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Brahms: The Symphonies etc Box set

4.0 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

RRP: £14.99
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Audio CD, Box set, 13 Oct 1997
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Frequently bought together

  • Brahms: The Symphonies etc
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  • Piano Concertos 1/2
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  • Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 2, Two Rhapsodies Op.79
Total price: £75.54
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Product details

  • Audio CD (13 Oct. 1997)
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: CLASSICAL
  • ASIN: B000000S8T
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 105,952 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Variations on a Theme by Haydn Op.56a, 'St Anthony Variations' : I Theme
  2. Brahms : Variations on a Theme by Haydn Op.56a, 'St Anthony Variations' : II Variation 1
  3. Brahms : Variations on a Theme by Haydn Op.56a, 'St Anthony Variations' : III Variation 2
  4. Brahms : Variations on a Theme by Haydn Op.56a, 'St Anthony Variations' : IV Variation 3
  5. Brahms : Variations on a Theme by Haydn Op.56a, 'St Anthony Variations' : V Variation 4
  6. Brahms : Variations on a Theme by Haydn Op.56a, 'St Anthony Variations' : VI Variation 5
  7. Brahms : Variations on a Theme by Haydn Op.56a, 'St Anthony Variations' : VII Variation 6
  8. Brahms : Variations on a Theme by Haydn Op.56a, 'St Anthony Variations' : VIII Variation 7
  9. Brahms : Variations on a Theme by Haydn Op.56a, 'St Anthony Variations' : IX Variation 8
  10. Brahms : Variations on a Theme by Haydn Op.56a, 'St Anthony Variations' : X Finale
  11. Brahms : Symphony No.1 in C major Op.68 : I Un poco sostenuto - Allegro
  12. Brahms : Symphony No.1 in C major Op.68 : II Andante sostenuto
  13. Brahms : Symphony No.1 in C major Op.68 : III Un poco allegretto e grazioso
  14. Brahms : Symphony No.1 in C major Op.68 : IV Adagio - Allegro non troppo, ma con brio

Disc: 2

  1. Brahms : Symphony No.2 in D major Op.73 : I Allegro, ma non troppo
  2. Brahms : Symphony No.2 in D major Op.73 : II Adagio non troppo
  3. Brahms : Symphony No.2 in D major Op.73 : III Allegro grazioso
  4. Symphony No.2 in D major Op.73 : IV Allegro con spirito
  5. Tragic Overture Op.81
  6. Academic Festival, Op. 80: Overture

Disc: 3

  1. Brahms : Symphony No.3 in F major Op.90 : I Allegro con brio
  2. Brahms : Symphony No.3 in F major Op.90 : II Andante
  3. Symphony No. 3 in F Major, Op. 90: III. Poco allegretto (Excerpt)
  4. Symphony No.3 in F major Op.90 : IV Allegro
  5. Symphony No.4 in E minor Op.98 : I Allegro non troppo
  6. Symphony No.4 in E minor Op.98 : II Andante moderato
  7. Symphony No.4 in E minor Op.98 : III Allegro giocoso
  8. Symphony No.4 in E minor Op.98 : IV Allegro energico e passionato

Product description

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I bought this set based on the Amazon reviews, wanting to extend my acquaintance with the Brahms' symphonies beyond the 1 and 3 I have owned for a while, and have come to admire. Having now heard these I have to say I would probably choose an alternate set, though which I'm in no position to say as yet. I'm afraid that with these recordings the hall and the audience obtrude into the sound just a little too much for me to ignore. The acoustic seems muffled at the low end for the quieter parts, while punch and crispness are sucked out when things get going. The strings often sound a tad glossy and synthetic in a way in which other instruments get lost when they start to dominate. The coughing in the audience I could just about tolerate, but the frequent creaking of seats during the first two discs is just a bit too distracting.

This is a shame because in terms of performance there is a plenty think about. Harnoncourt's No.1 easily trumps my Karajan, insofar as he doesn't succumb to the temptation to discharge the work's entire dramatic potential in the first 30 seconds. But also there is a good balance between the works narrative unfolding and it's underlying unity.

No.2 is new for me. A beautiful hymn to nature with clear references to Beethoven's Pastoral. For me however, the tender and dreamy delivery of the first three movements doesn't quite balance the intensity of the admittedly superbly swaggering finale.

Harnoncourt's No.3 is probably the one I have most difficulty with as it conflicts with expectations set up by my beloved James Levine version, Brahms: Symphony No. 3; Tragic Overture; Alto Rhapsody.
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Format: Audio CD
I feel like rambling for page after page about this superb set. For the last fortnight I have played it non-stop at home, in the kitchen, the living room, on the Walkperson, in the car, at work and anywhere else I have found with a CD player. I must admit that Harnoncourt's reputation for a radical approach to well known repertoire made me a little nervous as I pressed 'Play' the first time - I would generally consider myself an interested observer rather than a fan of his. I needn't have worried. The recordings are ‘live’ in the best sense that they convey a real sense of occasion but are almost devoid of intrusive audio noise. They need to be played at quite a high level, but then they have admirable detail and a good concert hall perspective. The Berlin Philharmonic, my personal Brahms orchestra of choice, must have played all this music so often that they could do it backwards in their sleep, but perform here with real freshness and excitement - the horns in particular cover themselves in glory throughout. One thing that struck me was the sheer amount of detail that I noticed for the first time. Inner parts are clarified time and again, but never at the expense of the main lines. Sometimes it's like having the score unfold before your very eyes and ears. Harnoncourt and his players begin each symphony deceptively gently, and you wonder whether the performance will be unduly sombre, but their command of the architecture is superb. First movement developments build towards their climax with a thrilling cumulative inevitability and the finales of each symphony are tremendously exciting. The end of the first is almost overwhelming, the second bursts forth into glorious sunshine and the third and fourth have a rugged power that is most satisfying.Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD
My friend Stewart Crowe penned the following lament in a review of Dudamel’s Pictures at an Exhibition on Amazon.UK:

"The Berlin Philharmonic has declined as an outfit exponentially since 1989. It was bankrupt when Rattle took over - indeed one must give (Sir Simon) credit for insisting that the musicians were paid before he took up tenure. The nadir was reached with the Dudamel’s Also Sprach Zarathustra. It is no coincidence that the Berlin Phil actually has no recording contract for the first time ever!"

For that and more I blame Abbado. What Valens was to Adrianople, what Heraclius was to Yarmouk, what Romanos IV Diogenes was to Manzikert, Uncle Claudio was to the Klang of the Berlin Philharmonic – and Sir Simon was never going to be the man to deliver redress. Hitherto, there had been two recordings that broadcast its decay like nothing else: Abbado’s Posthorn Serenade (Sony) from 1992 where the BP sounds like a glorified Chamber Orchestra of Europe; and Mehta’s bone-lazy tone-poems of Liszt from the middle of the decade. A triumvirate is now evident: Harnoncourt’s tubercular, unheroic, near-metronomic survey of Brahms from 1997 - and those are its good points!

First and foremost: I defy anyone to identify this orchestra as Karajan’s warhorse of yesteryear. Abbado and Rattle – among others – progressively untaught the BP to play Beethoven to the point that nowadays, it doesn’t know whether it’s Arthur or Martha or something in between when it’s asked to step up to the plate. The same is true of Brahms (and in saying this, I do not rate Rattle’s 2009 cycle with the BP). Here, the My Little Pony opening of the First Symphony – which is humorous in its own way – is a farewell to arms (don’t purchase this cycle until you’ve sampled it!).
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