Jukka-Pekka Saraste / WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln

Johannes Brahms: Symphony No. 2; Haydn-Variations

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Continuing their survey of the symphonies and orchestral music of Johannes Brahms, Jukka-Pekka Saraste and the WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln deliver fairly conventional but solid performances of the Symphony No. 2 in D major and the Variations on a Theme of Haydn (Variations on Chorale St. Antoni), which are comparable to most mainstream interpretations. This 2017 release is the second of a three-album series on Profil, following the first volume of the Symphony No. 1 in C minor and the Symphony No. 3 in F major, which was issued in 2013, and succeeded by a third disc in 2018 containing the Symphony No. 4 in E minor, the Academic Festival Overture, and the Tragic Overture. These seven works are commonly packaged together, so even though the three discs have been released separately, they could easily be reissued as a standard Brahms set. Saraste aims for clarity of details and transparent textures which give the music a lightness that in other hands can be elusive, even in this, the sunniest of Brahms' symphonies; and the generally fleet tempos and propulsive syncopated rhythms give the music considerable energy from beginning to end. The Haydn Variations are warmly played and taken at a rather stately pace, in contrast with the symphony's agility and forward movement, yet this work is complementary in its buoyant mood and comparatively colorful orchestration. Profil's reproduction is clear and detailed, with finely separated parts and a vibrant sound that showcases the orchestra's fine playing.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Symphony No. 2 D Major Op. 73
1 19:21
2 8:55
3 4:59
4 9:19
Variationen über Ein Thema von Haydn Op. 56A
5 1:59
6 1:26
7 1:07
8 1:57
9 2:05
10 0:59
11 1:23
12 2:26
13 1:08
14 3:30
blue highlight denotes track pick