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Brahms: Symphonies 1-4 Box set

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Conductor: Wolfgang Sawallisch
  • Audio CD (24 Sept. 2007)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: EMI
  • ASIN: B000UZ4EOS
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 150,027 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
  • If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. I. Un poco sostenuto -
  2. Allegro
  3. II. Andante sostenuto
  4. III. Un poco allegretto e grazioso
  5. IV. Adagio -
  6. Allegro non troppo, ma con brio
  7. Langsam und sehnsuchtsvoll
  8. Allegro
  9. Adagio
  10. Academic Festival Overture Op. 80

Disc: 2

  1. I. Allegro non troppo
  2. II. Adagio non troppo
  3. III. Allegretto grazioso (Quasi andantino) - Presto, ma non assai
  4. IV. Allegro con spirito
  5. I. Allegro con brio - Un poco sostenuto
  6. II. Andante
  7. III. Poco allegretto
  8. IV. Allegro - Un poco sostenuto

Disc: 3

  1. I. Allegro non troppo
  2. II. Andante moderato
  3. III. Allegro giocoso
  4. IV. Allegro energico e passionato
  5. Tragic Overture Op. 81
  6. Variations on a Theme by Haydn, 'St Antoni Chorale' Op. 56a

Product description

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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I have the four Brahms' Symphonies recorded by Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic for DG in the late 1980s which are of course excellent,but I wanted to hear a recording of them by a British Orchestra and have fallen in love with this superb 3 CD set by EMI, conducted by Wolfgang Sawallisch with the London Philharmonic Orchestra. I was also influenced by the review written by Mark and his recommendation, and ordered it soon afterwards. Sadly the conductor of these excellent four Brahms' Symphonies died in February this year. He had actually recorded them before with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra in the early 1960s. His fine readings for EMI were done in the early 1990s and he draws very powerful and beautiful performances from the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Their rich and expressive strings, serene woodwind and controlled brass make all four of Brahms' Symphonies in this 3 CD set wonderful to listen to. Also included apart from the Symphonies are Schicksaislied, Academic Festival and Tragic Overtures, plus Variations on a Theme by Haydn. Wolfgang Sawallisch was very well known for his interpretations of Richard Strauss, Bruckner and Schumann and his Brahms were perhaps underrated but shouldn't have been. Buy this 3CD EMI set and find out why.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Now that I'm finding a taste for Brahms, having been put off 25 years ago by relative who was too enthusiastic, I've been putting together a modest CD collection. I was aware of a Sawallisch set on Brilliant Classics, but plumped for this great value EMI "Trio" instead.

The set is very good and there is more than the 4 symphonies, with the three well-known overtures and Haydn variations, plus the Schicksalsllied - new to me and very lovely. The recordings of the London Philharmonic Orchestra date from the early 1990's, so are in good sound.

Symphony 2 is particularly fine, but all are excellent. I highly recommend this inexpensive set to anyone "looking into Brahms"!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 3.0 out of 5 stars 1 review
4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Standard readings, but the price is amazing 31 Oct. 2007
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
It's hard to believe that EMI is willing to offer Brahms' four symphonies, along with generous fillers, for the price of a single CD. Sawallisch was referred to by The Gramophone as a "wise and skillful practitioner," which is a nice way of saying that he's no Furtwangler or Karajan. But the London Phil. plays well for him, the sonics are good, and every interpretation is solid. The First Sym. needs much ore energy and commitment than this easy-going reading delivers, but in the Second, with its more pastoral contours, Sawallisch's style works well.

I will admit that my attention wndered during the serviceable Third, and nothing remarkable happened in the Fourth, either. I'd rank this set on a par with Mrin Alsop's recent traversal, also with the London Phil. and the price is lower. We could spend some time asking what happened to the career of Sawallisch, who started out with tremendous promise in the Fifties and wound up a routine kapellmeister. For anyone who wants a super-bargain set of the Brahms symphonies, that's beside the point.

If I were comparison shopping, I'd look into rival budget sets from Karajan, Szell, Muti, and Eschenbach. All have different approaches, but in the end the buyer would wind up with top-notch orchestras and, of course, great music.
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