Simon Rattle!

Brahms’ Four Symphonies!

Sir Simon Rattle and the Berliner Philharmoniker have recorded the complete symphonies of Johannes Brahms live in a series of concerts from the Philharmonie in Berlin. The recording was released October 6, 2009; there are 3 CD’s of the four symphonies in this album.

This is a major recording of music that is central to the tradition of this 127-year-old orchestra, and is bound to be as important as Rattle’s earlier recording of the complete Beethoven symphonies with the Vienna Philharmonic. The combination of the excellent sound and musicianship of the Berliner Philharmoniker, and the approach that has characterized Rattle’s music-making over the past thirty years is likely to result in a set of recordings that will challenge and refresh this well-known and cherished repertoire.

The second symphony is one of my great favorites. Sir Simon gives us music that is tender and lyrical but not excessively so. The challenge with this music is that the slow movement can sound very like the first movement. These are really two flowing pastoral movements in a row, and the conductor has to provide some contrast in feeling. Rattle is effective in making the Adagio non Troppo sufficiently brooding and melancholy where he can, so that the feeling – for me – was just excellent.

Yes… this is familiar music; however, if your library needs a set of fine, thoughtful, sensitive interpretations of these four masterpieces, there is every reason to give this outstanding album your serious consideration.

Here is a video of a portion of Brahms’ Symphony No. 1 with Simon Rattle and the Berliner Philharmoniker:



Tags:  Brahms, Sir Simon Rattle, Berlin Philharmonic, Symphony

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