Author Topic: Brahms Symphony Cycles  (Read 52445 times)

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Offline Holden

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Re: Brahms Symphony Cycles
« Reply #20 on: August 19, 2007, 11:22:55 AM »
Another vote for the Walter/NYPO - now sadly oop! The Col/SO cycle is also very good but I prefer the NYPO

My top 4 individual recordings

1 Abendroth BRSO (1955)
2 Walter NYPO
3 Walter NYPO
4 Reiner RPO
Cheers

Holden

sidoze

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Re: Brahms Symphony Cycles
« Reply #21 on: August 19, 2007, 01:41:54 PM »
What are some of your favorite ones? 


mravinsky. sets are mostly pointless though

Offline Que

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Re: Brahms Symphony Cycles
« Reply #22 on: August 19, 2007, 07:58:23 PM »
Another vote for the Walter/NYPO - now sadly oop! The Col/SO cycle is also very good but I prefer the NYPO

It is fortunately not OOP - available on a Sony/UK-issue and on the United Archives issue that Renfield mentioned - sound quality on both is comparable (The UA issue is reportedly from original sources...)



Q
« Last Edit: August 19, 2007, 08:04:01 PM by Que »
À chacun son goût.

Kullervo

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Re: Brahms Symphony Cycles
« Reply #23 on: August 19, 2007, 08:02:50 PM »
mravinsky. sets are mostly pointless though

Why? They are a convenient way of getting the music and are usually cheaper per disc than the individual discs.

head-case

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Re: Brahms Symphony Cycles
« Reply #24 on: August 19, 2007, 08:21:43 PM »
sets are mostly pointless though

I strenuously disagree.  If you want to only one recording of each symphony and want it to be the best available you must pick and choose.  But if you like having more than one recording of each work, having a few sets is a very satisfying way to do it.  Besides, it is useful to have a consistent set of interpretations from a conductor that you generally admire.

Renfield

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Re: Brahms Symphony Cycles
« Reply #25 on: August 19, 2007, 11:33:11 PM »
It is fortunately not OOP - available on a Sony/UK-issue and on the United Archives issue that Renfield mentioned - sound quality on both is comparable (The UA issue is reportedly from original sources...)



Q

Actually, I really have been wondering: is the sound quality in the same range, for the Sony issue and the United Archives one? Because my main "gripe" with the United Archives set (which I have) is that the sound tends to come out as a bit "harsh"; and I don't think that's the intended result, as far as Walter is concerned. :-\

There's also a French release from Sony of the same set... How would that compare to the other two, I wonder? In other words, do you (or does anyone) have both sets (or even all three), to give us a good comparison? I really admire Walter's interpretation, so I'd like to have the best transfers available, if I can find them... :)

(One thing to note about the United Archives set, however, is the excellent "filler" material it complements the cycle with: truly superb performances of the Academic Overture, the Tragic Overture, some Hungarian Dances, and the Haydn Variations, as well. 8))

George

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Re: Brahms Symphony Cycles
« Reply #26 on: August 20, 2007, 04:57:58 AM »
I would put Karajan's 60's cycle on top...


Seconded.  $:)

I don't think it's available as a set, but I've seen them as budget discs, so this should be something that turns up at your used haunts, Bill.  :)

head-case

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Re: Brahms Symphony Cycles
« Reply #27 on: August 20, 2007, 06:38:41 AM »
Seconded.  $:)

I don't think it's available as a set, but I've seen them as budget discs, so this should be something that turns up at your used haunts, Bill.  :)

From the 60's set I have #1 in the "Originals" series, #2 and #3 in a rather poorly mastered "musicfest" and #4 from the DG "Karajan Edition" which first came out in the 80's (rather nicely mastered) with paintings by Karajan's wife on the cover.  I think it is shocking that this set was never given a proper CD edition, when the 70's set was re-released in every imaginable format.

George

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Re: Brahms Symphony Cycles
« Reply #28 on: August 20, 2007, 06:42:24 AM »
From the 60's set I have #1 in the "Originals" series, #2 and #3 in a rather poorly mastered "musicfest" and #4 from the DG "Karajan Edition" which first came out in the 80's (rather nicely mastered) with paintings by Karajan's wife on the cover.  I think it is shocking that this set was never given a proper CD edition, when the 70's set was re-released in every imaginable format.


