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Brahms: Symphony No 1 / Dausgaard, Swedish Chamber Orchestra

Brahms / Swedish Chamber Orch / Dausgaard
Release Date: 01/22/2013 
Label:  Bis   Catalog #: 1756  
Composer:  Johannes Brahms
Conductor:  Thomas Dausgaard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Swedish Chamber Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Multi 
Length: 1 Hours 5 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



BRAHMS Symphony No. 1. Liebeslieder Waltzes: Opp. 52/1-2, 4-6, 8-9, 11; Op. 65/9. Hungarian Dances: Nos. 1, 3, and 10 Thomas Dausgaard, cond; Swedish CO BIS 1756 (SACD: 64:34)


This is not the same Dausgaard Brahms First reviewed by Robert Markow in 36:2. That performance with a different orchestra, the Danish National Symphony, was on a Unitel Classica Blu-ray disc. Markow found Read more nothing about Dausgaard’s reading of the Brahms symphony to his liking. About this reading of the conductor’s Brahms First I find everything to my liking. For starters, I don’t know exactly how many members make up the Swedish Chamber Orchestra—from a not terribly focused photograph on the ensemble’s website, it looks to be between 45 and 50—but the impact it makes on this recording is certainly not that of some enfeebled one-to-a-part band. In fact, I’d defy anyone listening to this to claim that the orchestra sounds any smaller than a normal-sized modern philharmonic. Besides, as we know, Brahms’s symphonies were well received in performances by the 49-member Meiningen Court Orchestra in the composer’s lifetime, though he personally preferred beefed up string sections.


Second, Dausgaard breaks the pattern of ever slowing, enervating readings of Brahms’s orchestral works. Dausgaard’s tempos approach Weingartner’s in swiftness (see my review in 35:1), gathering much the same forward momentum and almost terrifying intensity of turbulence in the score’s first movement. Third, Dausagaard observes the first movement’s exposition repeat, which shamefully, some recently recorded versions by other conductors do not. Fourth, Dausgaard manages masterfully the tricky transition between the opening Un poco sostenuto and the Allegro . His quickened pace for the introduction—not too fast, but fast enough to lead naturally into the Allegro , throbs with the pounding heartbeat of the timpani and bristles with hair-raising dread at the mournful intoning of the oboe’s solo. Fifth, BIS’s SACD recording is a marvel in itself with creamy top and deep, resonant bass.


If Dausgaard’s selection of Liebeslieder Waltzes seems arbitrary or random, it’s not. He limits his choices specifically to the nine numbers which Brahms himself orchestrated. A note indicates that they are here edited for performance by Wilhelm Weismann. Likewise, Dausgaard rounds off his program with only the three of Brahms’s Hungarian Dances that the composer orchestrated himself. The lightweight Waltzes and Dances make for a pleasant sequence of encores, but I’d have preferred a more substantive makeweight, like one of the overtures or the “Haydn” Variations. My guess is that this is the beginning of a new Brahms symphony cycle, and that in future releases Dausgaard will give us the companion orchestral works. Meanwhile, the symphony is the main order of business on the present disc, and it’s very strongly recommended for one of the best Brahms Firsts out of several to come my way in recent months.


FANFARE: Jerry Dubins
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Works on This Recording

