Daniel Raiskin / Staatsorchester Rheinische Philharmonie

Brahms: The Symphonies

  • AllMusic Rating
    8
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

Between 2007 and 2009, Daniel Raiskin and the Staatsorchester Rheinisches Philharmonie recorded the four symphonies of Johannes Brahms in concert settings, so this 2011 set from TwoPianists has the positive and negative points of live recording. On the favorable side, these readings are alert and energetic, and the rhythms are particularly sharp and propulsive, most advantageous in these weighty symphonies. Raiskin and his musicians don't refurbish them with period re-creations or offer any novel interpretations, but as much as anyone can give them vitality and a feeling of freshness, they succeed by playing with a light touch and avoiding the pitfalls of excessive reverance. The First Symphony benefits from matter-of-fact delivery, especially in the expansive finale, and the Fourth seems especially graceful and delicately treated for all its gravitas. The Second and Third, which are lighter-textured and generally more upbeat in expression, are naturally suited to Raiskin's fleet tempos and buoyant phrasing. On the down side, the playing is occasionally scrappy, the intonation isn't always accurate, and the ensemble sometimes has a roughness of tone that is exposed in the thin and dry reproduction. While this set is unlikely to supplant anyone's favorite recording from the past, and faces serious competition from numerous contemporary offerings with better sound, it's worth hearing for its musicality and appealing lack of pretensions.

blue highlight denotes track pick