Sawallisch's reading...is ardent, uniquely imaginative in its faithful response to Brahms's markings, far-sighted and focused. One or two tentative woodwind entries and tiny moments of insecurity in the violins point to limited session time, but the LPO provide much more alert and characterful playing for Sawallisch than the Bavarians for Davis. The powerful intensity of the first movement's coda, with very incisive timpani in the grim closing bars, is relieved, virtually without a break by the Andante's beckoning horn call, carrying us off to remote, calmer regions. I mention this only because the elation and momentum of the scherzo's conclusion is, similarly, immediately halted by the finale's rock-like, darkly majestic opening chords ofRead more fate. It's a device that certainty made me more aware of the symphony's wonderful juxtaposition of opposing states. Those chords carry an immense tragic force in Sawallisch's hands and the clarity and firmness, at all dynamic levels, of Brahms's wind-band sound is one of the(Abbey, Road) recording's principal joys. In Kleiber's account of this finale, from the half way mark onwards, the whole orchestral fabric is ablaze in a manner perhaps more appropriate for Tristan tearing off his bandages to greet fate in the approaching arms of Isolde; Sawallisch is steadier, and, in the context of his more objective reading, no less exciting.
Solid PerformanceAugust 26, 2015By Kathy N. (Oakland, CA)See All My Reviews"Needing my Brahms fix recently and seeing this CD on sale -- I was presently surprised. As I was not that familiar with the conductor, Sawallisch, I didn't know what to expect. This has turned out to be one of my favorites -- a good solid performance of Brahms No. 4 -- with the added Brahms lieder to balance it out, makes for a great cd."Report Abuse
Brahms Fourth reduxJuly 21, 2015By owen ryan (lakewood, CA)See All My Reviews"Mr. Cheap (me) had to satisfy his curiosity when Arkiv offered this already inexpensive disc at less than half price. On the first couple listenings I had some reservations but the more I listened to this performance the less important those quibbles seemed. This was my first exposure to Sawallisch and I must say that he gives a good straight forward account of this master work. The intense first movememt flows into a gentle adagio which really sets up a bridge to the following Allegros. The Shicksalied was new to me and I thought it was a really nice follow-up to the Fourth. The audio on this disc is pretty good but benefits from turning the volume up. For the low sale price of this disc I think it is a real bargain and worth acquiring."Report Abuse