1. Symphony no 1 in C minor, Op. 68 by Johannes Brahms
Conductor:  Thomas Dausgaard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Swedish Chamber Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1855-1876; Austria 
2. Hungarian Dances (21) for Orchestra, WoO 1: no 3 in F major by Johannes Brahms
Conductor:  Thomas Dausgaard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Swedish Chamber Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868; Austria 
3. Hungarian Dances (21) for Orchestra, WoO 1: no 10 in F major by Johannes Brahms
Conductor:  Thomas Dausgaard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Swedish Chamber Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868; Austria 
4. Hungarian Dances (21) for Orchestra, WoO 1: no 1 in G minor by Johannes Brahms
Conductor:  Thomas Dausgaard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Swedish Chamber Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868; Austria 
5. Neue Liebeslieder Waltzes, Op. 65: no 9, Nagen am Herzen by Johannes Brahms
Conductor:  Thomas Dausgaard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Swedish Chamber Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1874; Austria 
6. Liebeslieder Waltzes (18), Op. 52: no 9, Am Donaustrande by Johannes Brahms
Conductor:  Thomas Dausgaard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Swedish Chamber Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868-1869; Austria 
7. Liebeslieder Waltzes (18), Op. 52: no 8, Wenn so lind by Johannes Brahms
Conductor:  Thomas Dausgaard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Swedish Chamber Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868-1869; Austria 
8. Liebeslieder Waltzes (18), Op. 52: no 6, Ein kleiner, hübscher Vogel by Johannes Brahms
Conductor:  Thomas Dausgaard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Swedish Chamber Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868-1869; Austria 
9. Liebeslieder Waltzes (18), Op. 52: no 5, Die grüne Hopfenranke by Johannes Brahms
Conductor:  Thomas Dausgaard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Swedish Chamber Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868-1869; Austria 
10. Liebeslieder Waltzes (18), Op. 52: no 4, Wie des Abends schöne Röte by Johannes Brahms
Conductor:  Thomas Dausgaard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Swedish Chamber Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868-1869; Austria 
11. Liebeslieder Waltzes (18), Op. 52: no 2, Am Gesteine rauscht die Flut by Johannes Brahms
Conductor:  Thomas Dausgaard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Swedish Chamber Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868-1869; Austria 
12. Liebeslieder Waltzes (18), Op. 52: no 11, Nein, es ist nicht by Johannes Brahms
Conductor:  Thomas Dausgaard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Swedish Chamber Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868-1869; Austria 
13. Liebeslieder Waltzes (18), Op. 52: no 1, Rede Mädchen, allzu liebes by Johannes Brahms
Conductor:  Thomas Dausgaard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Swedish Chamber Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868-1869; Austria 

Sound Samples

Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 68: I. Un poco sostenuto - Allegro
Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 68: II. Andante sostenuto
Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 68: III. Un poco allegretto e grazioso
Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 68: IV. Adagio - Piu andante - Allegro non troppo ma con brio
18 Liebeslieder Waltzes, Op. 52 (version for orchestra) (arr. W. Weismann): No. 1. Rede, Madchen
18 Liebeslieder Waltzes, Op. 52 (version for orchestra) (arr. W. Weismann): No. 2. Am Gesteine rauscht die Flut
18 Liebeslieder Waltzes, Op. 52 (version for orchestra) (arr. W. Weismann): No. 4. Wie des Abends schone Rote
18 Liebeslieder Waltzes, Op. 52 (version for orchestra) (arr. W. Weismann): No. 6. Ein kleiner, hubscher Vogel
18 Liebeslieder Waltzes, Op. 52 (version for orchestra) (arr. W. Weismann): No. 5. Die grune Hopfenranke
15 Neue Liebeslieder Waltzes, Op. 65 (version for orchestra) (arr. W. Weismann): 15 Neue Liebeslieder Waltzes, Op. 65: No. 9. Nagen am Herzen (version for orchestra) (arr. W. Weismann)
18 Liebeslieder Waltzes, Op. 52 (version for orchestra) (arr. W. Weismann): No. 11. Nein, es ist nicht auszukommen
18 Liebeslieder Waltzes, Op. 52 (version for orchestra) (arr. W. Weismann): No. 8. Wenn so lind dein Auge
18 Liebeslieder Waltzes, Op. 52 (version for orchestra) (arr. W. Weismann): No. 9. Am Donaustrande
21 Hungarian Dances, WoO 1 (version for orchestra): Hungarian Dance No. 1 in G minor (orch. J. Brahms)
21 Hungarian Dances, WoO 1 (version for orchestra): Hungarian Dance No. 3 in F major (orch. J. Brahms)
21 Hungarian Dances, WoO 1 (version for orchestra): Hungarian Dance No. 10 in E major (orch. J. Brahms)

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