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
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
Works on This Recording
Symphony no 1 in C minor, Op. 68 by Johannes Brahms
Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
Written: 1855-1876; Austria
Date of Recording: 03/2007
Venue: Live Heinz Hall, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Length: 44 Minutes 36 Secs.
Be the first to review this title