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Sym 1/Vars On A Theme Of Haydn


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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 9 2012)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Vox (Classical)
  • ASIN: B00004U1CD
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #333,064 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Symphony No. 1 In C-Minor, Op. 68: Un poco sostenuto
2. Symphony No. 1 In C-Minor, Op. 68: Andante sostenuto
3. Symphony No. 1 In C-Minor, Op. 68: Un poco allegretto
4. Symphony No. 1 In C-Minor, Op. 68: Adagio-Allegro non troppo ma con brio
5. Variations On A Theme Of Haydn, Op. 56a -'St. Anthony Chorale': Theme: Andante
6. Variations On A Theme Of Haydn, Op. 56a -'St. Anthony Chorale': Var. 1 - Poco piu animato
7. Variations On A Theme Of Haydn, Op. 56a -'St. Anthony Chorale': Var. 2 - Piu vivace
8. Variations On A Theme Of Haydn, Op. 56a -'St. Anthony Chorale': Var. 3 - Con moto
9. Variations On A Theme Of Haydn, Op. 56a -'St. Anthony Chorale': Var. 4 - Andante con moto
10. Variations On A Theme Of Haydn, Op. 56a -'St. Anthony Chorale': Var. 5 - Vivace
11. Variations On A Theme Of Haydn, Op. 56a -'St. Anthony Chorale': Var. 6 - Vivace
12. Variations On A Theme Of Haydn, Op. 56a -'St. Anthony Chorale': Var. 7 - Grazioso
13. Var. 8 - Presto non troppo
14. Finale: Andante

