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Brahms: Symphonies No. 4 In E Minor, Op. 98 & No. 2 In D Major, Op. 73 CD


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Brahms: Symphonies No. 4 In E Minor, Op. 98 & No. 2 In D Major, Op. 73 + Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 In D Minor, Op. 125
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Product details

  • Orchestra: Boston Symphony Orchestra
  • Audio CD (6 Dec 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Sony Classical
  • ASIN: B003VKW18U
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 295,214 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. "Symphony No. 4 in E Minor, Op. 98"
2. "Symphony No.2 in D Major, Op. 73"
3. Allegro non troppo
4. Andante moderato
5. Allegro giocoso
6. Allegro energico e passionato
7. Allegro non troppo
8. Adagio non troppo
9. Allegretto grazioso
10. Allegro con spirito

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
These are great interpretations of much recorded works, and they do belong up there in the top ranking. Munch is a very inspired conductor, more famous for his work with french music, although his background was as german as it was french.

The fourth symphony might not have quite the vigour of the legendary Kleiber performance or Kurt Sanderlings account, but it is still a very fine one. The second symphony, on the other hand, is one of the really great ones. Put it on your shelf next to the ones of Walter, Abbado or Sanderling!

My only reservation is about the recording quality. Although remastered using the latest DSD technology it tends to be slightly over reverbant in lower registers, a problem I have noticed with other Munch/BSO/RCA recordings but not from Chicago or New York sources. It might be a problem caused by the recording venue. But what is the point quarreling about such minor details when you get to take pleasure from one of history's most exciting marstros leading one of the greatest orchestras of its day. Go get it!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 7 reviews
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Historical musical document of peerless transcendence. 31 Jan 2011
By Hiram Gomez Pardo - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Thanks to this new sound technology "Direct Steam Digital" we can enjoy about this priceless musical document.

Brahms' Fourth is simply perfect as well in conception and approach as concise articulation and impeccable phrasing. Munch, Master of Masters seemed to be into a febrile enraptured state at the moment to record this unerring version. Such vibrant conviction, epic musculature and glorious inspiration allowed him to achieve an enviable place in the history of the four Best Fourths ever recorded.

But the Second Symphony is at the same level too: the untamed vitality and volcanic flair are unerring Dionysian factors which are essential at the moment to intend to express the joy de vivre and the inspired musicality of this German master.

I would like to remark the supreme importance of this immortal recording. On one hand, you will be able to boast you have one the most elevated versions of both Brahms Opus ; on the other one you will be able to enjoy, appreciate and wholly understand the reason why this historical Orchestra was labeled as the Aristocrat of the American Orchestras, in that unrepeated decade of the Fifties in which the New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Minneapolis and Pittsburgh shone each one by its own.

A must-have and a must-buy.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Magnificent performances, superb sound. 1 Sep 2011
By RENS - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I have heard these performances before and after remastering as well as on the original LPs. The earlier CD release is now part of a boxed set of Munch conducting early romantic compositions. Decent sound, but a rather flat sound-stage without a true sense of the acoustics of Symphony Hall in Boston.This Living Stereo super audio release brought me into Symphony Hall (or transformed my various listening rooms into Symphony Hall). The sound has depth and clarity. However, I have found that some systems do not reproduce this remastering as well as others. Clearly two reviewers have had a great disappointment with this disc and related releases. One of my sound systems couldn't handle the wide range of reproduction, producing a buzz or harshness in the upper regions. My others, even including the sound system in my automobile, have no difficulty revealing the marvels of these performances in this edition. I have observed similar differences in other Living Stereo Super Audio releases, so a lot must depend upon one's playback equipment.

