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Brahms: Symphony No.4
 
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Brahms: Symphony No.4

7 Sept. 1998 | Format: MP3

£4.99 (VAT included if applicable)
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Song Title
Time
Popularity  
30
1
12:56
30
2
11:24
30
3
6:09
30
4
9:14
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Product details

  • Original Release Date: 1 Jan. 1981
  • Release Date: 7 Sept. 1998
  • Label: Decca (UMO)
  • Copyright: (C) 1998 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Hamburg
  • Record Company Required Metadata: Music file metadata contains unique purchase identifier. Learn more.
  • Total Length: 39:43
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B0048L1RU4
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 46,215 in Albums (See Top 100 in Albums)

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
At only 39 mins and 41 seconds, this might be thought to be short measure.
Until you hear the performance. Over the years I have tried a number of recordings of this symphony in an effort to find the work I can hear in my head. (Where did that come from?)
Some years ago I bought the Herbert Blomstedt recording on Decca: far too low voltage! I bought Eugen Jochum's, along with Tennstedt's recording of Ein Deutches Requiem. Worth it for the Requiem, but Jochum always pulls the tempi about a bit, and ultimately I felt his performance didn't quite measure up.
The 1972 Boult recording, with Janet Baker's incandescent performance of the Alto Rhapsody, came nearest. At least Boult gets the right voltage for the finale.
Carlos Kleiber has the Vienna Philharmonic which, as you would expect, outmatches Boult's LPO, good though they are. But he also has factor "X" - that deeper undertanding of this ultimately tragic symphony - which, for me, places this performance right out at the top.
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Format: Audio CD
I heard this performance a good while ago but for some reason it didn't get to me. I have listened again recently and I can't imagine why not. In fact I can't imagine a greater performance of this symphony anymore. It's so well played, with every part of the orchestra singing and involved but clearly articulated. However the thing that distinguishes the performance is the grasp of structure and overall balance. The effect of the playing and the conducting is an almost volcanic energy and sweep that is really unsurpassed in the many recordings and performances of this symphony that I have heard. It's shattering and exhausting. Somehow when you hear this it seems so obvious that this is one of the greatest pieces of music ever written, and the most complete of the four Brahms wrote.
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Format: Audio CD
I have only recently acquired my own copy of this legendary recording. Since reading Jan Swafford's biography I am back into Brahms with a vengeance after a few years 'away' as it were.

And yes, I reckon this IS a great perfomance (and I have some other favourites of this symphony). There are too many individual magic moments to point out - even from the manner in which the strings play the opening theme in the first movement. The golden horns at the end of the Andante; the violin tremolandi as the finale reaches white heat; the occasional touches of expressive portamento from the strings, which here sound so natural and idiomatic; the clarity and precision of the phrasing, which is so clearly articulated yet never draws attention to itself.

But the performance is far more than just the sum of beautiful parts. As so many other reviewers have pointed out, it is unerringly proportioned (saving the really big sound for the moments when it's really needed) and combines a songful line with an intensity that rises to fervour in the codas of the first and last movements. I am not bothered that you only get 39 minutes of music on the CD as you cannot put a price on music-making of this quality.

My only slight caveat is that the string sound occasionally gets a bit fierce and glassy, to my ears at least. Would the LP have sounded like this when first released in 1980, or is this the result of re-mastering and transfer to CD? Whatever the truth, it is not a serious issue for me and doesn't detract from my five-star rating.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
There are many recordings of this popular masterpiece, and the listener is spoiled for choice. But, Carlos Kleiber's version, I think, is one of the best - if not the very best - among the discs currently available.

The VPO's playing is finely nuanced, and the unanimity of attack is marvellous. Their sound is warm, but not indulgent.

The most striking aspect of the present version is the fourth movement (Allegro energico e passionato - piu Allegro); it is played truly energetically and passionately (in 9:16), faster than most other recent conductors' versions I have listened to so far. The tension gradually builds up and the work comes to an exciting finish.

The recording, made at Musikverein in Vienna in 1980, is of demonstration quality.

The only shortcoming of this CD is that the symphony, lasting less than 40 minutes, is the only one on the disc. DG could have added something else. Still, one cannot complain too much when the performance is so incandescent.
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Format: Audio CD
I agree with the reviewers above, I too long searched for a recording of this work that fitted my idea of what it should be, now I have truly found it. Kleiber brings a masterful performance. I was won over by the phrasing of the strings in the first movement; beautiful but not overly sentimental.

In my view this symphony above all others needs a tightly held performance or else as with some of my lesser recordings it starts to lose it's shape. This one ticks all the boxes though, and has superb sound too, with slightly bright strings (just as I like them). It's true there should be more on the disc than just this symphony, but don't let that put you off what I see as a definitive recording.

My Brahms symphonic collection of great recordings feels finally complete, with Wand's 1st (1990) and Karajan's 2 and 3 (1964) this record again for me is another disc that is unlikely to be bettered.
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