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Brahms - Symphony No. 2 [CD]

John Eliot Gardiner, The Monteverdi Choir Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: £13.83 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Orchestra: The Monteverdi Choir, Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique
  • Conductor: John Eliot Gardiner
  • Composer: Brahms
  • Audio CD (2 Feb 2009)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Soli Deo Gloria
  • ASIN: B001O8C5FU
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 153,325 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Alto Rhapsody, Op. 53
2. Gesang Der Geister Über Den Wassern, D714
3. Gruppe Aus Dem Tartarus, D583
4. An Schwager Kronos, D369
5. Allegro Non Troppo
6. Adagio Non Troppo - L'istesso Tempo, Ma Grazioso
7. Allegretto Grazioso - Presto Ma Non Assai - Tempo I
8. Allegro Con Spirito

Product Description

Product Description

Following on from the phenomenal worldwide success of the first release in the Brahms series, SDG continues the series with Brahms' Symphony 2 which sees John Eliot Gardiner and his Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique explore the music of Johannes Brahms and of those composers that influenced him. Brahms dark, deeply personal and moving Alto Rhapsody for alto solo, male chorus and orchestra is included here alongside three choral works by Franz Schubert. In Schubert's Gesang der Geister uber den Wassern comparisons between the two composers could not be more clear. Brahms draws on the effective example of his beloved Schubert firstly by composing the rhapsody for male chorus and secondly, basing the work upon a poem by Goethe. The lyrical beauty of Brahms' Second symphony makes it perhaps the most popular of the four works he composed in this form. The contrast between this symphony and the heroic First is complete, and it is strikingly analogous to the differences between Beethoven's Fifth and Sixth symphonies.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A revelation. . . 20 Jun 2012
Format:Audio CD
I'm surprised to see that no one in the UK has so far commented on this disc, so I will. I first came across it by a happy accident when I was fiddling with internet radio on my Squeezebox Touch, and from a Ukrainian station came a very startling sound. I knew what it was, but had never heard it anything like that, and exclaimed "Who on earth is THAT?". I had to wait till the end to find out, worrying all the time that I wouldn't understand the announcement, but the experience was a revelation in both senses. I can only echo what others have said about this and the other three symphonies: one gets slightly tired of the arguments about period practice, and when the results are as startling as this, they seem quite irrelevant. Perhaps because Brahms himself was large and rotund, redolent of cigars and strong coffee, we expect and accept peformances of his symphonies that are similarly portly and dense. But when all the excess is stripped off, as Jeggy does with this symphony, it's revealed in all its youthful vigour and beauty, and you can hear absolutely everything, a tribute not only to the ORR but to the recording engineers. It's no exaggeration to say that if I was forced to choose between this recording and the splendid recent one by the Berlin Phil under Rattle, I would take this one. But I'm greedy, and will have both, thanks.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.7 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very good record of Brahms 15 April 2009
By Osvaldo Colarusso - Published on
Format:Audio CD
After a very good CD with the first Symphony of Brahms , with others works with chorus and orchestra ( one of Mendelssohn) I was really surprised with a disc that is still better.I like very much the Integral of Schumann that Gardiner recorded for Deutsche Grammophon, but this Brahms project , specially this second CD is really outstanding. The intelligence of the program is amazing : the CD begins with works for male chorus and Orchestra. For the first time I heard these Brahms arrangements of Lieder by Schubert. Special. Natalie Stutzmann sings very well,and the chorus sounds fantastic. The rare "Song of the spirits over the waters" is , maybe, the high point of this CD. Schubert was here really genial, with one original instrumentation ( only slow strings in the orchestra).So we have Brahms ( Rhapsody) , Schubert, Schubert via Brahms and finally the Second Symphony of Brahms.
The Symphony, principal work of the CD , has here one fantastic reading. Brahms isn't a Mahler of second hand. Brahms is a Brahms of first rate.Try to make this work a Symphony contemporary of Sibelius is a failure. Gardiner , without the mannerisms of Harnoncourt and Norrington ,chose very appropriate "andamentos", and the orchestra sounds gloriously. Only the Symphonies of Brahms recorded by Kertesz are rival of this version.The transparency prevails all the time. And the expression never lacks in these performances. One last (good) thing: the sound of this record is fantastic.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating ... but be warned. 25 May 2010
By billinrio - Published on
Format:Audio CD
There are, of course, scores of available recordings of this congenial symphony. You will have your favorites, as I do. But the truth is that most sound pretty much the same. But this one is truly different. Gardiner and his orchestra here manage to remove the warmth and fuzziness from Brahms, and the first hearing of this recording, for those of us who love this symphony, can be a shock. Instead of a warm bath, be prepared for a leap into a some chilly waters. It sounds a bit like a chamber orchestra version, and its intriguing to ponder the possibility that this is indeed how the composer "meant" this music to be heard. The playing here is immaculate, and the recording pristine. It is not often that one can listen to a familiar work and be obliged to re-evaluate it, as if hearing it as for the first time. Highly recommended.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gardiner nails it!! 29 Aug 2012
By e. verrillo - Published on
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
The first time I heard this recording I was in a parking lot. I had just turned the key in the ignition when all of a sudden this tremendous tidal wave of sound came pouring out of the radio. "What the %$!! is THAT??" I yelled. (Fortunately, the windows were up.) There was no question of driving anywhere. I literally couldn't move until the final chords had crashed over me. Well, "THAT" turned out to be John Eliot Gardiner conducting the last movement of the Brahms second.

