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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chocolatey, Yet Silken, Brahms
The Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks (Symphony Orchestra of Bavarian Radio) is a great orchestra with a long and golden history. Mariss Jansons is a great Brahms conductor; indeed he has recorded one or the other of these symphonies with at least two other orchestras: the Royal Concertgebouw Beethoven: Symphony No. 2; Brahms: Symphony No. 2 [Hybrid SACD] and...
Published on 20 Mar 2011 by J Scott Morrison

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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars It's SACD format requires a specially engineered, "compatible" CD player.
Two performances on FM made me eager to order this. When it arrived, I found a notice on the CD case (in tiny print) that it must be played on a "dedicated" SACD player. They mean it. It's 100% unplayable on my ordinary equipment that's previously played every SACD submitted to it. This disc is just dead in the water on ordinary hi fi equipment. If you're equally...
Published 21 months ago by Ronald Haak


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chocolatey, Yet Silken, Brahms, 20 Mar 2011
By 
J Scott Morrison (Middlebury VT, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Brahms: Symphonies 2 & 3 (Audio CD)
The Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks (Symphony Orchestra of Bavarian Radio) is a great orchestra with a long and golden history. Mariss Jansons is a great Brahms conductor; indeed he has recorded one or the other of these symphonies with at least two other orchestras: the Royal Concertgebouw Beethoven: Symphony No. 2; Brahms: Symphony No. 2 [Hybrid SACD] and his old orchestra, the Oslo Philharmonic Symphonies 2 & 3. I have those two recordings and am convinced that these current recording are superior to the others, at least partly because they are in superior SACD sound. They were recorded at live performances, the Second in March 2006, the Third in January 2010.

From the first rich horn chords of the Second through to the wrenching finale of the Third the SOBR is the Brahms orchestra of one's dreams. Their sound is opulent yet utterly clear. Massed horns, brass are chocolatey in their richness, the winds piquant, the strings silken. And although these performances are mainstream, not outré in any way, Jansons manages to put his own stamp on them. This is primarily, in my opinion, from his masterful management of dynamics and subtle phrasing. Just listen to the movement from section to section in the Adagio non troppo of the Second, each is distinct, each merges beautifully into the next. The Second's 'blue skies, bubbling fountains, sunshine and cool shade' (Theodor Billroth) are plainly discernible. The same sophisticated treatment by Jansons and the SOBR is evident in the much more complexly abstract Third. Jansons treatment is tragically heroic and ultimately transfigurative.

My favorite complete traversal of the four Brahms symphony is that by Kurt Sanderling and the Dresden Philharmonic. I suspect, though, that if Jansons and the SOBR record the remaining Brahms symphonies it will supersede Sanderling's set.

Enthusiastically recommended.

Scott Morrison
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent recordings of Brahms's two lyrical symphonies, 12 April 2012
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This review is from: Brahms: Symphonies 2 & 3 (Audio CD)
As far as the combination of Brahms's Symphonies Nos. 2 and 3 is concerned, I think these live recordings (in SACD surround sound and stereo) made in 2006 (No. 2) and 2010 (No. 3) are the best. The Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra plays most beautifully under the direction of Mariss Jansons, their current chief conductor.

Jansons brings out the lyrical quality of these masterpieces very well without any exaggeration for the sake of point-making. There is real warmth in the tone of both the strings and the brass instruments. The beginning of the first movement of No. 2 played by the horns, for instance, has a bloom and is better than other recordings I've listened to so far. The third movement (Poco allegretto) of No. 3, in the graceful tempo of a waltz, sounds wonderful.

Some listeners may prefer to have a complete CD set of all the four symphonies. Then, they will have to look elsewhere. I like Abbado/BPO, Kempe/BPO and Suitner/Berlin Staatskapelle complete versions. But, as far as these two works are concerned, I have no hesitation in recommending this disc. The sound of this SACD, although played on my normal hi-fi equipment, is excellent.

Despite having been recorded live, you never hear any audiences's noise or coughing whatsoever, probably owing to good editing. But, also the audiences may have been awe-stricken by the special occasions.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Orchestra, very good sound, something new, 6 Jun 2011
By 
Allan Blonde (London & Sapporo Japan) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Brahms: Symphonies 2 & 3 (Audio CD)
I purchased this CD on the basis of a review I read, because it is a HYBRID CD, and because I love Brahms.
The orchestra plays very very well. The sound is good (clear and too chilly for Brahms) but not great. That being said, the interpretations leave much to be desired. For example, it is difficult to make the 3rd Symphony sound cut and dried but Jansons has managed to do this, or so I thought. However, after a second listening, I am finding that Jansons does quite a few interesting new things with both symphonies.
Of all the Brahms' thirds I have the 1959 recording by Bruno Walter, in the latest 1999 Japanese reissue, is still in the lead. The orchestra might not play as well as Jansons' but the interpretation is superb and the sound better than the present disc. This is true for the 2nd symphony as well. I have had 3 CD incarnations of the Walter performances, each one in better sound than the last. I am not waiting for Sony to reissue the Walter once again using the BLUE RAY process which should reveal the glorious sound of the original master tape as fully as possible with today's technology.
Altogether, this new disc is a worthwhile supplement, especially if you can take advantage of the SACD sound. Try to hear both Levine/CSO and Maazel/Cleveland performances which are also both good. But for a one only recording of each work CD get the Walter.
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars It's SACD format requires a specially engineered, "compatible" CD player., 4 Nov 2012
By 
Ronald Haak (Cork, Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Brahms: Symphonies 2 & 3 (Audio CD)
Two performances on FM made me eager to order this. When it arrived, I found a notice on the CD case (in tiny print) that it must be played on a "dedicated" SACD player. They mean it. It's 100% unplayable on my ordinary equipment that's previously played every SACD submitted to it. This disc is just dead in the water on ordinary hi fi equipment. If you're equally unwary, it could happen to you. Sad, because it sounds gorgeous on FM. Since I'm unable to extract even one minute of the music it contains, I feel a one star rating is the only one that describes my experience.
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Brahms: Symphonies 2 & 3
Brahms: Symphonies 2 & 3 by Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra (Audio CD - 2011)
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