Author Topic: Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)  (Read 254758 times)

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Offline Symphonic Addict

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Re: Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
« Reply #1180 on: April 12, 2022, 04:54:20 PM »
I streamed that recording last night, and I thought they did a great job with the opening of the final movement. The first loud outburst is inevitable, but still shocking. I enjoy any performance that manages to do that! (And the 2nd movement is great, especially with the great clarinet solos!)

If it's the same Walter recording I'm familiar with, I share your pleasure in the second movement. Walter shows some lovely subtlety, and his slight broadening into the coda is perfectly judged. Imho, the second movement alone makes the entire performance worthwhile.

Exactly, the slow movement is the star here. I don't know too many 3rds, but this one goes to the list of my favorites.
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Offline Symphonic Addict

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Re: Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
« Reply #1181 on: April 12, 2022, 04:58:19 PM »
I beg to differ. The symphonies are Brahms' weakest output. His chamber and concertante works are far, far, far better. Give me Schumann's symphonies over Brahms' every day and night.  ;D

We have to agree to disagree then.  :D

Schumann's 1st Symphony only impressed me in my teens, but over the years I've found it to be his weakest effort in the form.
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Offline Brian

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Re: Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
« Reply #1182 on: April 12, 2022, 06:05:42 PM »
I beg to differ. The symphonies are Brahms' weakest output. His chamber and concertante works are far, far, far better. Give me Schumann's symphonies over Brahms' every day and night.  ;D
I think the meaning was different - the four Brahms symphonies are all singular and very different from each other, which does not mean they are all masterpieces. (I think #1 a failure, #2 a joy which almost everyone since Bruno Walter has conducted badly, #3 an intriguing oddity which again was best done by Walter, and #4 is a great masterpiece.)

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Re: Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
« Reply #1183 on: April 12, 2022, 11:58:35 PM »
The unpopular opinions thread is waiting for you, gents.  :P :laugh:
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Offline Jo498

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Re: Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
« Reply #1184 on: April 13, 2022, 12:25:11 AM »
The Brahms' symphonies are all masterpieces and mostly quite robust even in so-so interpretations, I think. And both of these points are different for Schumann's, i.e. the latter are more flawed and more difficult to "get right". I'd probably say that in the standard rep symphonies the Brahms are, together with some but not all of Beethoven's, among the most robust pieces, unless grossly distorted by interpretations.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2022, 12:28:28 AM by Jo498 »
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Offline Symphonic Addict

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Re: Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
« Reply #1185 on: April 13, 2022, 05:59:33 PM »
Brahms's symphonic architecture is more rigurous and better built. I like the inclusion of Intermezzi instead of Scherzi in his symphonies (Brahms, except for the 4th, though). Schumann's, on the other hand, feature double Trio in his Scherzi and I benefit that.
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Offline Jo498

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Re: Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
« Reply #1186 on: April 13, 2022, 10:44:06 PM »
Brahms's symphonic architecture is more rigurous and better built. I like the inclusion of Intermezzi instead of Scherzi in his symphonies (Brahms, except for the 4th, though).
That's actually one feature I am not too fond of. ;) While I generally like that the romantics expanded the options for the "dance movement" I miss real scherzi in Brahms's symphonies as he wrote such great ones in his other works (e.g. the 2nd piano concerto). I like the intermezzi in the first two movements although I think both could have worked with a "real scherzo" as well.
But I don't much care for the most famous one in the 3rd and the C major movement in the 4th is also a stumbling block although (theoretically) brilliant in many ways.

It seems a mistake to me to lump Schumann and Brahms together, despite their personal contact, they were of different generations and mostly quite different. Schumann's symphonies have some of the freshness and drive (if not the bipolar mood swings and mad dashes) of his piano music but this doesn't always carry a whole symphony through.
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Offline Spotted Horses

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Re: Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
« Reply #1187 on: April 14, 2022, 09:09:34 AM »
Schumann's symphonies are nice enough, but I don't see them as expressing the composer's "genius" nearly to the same extent as his solo piano music. In my mind, Brahms' set of symphonies is the finest ever written, and each creates it's own perfect world in which to exist.

Offline Iota

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Re: Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
« Reply #1188 on: April 15, 2022, 06:26:59 AM »
[Brahms symphonies] I think #1 a failure ..

I love Brahms 1st, particularly the Bruno Walter Columbia SO recording which was my teenage entry into it. Genuinely thrilling and thick on the ground with stirring music and melody (including the much-maligned richly flowing 'Beethoven' one in the Finale). I still find it hard to understand why some/so many find it unpalatable, to me it's a joy of a piece.
 
I do think Walter excels in all the symphonies, with him the music always sounds urgent/full of detail, Brahms' orchestration can sound muddy/stiff in the wrong hands, as if it's doing the job but with a bit of a struggle, that's never true with Walter. Perhaps partly to do with the sound in the older recordings, I don't know, but the music breathes and moves freely and thus is revealed at its best.


Schumann's symphonies are nice enough, but I don't see them as expressing the composer's "genius" nearly to the same extent as his solo piano music.

That perfectly sums up my feelings too.

Offline vers la flamme

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Re: Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
« Reply #1189 on: May 12, 2022, 01:40:46 PM »
Johannes Brahms (May 7, 1833 - Apr. 1897)

For me, Brahms is a "soul mate" composer.  Much (but not all) of his music touches me very deeply on every level: spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, and even physically.  His greatest works not only withstand repeated listening, but they acquire a greater, deeper significance over time.

