Sergiu Celibidache

Brahms: Sinfonia N. 2; Mozart: Sinfonia N. 25

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Recorded in dim, dark, and distant sound, this disc featuring two postwar recordings by Sergiu Celibidache will probably appeal only to fans of the Romanian conductor. And even they may wonder if both performances on the disc are by Celibidache. On the one hand, the opening performance of Mozart's Symphony No. 25 in G minor recorded with the London Philharmonic Orchestra in 1948 does sound just like his later work. The tempos are consistently slow -- the Andante, for example, is taken as an Adagio -- and the tone is consistently heavy -- the Menuetto, for example, seems much more like Bruckner than like Mozart. On the other hand, the closing performance of Brahms' Symphony No. 2 in D major recorded with the Berliner Philharmoniker in 1949 sounds quite unlike his later work. Here, tempos are consistently quick -- except for the Adagio non troppo, which is taken as an Adagio without modification -- and the textures are consistently lucid -- except that the antique recording tends to make everything seem thick and heavy. In both performances, the orchestras are at the top of their form, but, then, in such standard repertoire works, one would expect nothing less. For fans of the conductor, this disc will have to be heard. For everyone else, this disc will be of negligible importance.

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