on 21 October 2013
Brahms is not a composer hitherto identified with Valery Gergiev, and he very much puts his idiosyncratic stamp on these performances. The First Symphony, whilst losing nothing of its epic grandeur, feels lighter on its feet than normal. There are some wonderful moments - I especially liked the brass and flute passage before the "big theme" emerges in the final movement. There are many examples of superb solo playing from the woodwinds throughout the symphony. The strings play ardently and there is plenty of power when it's called for. The performance of the Tragic Overture is powerful and dramatic. The 2nd, Brahms's sunniest symphony, gets an appropriately affectionate performance. Again there are many beautiful contributions from the woodwind, especially the oboe solo in the Allegretto grazioso. The performance of the Haydn Variations is very successful, with each variation strongly characterised. The recorded sound is bright and clear throughout. These performances were recorded live in London's Barbican Hall, but I did not hear any audience "contributions".
This is a two-CD set for less than the price of a regular CD, which makes it a considerable bargain.
on 22 March 2015
I was able to see Valery Gergiev and the London Symphony Orchestra perform both Brahms Symphonies 1 and 2 live at the Edinburgh Festival in 2012 and was very impressed. Then in September the same year they recorded both Symphonies together on their LSO Live label to very good reviews. I have now got round to buying these recordings in a two disc set and I am enjoying them just as much as when I saw them live. Gergiev and the LSO have a special relationship and have been very prolific in the recording studio together as well.
Both Brahms Symphonies are superbly played in this two disc set, which also includes his Tragic Overture and Variations on a Theme of Haydn. My favourite out of his Symphonies is the 1st Symphony and it's given a very powerful and fine performance here; the second movement is played beautifully with rich and expressive strings and intimate woodwind playing. This also applies to the big tune that leads into the last movement, which also features some very strong horn playing.
on 10 September 2014
the best available recordng,maesstro gergiev and this matchless orchestra,make essential listening,clear,beautiful tone,a paftnership made in heaven,rich warm sound,establishing this exceptional recording -just get it.