Old quote, but I couldn't agree more...

Someone, recommend me a Brahms symphony cycle. I've only heard a couple and I'd love to hear more. Currently I have Jochum/LPO, Alsop/LPO and Klemperer/Philharmonia. I would love to hear one from a non-English orchestra.

Edit: Any love for the Harnoncourt/RCO cycle?
« Last Edit: May 12, 2022, 01:54:22 PM by vers la flamme »

Offline amw

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Re: Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
« Reply #1190 on: May 12, 2022, 02:03:34 PM »
Someone, recommend me a Brahms symphony cycle. I've only heard a couple and I'd love to hear more. Currently I have Jochum/LPO, Alsop/LPO and Klemperer/Philharmonia. I would love to hear one from a non-English orchestra.
Can try any of the following: Kertesz/Vienna, Walter/Columbia or New York, Abbado/Berlin. If you want to hear something that's significantly more Klemperer-like than the Klemperer, try Kubelík (BRSO or Vienna).

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Edit: Any love for the Harnoncourt/RCO cycle?
If you like Jochum but want something a bit more underplayed and subtle by comparison, it's very good. (However, if you like Jochum but want something even more so, try Mackerras. Scotland is technically non-English.)

Offline vers la flamme

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Re: Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
« Reply #1191 on: May 12, 2022, 02:17:38 PM »
Can try any of the following: Kertesz/Vienna, Walter/Columbia or New York, Abbado/Berlin. If you want to hear something that's significantly more Klemperer-like than the Klemperer, try Kubelík (BRSO or Vienna).
If you like Jochum but want something a bit more underplayed and subtle by comparison, it's very good. (However, if you like Jochum but want something even more so, try Mackerras. Scotland is technically non-English.)

Abbado/Berlin and Mackerras both sound very intriguing. Thanks!

*Now seeing that Harnoncourt was with the BPO, not the RCO, and wanted to correct my previous mistake.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2022, 02:24:53 PM by vers la flamme »

Offline Brian

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Re: Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
« Reply #1192 on: May 12, 2022, 02:56:54 PM »
Abbado has gorgeous radiant orchestral sound and mostly flowing pacing; I love it. Walter comes closest to the tempos I want in the symphonies and he creates real drama and action - no academic, dusty, dry Brahms there. Mackerras I own but need to listen to. I keep getting stuck on how wonderful Mackerras is in the serenades and never make it to the symphonies. (My other favorite is Kertesz.)

Offline amw

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Re: Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
« Reply #1193 on: May 12, 2022, 03:01:54 PM »
*Now seeing that Harnoncourt was with the BPO, not the RCO, and wanted to correct my previous mistake.
I didn't even notice that! It's good either way, though. But I broadly agree with Brian above as well, with the added element that Mackerras is just as good in the symphonies as he is in the serenades.

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Re: Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
« Reply #1194 on: May 12, 2022, 05:38:38 PM »
I have and like Chailly. Apparently some people don’t like it but to me it’s very good. I have the box in which the symphonies come with all the orchestral works including concertos.
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Re: Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
« Reply #1195 on: May 12, 2022, 10:55:12 PM »
Surprised no one's recommended the mighty Karajan yet.

Offline DavidW

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Re: Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
« Reply #1196 on: May 13, 2022, 03:47:21 AM »
Old quote, but I couldn't agree more...

Someone, recommend me a Brahms symphony cycle. I've only heard a couple and I'd love to hear more. Currently I have Jochum/LPO, Alsop/LPO and Klemperer/Philharmonia. I would love to hear one from a non-English orchestra.

Edit: Any love for the Harnoncourt/RCO cycle?

If you don't mind older sound try Bruno Walter.

Offline Jo498

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Re: Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
« Reply #1197 on: May 15, 2022, 09:17:01 AM »
Someone, recommend me a Brahms symphony cycle. I've only heard a couple and I'd love to hear more. Currently I have Jochum/LPO, Alsop/LPO and Klemperer/Philharmonia. I would love to hear one from a non-English orchestra.
Klemp is quite good. If you want a "German", mostly slowish, in good sound, there is Kurt Sanderling/Dresden from the 70s that might be hard to find or very cheap.
Any of Karajan's is also worth a try for luxuriating sound.
I'd also recommend trying at least #1 and #4 with Furtwängler (not sure which recordings are best to find, I have the Music & Arts). When he heard of Furtwängler's death, Toscanini supposedly commented: Who will now conduct Brahms' 4th)

Quote
Edit: Any love for the Harnoncourt/RCO cycle?
I had 3+4 and although I am in general a fan of the conductor they are among the few recordings of his I disliked and eventually got rid of. Way too "soft" for my taste.
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

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Re: Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
« Reply #1198 on: May 15, 2022, 09:22:29 AM »
For something different, there's for example a Gardiner Brahms cycle.

And a Mengelberg, albeit with poor sound.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2022, 09:24:17 AM by MusicTurner »

Offline kyjo

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Re: Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
« Reply #1199 on: May 15, 2022, 10:15:42 AM »
Brahms's symphonic architecture is more rigurous and better built. I like the inclusion of Intermezzi instead of Scherzi in his symphonies (Brahms, except for the 4th, though). Schumann's, on the other hand, feature double Trio in his Scherzi and I benefit that.

Personally, I wish Brahms had written at least one “stormy/passionate” symphonic scherzo in the manner of those found in his Piano Concerto no. 2, Piano Quintet, Piano Quartet no. 3, Cello Sonata no. 2, Violin Sonata no. 3, etc.
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