Munch's performances of the Brahms symphonies (missing #3) are all of the first rank and I recommend them to lovers of Brahms or the Boston Symphony. The same I find is true of Munch's Beethoven series, which unfortunately lacks symphonies ## 2 and 4 as far as I can find, but does include overtures and The Creatures of Prometheus. After listening for so many years to Munch's practically legendary (and properly so) recordings of French and Russian music, I only lately discovered his affinity for Beethoven and Brahms as well as Schumann and Mendelssohn. Late is better than never, by far! I wish RCA/BMG/SONY or whoever owns the rights would issue an all Beethoven and an all Brahms set of Munch/Boston Symphony recordings, remastered to reveal the glorious acoustics of Symphony Hall - and done well enough to play back on all sorts of equipment so as not to disappoint any listener!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The Fourth is an agreeable change of pace, but the Second is ramshackle 5 Aug 2013
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This CD is an example of performance style almost completely untouched by the Brahms of Tsocanini, Furtwangler, Karajan, or any other conductor I can think of. Munch shrugs off tradition and counter-tradition at the same time. This gives his Brahms Forth the air of off-the-cuff improvisation, as he feels his way from passage to passage. For some, it will be a refreshing experience; not a moment is ponderous or dull. Now that orchestral perfection has become the norm, Munch's carelessness over balances and sloppy ensemble sticks out; his fans will find such casualness endearing, but in any case it's part of the package. (the first trumpet in the first movement pops out like a bright coin found at the beach.) this is very different from Szell's handling of the Cleveland Orch. in choirs of sound, with blended winds, brass, and strings forming their own sonority.

I can't speak of how the SACD or DSD remastering compares with the two-channel sound I listened to, but I can't quibble, either, with disgruntled reviewers who say that the sonics aren't up to the high standards of Living Stereo. The perspective is very close on the woodwinds at the outset of the second movement, bringing into high relief their catch-as-catch-can ensemble. (Somewhere during this era a disapproving Karajan balled the BSO the worst of America's great orchestras - that makes sense coming from a supreme technician.) But to love Munch's music-making is to love his carefree, exuberant style. You might find yourself being carried away by this Brahms Fourth, which has more smiles in it than any rival I've ever heard. The brass chords that open the finale sound like taxi horns, and you may miss the depth expressed by Furtwangler, the visceral propulsiveness of Toscanini, and Karajan's sheer control. Even so, there's freshness here that none of those great Brahmsians have.

In Symphony no. 2, the pace of the first movement is a true Allegro, and if Munch chooses to minimize the "non troppo" - not too fast - that is part of the marking, at least he avoids the weightiness that has often crept into this movement. This score is pastoral and has received far more light-handed readings than the fourth, so Munch's approach isn't as unusual as in that symphony - which means, correspondingly, that the BSO's sloppiness stands out more. For an orchestra famed for its elegant string sound, they're a bit scratchy here, with some thin, whiny woodwinds to boot. the second movement is an Andante rather than an Adagio, but it's in keeping with Munch's overall briskness. The Scherzo is very successful in keeping up a cheerful, springy mood. the finale is a "spirited Allegro" as Brahms indicates, with no hint of hidden depths. In all, the reading is too ramschakle for me, but the fourth made me sit up, listen, and enjoy myself.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Historic recording - not 'historical' sound 8 Oct 2012
By Robert Lombard - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Charles Munch's Boston Symphony Orchestra was a powerful instrument, and this recording contains Brahms' symphonies about as highly charged as they get. I had listened to the Mahler arrangement of Beethoven's 9th symphony only a couple days previously, and was awed by the power and enthusiasm of the finale. Munch and his orchestra bring the finale of the Brahms 4th damn near to that level. In fact, I get an impression of similitude throughout the works; not in the music per se, but in the effects they produce in my mind. How much of that is related to what I have read about Brahms' attitude toward Beethoven I dunno.

This is the redbook CD remastering of the recordings, using the DSD (Direct Stream Digital) process. The sound is fine by me, though some of the reviews here knock it. The performances are both from the '50s; who woulda thunk it?

I see that I managed not to mention the recording of the 2nd. Do not be alarmed, it is a fine performance, only a minor let-down after hearing the 4th. Seems like Sony would have done better to put the 2nd first on the disc.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
The two stars are for the disappointing sound. 20 April 2013
By S. Baird - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Emblazoned proudly on the back cover of this and a number of other RCA CDs is the announcement that this recording was made using the DSD process. You may recognize that this stands for Direct Stream Digital, and it differentiates SACDs from regular CDs. SACD is a proprietary process that Sony introduced in 1999.

The performance is classic Munch/BSO, however, and worthwhile to those who don't need to have the best sounding recording of the Brahms symphonies. I would recommend, though, that Reiner's performance with the Royal Philharmonic offers better sound and performance.
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