Shocking, yet consistent with the monkey-headed decisions that the major labels have made over the the years.

Offline Que

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Re: Brahms Symphony Cycles
« Reply #29 on: August 20, 2007, 07:33:43 AM »
Actually, I really have been wondering: is the sound quality in the same range, for the Sony issue and the United Archives one? Because my main "gripe" with the United Archives set (which I have) is that the sound tends to come out as a bit "harsh"; and I don't think that's the intended result, as far as Walter is concerned. :-\

There's also a French release from Sony of the same set... How would that compare to the other two, I wonder? In other words, do you (or does anyone) have both sets (or even all three), to give us a good comparison? I really admire Walter's interpretation, so I'd like to have the best transfers available, if I can find them... :)

I own the Sony-UK and listened once to the UA issue on headphones in a shop. My impression was that sound was more or less the same. That harshness/roughness you describe is IMO also on the Sony-UK. I haven't heard the Sony-France issues.

Q
À chacun son goût.

M forever

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Re: Brahms Symphony Cycles
« Reply #30 on: August 20, 2007, 08:26:20 AM »
I strenuously disagree.  If you want to only one recording of each symphony and want it to be the best available you must pick and choose.  But if you like having more than one recording of each work, having a few sets is a very satisfying way to do it.  Besides, it is useful to have a consistent set of interpretations from a conductor that you generally admire.

Plus there simply are more sets out there than ever before, at prices lower than ever before because the labels repackage everything and often put together complete cycles and box sets for often less than originally just one CD cost.

Renfield

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Re: Brahms Symphony Cycles
« Reply #31 on: August 20, 2007, 08:50:12 AM »
I own the Sony-UK and listened once to the UA issue on headphones in a shop. My impression was that sound was more or less the same. That harshness/roughness you describe is IMO also on the Sony-UK. I haven't heard the Sony-France issues.

Q

I think I'm taking the proverbial plunge and getting the Sony-France version as well. I'm very, very curious to see if these performances exist in a "softer" transfer. :)


On the subject of the Karajan 60's cycle, I have a rather technical question I've long wanted to ask someone more knowledgable than me in theoretical (musical) matters. So, with apologies for the slight sidetracking, here goes...


In the "dawn" sequence, near the end of the fourth movement of the Brahms 1st, there are what sound to me as ten notes consequtively "held" by the orchestra, the longest in duration usually being the first, second, fourth and tenth in the sequence. So the part I'm referring to is something like: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 (for all the sense that makes to you).

With my apologies for the vague and childish manner of my description, as I only have my ear to guide me and am barely acquainted with the names of the tones in a basic piano keyboard, much less an orchestra, here is my issue:

The first of those notes, the one that - in a way - "launches" the "dawn" sequence, is a specific tone - let's symbolise it with X. In every single recording of the Brahms 1st I can recall but one, X is the tone T (whose "name" I wish I knew :P). But in the Karajan 60's recording that I have (DG Originals), the specific tone launching the sequence is not T, but another tone, S: in fact the same tone as the second one in the sequence!

So what's going on? ???

In other words, the note "launching" the 60's Karajan Brahms 1st "dawn" is different from what I've heard in every other performance of the symphony, including Karajan's later two: apparently, Karajan uses the same note twice, rather than use a higher tone first, then "drop" to the second. Is it a glitch in the editing? Is it an alternative a conductor may opt to follow? Is he plain wrong? Believe me, I'm frustrated not to be able to say "that's X minor, but he's doing Y major", rather than be so descriptive about it, but it's still a fact that I am hearing two different tones.

Can someone help? I've had this question ever since I heard that recording and realised the tone difference, and it's been driving me nuts. :o

M forever

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Re: Brahms Symphony Cycles
« Reply #32 on: August 20, 2007, 08:52:19 AM »
http://www.dlib.indiana.edu/variations/scores/bhr2575/large/index.html

If the score doesn't answer your question, you may have to make an excerpt clip and post it so people can listen to what you mean. I don't have that particular recording.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2007, 08:55:15 AM by M forever »

Renfield

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Re: Brahms Symphony Cycles
« Reply #33 on: August 20, 2007, 09:01:54 AM »
http://www.dlib.indiana.edu/variations/scores/bhr2575/large/index.html

If the score doesn't answer your question, you may have to make an excerpt clip and post it so people can listen to what you mean. I don't have that particular recording.

