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Brahms: Symphony No 4; Strauss / De Sabata, Berlin - 1939


Release Date: 05/13/2010 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 423715   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Johannes BrahmsRichard Strauss
Conductor:  Victor De Sabata
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Mono 
Length: 1 Hours 3 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

I never knew either of these 1939 performances in their original 78rpm format. The then current versions of the Brahms were Barn and the Sdchsiches Staatskapelle, Bruno Walter and the BBC Symphony Orchestra (both HMV) and the Weingartner LPO set on Columbia issued in the same month as these performances were recorded, namely April 1939. All are more strictly classical in approach than Victor de Sabata, who gives a high-voltage reading, drawing playing of rich sonority and warmth from the pre-war Berlin Philharmonic. As I noted in August 1977 when reviewing the earlier LP transfer, they "play for all the world as if their very lives depended on satisfying their visiting Italian maestro", ' though the performance is in no sense Read more overdriven and eccentricities are relatively few. The second group of the slow movement is very affecting, though de Sabata introduces a sudden quickening of pace at letter A (1'44") and the Scherzo is just a shade too fast and loses something of the giocoso quality of the marking. All the same, this is an exciting performance and de Sabata holds one in his grip throughout.

The 1939 recording was itself natural and well balanced, and now that the sound has been digitally remastered by Karl Scheibe there is a considerable gain in definition over the earlier LP. There is greater clarity and a cleaner treble in the opening pages, which by comparison sound clouded on the LP. I thought the performance "electrifying" first time round, and can report that Tod und Verkliirung, also recorded in 1939 but not issued until ten years later (albeit not in this country), is no less impressive, and full of beauties. Both are thrilling performances that deserve wide currency.

-- Gramophone [2/1989]
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Works on This Recording

1. Symphony no 4 in E minor, Op. 98 by Johannes Brahms
Conductor:  Victor De Sabata
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1884-1885; Austria 
Date of Recording: 1939 
2. Tod und Verklärung, Op. 24 by Richard Strauss
Conductor:  Victor De Sabata
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1888-1889; Germany 
Date of Recording: 1939 

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