I need to confess that I am not normally a fan of Brahms' second symphony. The first symphony with its beautiful interweaving themes and rich, deep sonorities is the one that has always claimed my heart. And no wonder - it took Brahms 15 years to write his first symphony. Once Brahms had gotten over his terror of writing the long form, the second symphony only took him a few months to churn out. For that reason, and others, Number 2 always seemed like the symphony that had to try harder, sort of like no-fat ice cream or "light" beer.

Since I couldn't trust what I'd heard at the Stop and Shop (after all, it could have been sun spots), I felt compelled to purchase the CD. When it arrived, I popped it into the machine, clicked ahead to the last movement, and sat down, prepared for disappointment. It only took one sforzando to have me leaping to my feet, wildly "air conducting" (the Classical equivalent of an "air guitar"). Oh, the passion of it! The fire! The incredible vitality!! It was like riding on a runaway train. When it was over, I listened to it again. I was hooked.

This is what Gardiner has done: he has restored the life to Brahms' light little pastoral symphony. The tradition of conducting this symphony with either a ten-ton baton (I'm not naming names here, but "Bern" and "Stein" figure prominently), or a metronome tick-tick-ticking in the background (no names! Bruno isn't really a name) has finally been laid to rest. By sticking to the original instrumentation, Gardiner has allowed the themes to come through with a clarity that up until now has been obscured by excessive bass. The horn section, which has been an embarrassment in several other recordings (again, no names, but Pittsburgh should really think about upgrading its brass section), was crisp, and clean. All the upper register instruments were favored in this recording, which allowed Brahms' playfulness and humor to come shining through. And never have I heard such finely crafted phrasing.

Last, but not least, this recording has what so many (just put any name here) have lacked - silence. Music cannot exist without silence, and Gardiner makes excellent use of dramatic breaks. Just listen to that first knock-your-socks-off sforzando of the last movement, the incredible rush of forward momentum created by taking rests seriously, and those final explosions of sheer punctuated fury and you will understand what I mean - or, better put, what Brahms meant.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favorite Brahms 28 Aug 2013
By loose filter - Published on
Format:Audio CD
Gardiner's readings are not for everyone, but I just love his Brahms symphony cycle more than any I've ever heard, live or recorded. The outstanding ORR plays with extraordinary fire and polish as usual, and make this repertoire sound so fresh and vital.

What is specifically excellent about Gardiner's work here, for me, are two things: his ability to always clearly highlight Brahms' development of material without pedantically overbalancing such elements in the overall texture, and his extremely deft and organic management of transitions. Those two things make the music make real sense while maintaining a stellar sense of pacing and affect.

Definitely a must-own for any fan of Brahms' symphonies.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding! 2 Jan 2013
By eTCla - Published on
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
No surprise here. Sir John Eliot Gardiner is at his best in this series! Bonus treat with the choral selections from the Monteverdi Choir.
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