Your edit caught me right as I was going to answer. Actually, the score probably might answer my question, given that - even though I can't name tones comfortably, due to lack of practice in associating names with the sounds which I do identify - I, thankfully, can read music. :D

Still, if the score is written in the way I hear in all recordings but the 60's Karajan, it will simply tell me that Karajan did indeed alter it: but it is a start, and one that I am very thankful for! I don't tend to have Brahms scores stacked on my desk. ;)
« Last Edit: August 20, 2007, 09:05:43 AM by Renfield »

Renfield

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Re: Brahms Symphony Cycles
« Reply #34 on: August 20, 2007, 09:56:49 AM »
Right, took me long enough, but the answer has been found! With many thanks to Brahms for his timpani scoring, without which I would have been very hard-pressed to follow the last part of the 1st symphony; though true enough, this was the first time I actually followed a full-orchestra score, much less "live" while listening to the music. :o

Anyway, to the point! The part of the finale I was referring apparently comprises of bars 407 to 414, and more specifically, bar 407 itself. The note I've been hearing in the Karajan recording that "disturbed" me is the one played by the trumpets at that bar, which is the exact same as their first note in bar 408; and after I finally found that part in the score and listened to the music while following it, my ear finally registered the actual (and higher) trombone note I'm used to having my attention drawn to, at that point in the symphony.

In other words, it's the transfer, or even the recording itself, that has resulted in the usually-prevalent trombone note (which I will not even attempt to name :P) at bar 407 being "hidden" behind the trumpets. And since I already surprised myself by succeeding in finding out all this with my first go in under an hour, I won't go further into pondering if that note has to be heard above the rest, or if it's just usually heard above the rest...

If someone else wants to enlighten us further on that last point, please, be my guest. I'll have to admit, though: searching for the answer behind that "deviant" note was fun! ;D

Offline Daverz

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Re: Brahms Symphony Cycles
« Reply #35 on: August 20, 2007, 10:15:14 AM »
I own the Sony-UK [Walter NYP set] and listened once to the UA issue on headphones in a shop. My impression was that sound was more or less the same. That harshness/roughness you describe is IMO also on the Sony-UK. I haven't heard the Sony-France issues.

Here's a comparison by some folks on r.m.c.r.

Apparently, the Sony UK and Sony France sets are the same remasterings.

DarkAngel

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Re: Brahms Symphony Cycles
« Reply #36 on: August 20, 2007, 10:44:02 AM »
I have the French Sony version of Walter/NYPO set (2 CDs) and they do sound pretty good, but have not compared it to other versions shown above. When I bought these a couple years ago used on Amazon I had read a post saying these were the best sounding versions available........

« Last Edit: August 20, 2007, 11:02:01 AM by DarkAngel »

Renfield

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Re: Brahms Symphony Cycles
« Reply #37 on: August 20, 2007, 10:52:29 AM »
Here's a comparison by some folks on r.m.c.r.

Apparently, the Sony UK and Sony France sets are the same remasterings.

Thank you for that link! I've been looking for such a comparison for months. :D

In my shopping cart they go, the French-Sony discs: I'm not taking chances, here. :P

Offline MishaK

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Re: Brahms Symphony Cycles
« Reply #38 on: August 20, 2007, 05:08:11 PM »
Seconded. Hard to beat as "hip" or "near-hip" versions go.

Also, for traditional readings:



Thomas

Suitner has a very strong 1st. I was floored the first time I heard it. One of my favorite 1sts. However, the rest of the cycle has all the edges a bit too rounded off. It fails to build up any tension. In particular the 4th I found disappointing.

Some favorites of mine:

Furtwängler/VPO/BPO/EMI

Barenboim/CSO/Warner

Masur/NYPO/Warner

Toscanini/NBC/RCA

Beinum/Concertgebouw/Philips

Abbado's first cycle on DG with various orchestras


But basically, you never can have enough Brahms cycles...  ;D

hornteacher

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Re: Brahms Symphony Cycles
« Reply #39 on: August 20, 2007, 06:02:31 PM »


Is it just me or does Suitner look a little like Gomer Pyle?   SHAZAMM!!