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Customer Review

TOP 500 REVIEWERon 12 September 2011
Those who have read my reviews may recall that I have not been a fan of EMI's Rattle/BPO output-recording quality very variable, interpretations I haven't liked and very uninvolved if sleek playing. In sum, I have found most of these recordings to be dull! I was recently happily uplifted by the Nutcracker recording-not everyone's favourite by it works for me (mostly)- and the Mahler 2 which I found to be a triumph. I have unreserved praise for this new recording, which should appeal to Brahms and Schoenberg adherents alike! The Brahms has been well done before-Jarvi's rollicking and raucous LSO recording still enjoys my affection,and Dohnanyi's Vienna recording had magnificent sound though was more matter of fact- but Rattle's new recording has an infectious joy about it -everyone really sounds as if they are enjoying themselves, especially in the finale of the Brahms where Rattle displays a real mischievous bent. Could he be a future Straussian after all-Johann and Josef that is!? Those who don't know this realisation may rest assured that it really captures the spirit of Brahms, and one would not detect Schoenberg's hand in it if not informed in advance. I've always thought of it as Brahms 5th Symphony and this recording supports my view. Nonetheless, I differ from Philster in his excellent review in that I think that the real meat of the disc is the Chamber Symphony in its magnificent full orchestral version, Schoenberg's final thoughts on this work. Nothing Chamber about this-the orchestral forces are vast, in the manner of Gurrelieder. It is a highly perfumed, tonal excercise in the latest of late romanticism spilling over just occasionally into modernism, and is redolent of Wagner, Strauss, Mahler, Debussy and even Scriabin. Playing and recording are again superb, and Rattle's reading is inspired. Sandwiched in between is a brief but slightly more abstruse work, the music to accompany a film scene which might hold some terrors for Brahmsians-but they should find it interesting at least. Thus this disc is loaded with delights for both ends of the musical appreciation spectrum and I urge all lovers of Brahms and Schoenberg to sample it-and I feel sure that those who would normally shy away from Schoenberg but love Brahms will find much to enjoy also.
It gives me great pleasue to award this superb disc unlimited stars!! Stewart Crowe
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