Carlos Kleiber was perhaps the most highly regarded conductor of the late 20th century, but his relatively few excursions into the studio have left the musical world with a frustratingly small number of recordings. Thus we are particularly fortunate that, from among the relatively few appearances in his career, several concerts, one operetta and two operas were filmed. This concert with the Bayerisches Staatsorchester from Munich's Herkulessaal in October 1996 was on of his last.
This release in Praga's Reminiscences series of SACD remasterings features the great Russian conductor Yevgeny Mravinsky leading the Leningrad Philharmonic in recordings of two masterpieces of the Romantic repertoire. Brahms's refined and intellectually complex Symphony No.4 is paired with the rich, heart-on-sleeve passion of Tchaikovsky's Symphony No.5 – one of the composer's best loved works.
Loaded with German Romanticism & including variations on a Bach cantata, Brahms’ final symphony is a remarkable example of his mastery of symphonic composition. A rich, warm work that builds on a sense of movement & intensity right up to the final bars. This release also represents the completion of Bernard Haitink’s celebrated LSO Live Brahms cycle that has included the symphonies, Double Concerto, Tragic Overture & Serenade No 2.
Editorial Reviews- Amazon.com
Noted podium tyrant and sadist Fritz Reiner must have scared the daylights out of the Royal Philharmonic, which plays this music as though their very lives depended on it. This is one of the great Brahms Fourth Symphonies, a performance of eruptive force and barely contained fury. It's been superbly transferred to CD, and anyone who loves this symphony simply has to own this recording. No question about it. –David Hurwitz
Philippe Herreweghe directs these Schumann concertos with severity and urgency, with an impact that’s particularly strong in the opening movement of the A minor piano concerto. The soloist is Andreas Staier, who plays a mid-19th century J.B. Streicher instrument. But it’s not just the use of period instruments (this is certainly the kind of piano Schumann would have known) that proves so fascinating here; rather, it’s the minutely detailed way in which soloist and conductor interact during this performance. Note, for instance, how astutely Herreweghe’s wind players articulate the sorrowful first subject group after the soloist’s opening salvo, a passage that sets the tone for all that follows.
This last installment in Claudio Abbado's fine Brahms cycle has the same virtues as the previous recordings: excellent playing, fine recording, and an intensely lyrical response to the music that never precludes a healthy dose of energy where required. The high point of the cycle is the Third Symphony, followed by the Second. If you have those and wish to collect the others, they are not far behind in quality and you can buy this disc (and the one with the First Symphony) with complete confidence. The couplings are also very well done. –David Hurwitz