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Brahms: the Four Symphonies [Box set]

J. Brahms Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: 21.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Audio CD (26 April 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 4
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: Newton Classics
  • ASIN: B004RRW4J2
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 121,020 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Symphony No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 68
2. Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op. 73
3. Symphony No. 3 in F Major, Op. 90
4. Symphony No. 4 in E Minor, Op. 98
5. Tragic Overture, Op. 81
6. Variations On a Theme By Haydn, 'St. Antoni Chorale', Op. 56a

Product Description

I will ship by EMS or SAL items in stock in Japan. It is approximately 7-14days on delivery date. You wholeheartedly support customers as satisfactory. Thank you for you seeing it.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
By D. S. CROWE TOP 500 REVIEWER
Verified Purchase
We should be grateful that the largesse of recording companies in the 1980's and early 90's, boom years as far as classical recording was concerned ,allowed us to hear performances by great musicians that were not obviously commercial.
Of course, the Brahms Symphonies are a very popular selection, no orchestra sounds better in these works than the Vienna Philharmonic and Giulini was a towering figure in an era where great conductors still abounded, so at face value this DG set of the symphonies should have been set to be an outright winner-and yet they lasted a very short time in the catalogue, and while the Second appeared briefly on a really cheap label and the First has been intermittently available, they have languished as a set unheard until this very welcome reissue. The recordings are excellent, with the warmth and richness of this unique orchestra fully captured, reminiscent of the sound quality of Giulini's Bruckner 8th and 9th on DG, so this begs the question, "what's wrong with them?" Whether there is anything wrong I leave to you to decide-but the fact is they are SLOW-and I mean SLOW!
Each symphony unfolds on a grand scale, at tempi which make Celibidache sound sprightly by comparison and Karajan ridiculously fast!
Can the music take this? Just about is the answer, for Giulini keeps the pulse throbbing and structure intact, and his own personality holds them together. Each note is played through in a heightened manner, allowing each individual musician in the orchestra the maximum scope for expression, and nowhere else will you hear these played with such intense concentration and musicianship.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An opportunity not to be missed 18 Oct 2012
Carlo Maria Giulini was a conductor that may well not have received the recognition his work deserved. While he had a wonderfully productive relationship with the Vienna Philharmonic his time with the LA Philharmonic garnered mixed reviews which tend to overshadow his brilliance at the helm of the Vienna and London Symphony.

This was a set that has been difficult to obtain (was on DG originally, I think) and when I saw this re-issue I bought it unheard. Undoubtedly one of my better decisions! I would have paid double the price.

Without going over ground already covered, let me say that the two reviews on the USA amazon site capture the essence of this magnificent set.

What is nice is that there is one symphony per disc and the ripping to mp3 or flac is perfect. I listen to a lot of what I buy on my phone or in the car so this is a big plus for me.

For comparative purposes, I own the following sets:
Karajan/BPO
Bernstein/VPO
Klemperer/Philharmonia
Furtwangler /VPO and BPO
Celibidache/Munich
Wand/NDR

They all have their merits and I listen to them all (the Wand less as I now find it a bit bland...)

This cycle is perhaps most like Celibidache's - perhaps a whisker less measured, nothing rushed and all the detail emerges beautifully.

At the price this set is hard to beat.

If you have enjoyed Giulini's Brucker with the VPO and BPO (amongst my favourites) and his Beethoven (LSO) you are unlikely to be disappointed.

Recommended without reservation!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Intensely beautiful 17 July 2014
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Who needs one more set of Brahms symphonies? Well here we have the answer.
Truly exceptional, these involving and intensely beautiful recordings give immense rewards. Listening now to the third movement of no 3, I know there's no other version that can touch me like this one. Very slow indeed, but such comparisons of minutes and seconds become irrelevant to such an accomplishment. Autumnal is a word that comes to mind. You will want other versions too, but this is indispensable. The Vienna strings sing like angels.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sun-dappled Brahms in luminous interpretations 26 April 2012
By RJAdams - Published on Amazon.com
In comparing four accounts of the first symphony by Giulini/Vienna, von Karajan/Berlin, Klemperer/Philharmonia, and von Dohnanyi/Cleveland, the Giulini is the kindest to Brahms. All accounts of this epic are beautiful, serious, and weighty, but only Giulini goes outdoors and puts a Brahms often rendered fustily in the sunshine. And he does it without resorting to brisk tempos or the energizing ploys of our current crop of conductors (think Harnoncourt, Norrington, Gardiner, Maazel). Nor does he succumb to the enervating but faux monumentality of Furtwangler wannabees (Barenboim, Haitink, Eschenbach). Giulini achieves his energy with expansion not contraction, and with strong rhythmic statement, not a faster waving of his arms. His beautifully spun orchestral textures are simply not heard anywhere these days and are abetted by the kind of sonics I prefer, delivering a solid, powerful bass without boominess, honey-crisp not blousy brass, round and impassioned strings, and richly grained not wiry woodwinds. While von Karajan(1964) strives for monumentality, Klemperer(1958) shoulders and overcomes the agony of existence, and Dohnanyi(1987) shines a laser into the score (undone by a boomy acoustic), Giulini(1991) brims with nobility and joy.

