Riccardo Chailly

Brahms: The Symphonies

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For most listeners' purposes, Riccardo Chailly's set of Johannes Brahms' four symphonies will seem standard-issue, with respectable and uncontroversial interpretations from an esteemed conductor, and rich and resonant performances by the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. Even in the choice of filler pieces, the set includes the three orchestral works that are usually packaged with the symphonies: the Tragic Overture, the Haydn Variations, and the Academic Festival Overture. However, this set offers welcome suprises and extra value for the purchase. Two orchestral arrangements of the Interludes, Opp. 116 and 117 for piano, are included, along with instrumental versions of a handful of Liebeslieder Waltzes and three of the orchestrated Hungarian Dances, which may be incentives to listeners who are looking for a little more. Also included are Brahms' original version of the Andante of the First Symphony and the alternate opening of the Fourth. But no one should invest in a set solely on the basis of these extras, however unusual they may be. Since first recording the cycle with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, where he offered a rather heavy-handed modern take on the symphonies, Chailly has gone back to an older, more historically informed style of playing Brahms that was familiar to conductors of the early 20th century. The music is lighter and more transparent, so in some ways, his recordings are sometimes reminiscent of classic performances by Bruno Walter, George Szell, and other revered conductors. For traditionalists, this is a fine set to own, especially if a fresh digital recording is needed.

Track Listing - Disc 3

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 12:46 Amazon
2 4:41 Amazon
3 4:49 Amazon
Variations on a Theme by Haydn, Op. 56a
4 1:54 Amazon
5 1:14 Amazon
6 0:54 Amazon
7 1:39 Amazon
8 1:55 Amazon
9 0:51 Amazon
10 1:05 Amazon
11 2:31 Amazon
12 0:59 Amazon
13 3:45 Amazon
14 1:12 Amazon
15 0:44 Amazon
16 0:43 Amazon
17 2:40 Amazon
18 1:42 Amazon
19 1:25 Amazon
20 0:52 Amazon
21 1:26 Amazon
22 2:15 Amazon
Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 68
23 8:23 Amazon
24 9:24 Amazon
Hungarian Dances
25 2:53 Amazon
26 2:09 Amazon
27 1:54 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick