevitzky
Label:  Music & Arts   Catalog #: 1108  
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Mono 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

The music historian and author Hugo Leichtentritt provided this generous assessment of Koussevitzky?s work in 1946: "A great charm of Koussevitzky's style of conducting consists in his free treatment of tempo changes? Especially in Beethoven?s dramatic and pathetic symphonies, in the psychologically complex music of Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Sibelius, and Shostakovich, the flow, convincing coherence, and logical structure depend largely on the conductor?s capacity to divine meanings that are written out in the score only approximately? [Koussevitzky?s interpretations of Brahms combine] depth and breadth of conception with nobility and enchanting beauty of sound effect. The socalled rugged Brahms loses nothing of his manly vigor, his densely knit Read more formal structure, his seriousness and greatness, but gains much by Koussevitzky?s predilection for the lyric beauty and emotional warmth of the Brahms melody." In the performances included here Koussevitzky modulates his tempos with the uncanny skill and poise of a Furtwängler. Yet?no matter how flexible his tempos become?he invariably sustains the tension and advances the symphonic argument. Koussevitzky?s tempos are often quite brisk (the Third, for example, proceeds at a much faster clip than his commercial RCA recording), yet nothing ever sounds rushed or breathless. Meanwhile Koussevitzky enhances the scores? melodic contours through his subtle employment of string portamento. Koussevitzky again and again uncovers beautiful effects that others have simply overlooked, and in his hands every bar sings. The orchestra?s pinpoint precision and razor sharp attacks enhance the drama of Koussevitzky?s readings, yet there?s nothing mechanical about their playing, which comes across as magnificently warm, flexible, and expressive despite the primitive recorded sound. Read less

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