Giulini's Brahms speaks to us from the heart, not from Olympus. Unlike certain Italians a generation younger (Abbado, Muti), who sometimes seem to have gained nordic power and discipline at the expense of Italianate warmth, Giulini is unceasingly expressive. Giulini's luminosity combines Furtwangler's nobility of utterance, Walter's fresh humanity, and Stokowski's orchestral and tonal magic, qualities present throughout this set. Giulini's approach is most revelatory with symphonies 1 and 3. Symphony 4 may strike some as lacking angst but I have never heard its many treasures so fully revealed. However, symphony 2's leisurely finale will not be to everyone's liking.

Thoughts on the tempos: Giulini's unrushed tempos are controversial. One would imagine that slower tempos would add to Brahms' murkiness, but there is never a trace of sloppiness and in these tight performances they actually open up the scores and reveal much more color and warmth than is customarily experienced in Brahms. Those who might judge the leisurely finale of symphony no 2 too slow are probably right -- it misses the festive joyousness Brahms certainly intends. The finale of symphony 4, while ravishing in its textures, also lacks the somber, cumulative, kinetic punch Giulini achieved in his 1970 Chicago Symphony recording. But overall I believe that Giulini has liberated Brahms from a prevailing critical image of a composer in the dumps, or at best "autumnal". Giulini's late Brahms seems more about ripe orchestral detail and a celebration of life and beauty than grand philosophical statement.

Newton has done all of us a service by reissuing this traversal of the Brahms canon in splendid sound at a bargain price. Guilini's/Vienna's Brahms as well as Newton's Markevitch set of Tchaikovsky symphonies 1-6 offer transcendent music-making of integrity and avoid hollow histrionics. They are for the ages and belong in every home and library. In our day of efficient rehearsals and conductor-personalities, encountering performances such as these either in concert or in recordings has become uncommon.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thank You Great One! 7 May 2013
By Music Lover - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
This Brahms is not for the faint of heart. And there is, in my opinion, little better on planet Earth. It is Giulini's farewell set done over time with the Vienna Philharmonic. Arguably the best orchestra in the world. Arguably the best Brahms orchestra in the world. Having played well for Bohm, then von Karajan, and here Carlo Maria Giulini. In a city that gave him the Key. This set is very special. They are very mature performances and a lover's vision of the world's greatest and most technical composer (think of all the layers in a Brahms symphony) of melancholia. Problem is, one has to have generally a little age and experience to appreciate Brahm's melancholy. I did. Now he is my very favorite composer. Since you are reading this, I assume you love his music too.

Giulini continued to conduct Brahms until he was about 90, doing Brahms' 1st with a Spanish Youth Orchestra before his death. He died at 93, if I remember the biography, Serving Genius. He did an early 60's set with the Philharmonia that I wish EMI would make available today. I have the truly outstanding 2nd and 3rd of that set, but wish to have the 1st and 4th. (If you know where I can get them, let me know.) He also recorded excellent performances of the 1st and 2nd with the LAPO and had numerous singles, e. g. #1 with Bavarian Radio Symphony (Best performance of it in the world, to me), #4 with the CSO (another best performance) and the LPO (equally good). His biography says he conducted Brahms 1st 85 times. Did he love this music?

Carlo Maria Giulini was also one of the great conductors of the 20th Century. Not the only one, but certainly one of them, belonging alongside the Toscaninis, the Beechams, the von Karajans, etc. In addition to his Brahms, get his Verdi. He grew up with the two. He conducted Brahms for more than fifty years. I can list recording after recording on which he has few peers. No one took the pulse of Bruckner (try his 2, 7, 8, or 9) or Brahms or Verdi better than CMG. But let's talk about this set of Brahms.

CMG knew that speed does not make musical velocity. He also did not try to help composers by change of marked tempo. He thought the music should be played the way the composer wrote, directed, and generally intended. Let the composer rise or fall on his own. No need to rush this or that beyond directions. He also knew how to see the music come together as a whole before he started. This set of separately recorded Brahms symphonies (Overtures/ Variations) illustrates that well. Start to finish, see the whole thing.

A lot of conductors want to rev up Brahms. Not Giulini. Not even the younger Giulini, who had a poetic grip on the whole thing even in those years. He brought Brahms forward powerfully on his own speed and at his own direction. Powerful performances! His earlier performances were a little faster than these performances, except for # 3. These are generally slower than one may have previously experienced them, but as we listen to the layered unfolding of these masterpieces and the glorious playing by this great orchestra, his last recorded vision brings conviction that springs anew. More deeply. Invigoration follows as one finally hears all the parts of the orchestra singing a love song for one of their favorite composers. With a beloved's last baton .
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intensely beautiful 17 July 2014
By Arne Sande - Published on Amazon.com
Who needs one more set of Brahms symphonies? Well here we have the answer.
Truly exceptional, these involving and intensely beautiful recordings give immense rewards. Listening now to the third movement of no 3, I know there's no other version that can touch me like this one. Very slow indeed, but such comparisons of minutes and seconds become irrelevant to such an accomplishment. Autumnal is a word that comes to mind. You will want other versions too, but this is indispensable. The Vienna strings sing like angels.
5.0 out of 5 stars Giulini nailed it. 15 Aug 2013
By Mike Fain - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
I am no expert, but I have heard various live and recorded performances of the Brahms symphonies, and I think these are the best I have heard. Giulini uses a slightly slower tempo than I am used to, and I think it catches the beauty and majesty of these scores to perfection.
5.0 out of 5 stars Are these Maestro Giulini's DG versions on a new label? 16 July 2013
By RLB - Published on Amazon.com
Are these the same recordings Giulini/VPO recorded in the early 90's?. Released individually with Haydn Variation, Academic Festival Overture, Tragic Overture?
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