I first listened to this disc after finding that I liked Bernstein's Mozart, as well as some of his Beethoven, from this time period. I figured the next logical step was to try his Brahms. Overall, I was a bit disappointed.
I guess part of it is that I can deal with slower Beethoven, at least with the 3rd and 9th(to an extent). But I don't feel that this approach works as well for Brahms, for whatever reason.
There are some good points to this account - the first movement is pulled off fairly well, although a bit too emotive for Brahms' rather restrained compositional style. The second movement, as Hurwitz correctly states (for once!) is agonizingly slow, to the point of sheer tedium. Probably the highlight of the performance is a surprisingly boisterous Scherzo, but once this ends, we are back to a snail-pace in the Finale. All in all, not terrible, but not great either. I'm not a speed-freak in terms of tempo, but at a certain point you need to adhere at least remotely to the composer's markings. For example, if the Finale is marked "allegro energico e passionato - piu allegro", then it should be pretty quick. Here, though, we get allegretto, tops.
In spite of all this, there are some fine moments; the Scherzo as I previously mentioned, and much of the first movement. But another detriment to the recording is the horribly dry early digital sound, which, as another reviewer stated, really sucks the life out of the strings and makes the brass sound exceedingly harsh. Overall, you should buy it if you really love Lenny (I'm so-so on him), especially late Lenny. If you like slow Brahms (but not this slow), try Giulini's 1970 recording with the Chicago Symphony on EMI. It is slow, but more cohesive overall than this account.
But for some more authoritative recent 4th's, look to Abbado, Karajan, or Kleiber.