Notes and Editorial Reviews
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The Cleveland Orchestra is the “aristocrat among American orchestras” (The Telegraph) and its sovereign, Franz Welser-Möst, rules his subjects with a velvet glove. Indeed, velvet and silk keep showing up in descriptions of the Clevelanders’ sound under its principal conductor. It is Welser-Möst’s nimble alternation between smoothness and a sound that’s as “sharp-edged as a skyscraper” (The Telegraph after the Brahms’ First at the orchestra’s London Proms concert). That keeps the ensemble and the
audience figuratively on its toes. Brahms’ Fourth and last Symphony could be said to glow with autumnal colors. Endowed with a strong undercurrent of subdued melancholy, it seems to pine for an irretrievable past. Franz Welser-Möst offers a “lean, propulsive performance” (The Plain Dealer) of this work with his highly concentrated Cleveland Orchestra. The swift pace of the symphony in Welser-Möst’s hands reflects the conductor’s quest for a distinctive, far-from-the-mainstream interpretation. Written nearly contemporaneously in the late 1870s, Johannes Brahms’ rousing Academic Festival Overture and Violin Concerto op. 77 bear witness to a composer at the height of his abilities, a mature master of large-scale masterpieces. The Violin Concerto demands extreme technical proficiency. As if to exemplify this, violinist Julia Fischer gears herself from the very start of this emotionally searing work to maintaining a restrained yet passionate tone.
Works on This Recording
Symphony no 4 in E minor, Op. 98 by Johannes Brahms
Written: 1884-1885; Austria
Concerto for Violin in D major, Op. 77 by Johannes Brahms
Julia Fischer (Violin)
Written: 1878; Austria
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