Variations on a Theme of Haydn, Op. 56a in B-flat Major
No. 17 in F-sharp minor
No. 18 in D Major
No. 19 in B minor
No. 20 in E minor
No. 21 in E minor
Average Customer Review: ( 2 Customer Reviews )
A Great CD and a Very Unexpected FindJuly 19, 2015By Richard F. Buckley (Jefferson Hills, PA)See All My Reviews"I purchased this CD for the Brahms Symphony No. 1. It was missing from my collection for some inexplicable reason. I was never really impressed before by the work of George Szell, so I really didn't know what to expect. The CD was so attractively priced that I couldn't resist it. I felt that if I didn't care for the performance, I could always replace it with a more expensive disc by a better conductor. How wrong I was! Szell and the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra did an absolutely superb job! I doubt that any group of musicians could do a better job. They were also blessed by a fine recording. The performance is never too loud, nor is it ever too quiet. A masterful performance matched by an outstanding technical recording. From Brahms' point of view, writing this masterpiece was perhaps the most challenging task of his fantastic career. It took him well over 20 years from the time he finished the first movement until the time he finished it in 1876. He reportedly was haunted by the legacy of Beethoven, whom he greatly admired, and whose work he felt he could never equal. In fact, I suspect that Beethoven himself would have loved this work. The Haydn Variations on a Theme are also brilliantly performed by the CSO under the direction of Szell. Once again I was taken by surprise by the expertise of the orchestra and the conductor.. I will never again underestimate George Szell as a skilled conductor. Also, as with the symphony, I was impressed by the quality of the recording. I should have expected as much, because I have never been disappointed by Sony in this series. The Hungarian Dances presented here also surprised me to some extent. I had never been particularly impressed by the work of Eugene Orrmandy. His work here along with the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra is clearly a cut above what I have come to expect from this group and this conductor. All in all, I believe that you will be as pleased with this disc as I am. It is a greatly unexpected bargain as are all of the Sony CDs in this series."Report Abuse
Classical Brahms/Classic SzellJune 28, 2015By owen r. (lakewood, CA)See All My Reviews"This is classic Szell: discipline, precision, an acuity towards musical structure and an abscence of interpretive influence. The porridge is not too hot, not too cold; not as emotional as Bernstein nor as steely as Klemperer. Of Brahms 4 symphonies his First is at the top of my list. He was so in awe of Beethoven that it took him 23 years to complete this first symphony. The influence of Beethoven can be discerned in this work. The audio is not bad but horns and tympani seem somewhat suppressed and, of course typical of 60's Columbia, it is closely mic'd. This recorded performance has for a half of a century been considered a standard. Well worth its price of seven bucks."Report Abuse
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