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Format: Audio CD
It's been a great couple years for us Jaschaholics -- first came four stunning releases from the BBC (most notably the first authorized release of Horenstein's live Mahler Eighth from 1959, one of the very few concerts truly worthy of the label "legendary").
Now, Vox has at last released some of Horenstein's most intereating work for the label. It's been far too long since the label has released Horenstein titles previously unavailable on CD.
Here's a brief rundown: Brahms: Symphony No. 3 (SWF, stereo)/Wagner: Meistersinger Prelude & Tannhauser Overture (Bamberg, mono) -- It must be at least fifteen years since I've played the Brahms recording, which I recall sounding strident. The big surprise for me was the manner in which Horenstein's robust, rhythmically propulsive performance balances lyricism and cragginess -- reminiscent more in character of Brahms's chamber music than his larger-scale utterances. The beautifully-played third movement, to which Horenstein lends a melancholy atmosphere with effective rubato and phrasing which reveals some startling details, is particularly outstanding. The string sound gets a bit rough during louder passages, but the wholly involving performance overrides the sonic shortcomings. The Wagner recordings (first released on LP with other Wagner orchestral works now to be found in one a Horenstein Vox Box coupled with Richard Strauss, Schoenberg and Mahler) are quite a contrast -- especially for the more unbuttoned brass playing and effective contrapuntal balance in the Meistersinger prelude.
Brahms: Symphony No.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 3 reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Horenstein Fans... Rejoice! June 14 2000
By Jack Einhorn - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
It's been a great couple years for us Jaschaholics -- first came four stunning releases from the BBC (most notably the first authorized release of Horenstein's live Mahler Eighth from 1959, one of the very few concerts truly worthy of the label "legendary").
Now, Vox has at last released some of Horenstein's most intereating work for the label. It's been far too long since the label has released Horenstein titles previously unavailable on CD.
Here's a brief rundown: Brahms: Symphony No. 3 (SWF, stereo)/Wagner: Meistersinger Prelude & Tannhauser Overture (Bamberg, mono) -- It must be at least fifteen years since I've played the Brahms recording, which I recall sounding strident. The big surprise for me was the manner in which Horenstein's robust, rhythmically propulsive performance balances lyricism and cragginess -- reminiscent more in character of Brahms's chamber music than his larger-scale utterances. The beautifully-played third movement, to which Horenstein lends a melancholy atmosphere with effective rubato and phrasing which reveals some startling details, is particularly outstanding. The string sound gets a bit rough during louder passages, but the wholly involving performance overrides the sonic shortcomings. The Wagner recordings (first released on LP with other Wagner orchestral works now to be found in one a Horenstein Vox Box coupled with Richard Strauss, Schoenberg and Mahler) are quite a contrast -- especially for the more unbuttoned brass playing and effective contrapuntal balance in the Meistersinger prelude.
Brahms: Symphony No. 1/Haydn Variations (SWF, stereo) -- Those of you who have become accustomed to Horenstein's highly-praised LSO Brahms First (Reader's Digest, now available in a very good CD transfer on Chesky) are in for a surprise. Horenstein's earlier recording takes a similar interpretive approach, but with some startling differences in detail and balance.
The SWF outfit had a smaller string compliment than the LSO (and it sounds as if the same is true for the above Brahms 3), and Horenstein uses it to his advantage. The SWF sound is a bit less bass-heavy, and the somewhat drier acoustic lends more gravitas to the pauses, notably in the introductory section of the first movement and the finale. And while the overall playing of the LSO is more polished, there is greater tension and forcefulness in the SWF's playing -- especially in the first movement, where the "grab-you-by-the-lapels" index is much higher than that with the LSO. Horenstein adopts slightly broader tempos with the SWF, along with more emphatic rubatos and tempo shifts that come across with greater dramatic effect. The second movement is filled with the sort of cantabile playing that seems to have gons so out of fashion these days -- and that is less apparent in Horenstein's subsequent LSO effort. The third movement comes across both more gently and playfully than his latter effort, and the fourth movement comes across as even more of a "grand-scale" statement than his later effort -- only Horenstein and Furtwangler (in my not-so-humble opinion) have been able to pull off the finale with this balance of sturm und drang (and even a couple of Furtwangler's surviving airchecks come across as overwrought). The Haydn Variations may surprise some Horenstein fans and convert a few of te dissenters -- it is one of Horenstein's most playful and witty performances on disc.
Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5/Janacek: Taras Bulba (Vienna "Pro Musica", mono) -- I've only given this disc a cursory listen, but it's going back on the player later, The "big tunes" did not catch my attention so much as the pathos-filled quieter passages of the Fifth. If you're looking for a Fifth with both force and poetry, this one will fill the bill -- in fact, Horenstein's vew of the quieter sections reveals the foreshadowings of the lament-filled passages of the seventh and Eighth ymphonies, a connection I had not made before. The Janacek sounded bold, astringent, and surprisingly detailed. In the BBC interview of Horenstein with Alan Blyth that has accompanied at least three commercial rleases on Unicorn and BBC, Horenstein has described Janacek as an unpolished and unpretentious craftsman, and spoke warmly of his music -- and Horenstein conveys the inimitable ruggedness of Janacek without exaggeration.
Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring (SWF, mono)/Firebird (SWF, stereo) -- It's on right now. Do not expect the every-note-in-the-right-place Boulez approach to Stravinsky -- Horenstein makes it sound more balletic, but does not lose the rustic bite missing from so many "technically polished" Rites.
Vox plans on releasing their remaining Horenstein holdings; according to the liner notes, these couplings are in the offing:
Dvorak: Sym. 9/Janacek: Sinfonietta
Haydn: Creation/Sym. 104
Beethoven: Eroica (stereo '57)/Haydn: Sym. 101
Beethoven: Sym. 5 & 6
Beethoven: Sym. 9
Prokofiev: Sym. 1 & 5/Chout Suite/ Lt. Kije Suite
Mozart: Requiem
I hope they don't forget his earlier Eroica while they're at it.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
The violins dominate a little, but the sound is fine... Dec 3 2005
By Alan Majeska - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I learned Brahms Symphony 1 with this recording on a Vox LP during my last years of high school (1976-77) and still have an affection for this recording. Jascha Horenstein (1899-1973) is known today for many live recordings, preserved now on CD, but this 1958 studio recording in a special Vox Horenstein edition is beautifully remastered and makes a good case for Horenstein's Brahms. The only possible deficiency I noticed was an overbalancing of the upper strings: the violins dominate a little in Symphony 1:I and IV, but the overall sound is fine, if not on the level of the best stereo analog recordings made in the 1960s and 70s.

The "Haydn Variations" are no less successful, and are very well played and recorded.

Horenstein's fans should be thankful for this release, as I am. In the past 30 years, I've become more acquainted with great recordings of this symphony by Steinberg/Pittsburgh (MCA),

Walter/Columbia (CBS), Szell/Cleveland (Sony), Bernstein/New York (Sony), Karajan/Berlin (DG, 1978), and Bohm/Vienna (DG, 1975). All of those orchestras are better than the Southwest German Radio Orchestra was in Horenstein's 1958 recording, but if you are a Horenstein fan or just want a good, solid Brahms 1, this will not disappoint.
The Teutonic spirit sings loud and clear in this hearty spirited reading despite dated odd sound. Dec 15 2014
By david - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Performance and playing: 9/10
The South West German Radio Orchestra is a fine band and despite the absence of those deep richly upholstered strings (I was going to say springs!) of a world class symphony orchestra can knock the spots player for player off of most of them.

In particular they approach Brahms as a purely Germanic composer - dynamic, deeply serious and often tragic. This performance completely wipes the efforts of the Vienna Philharmonic for example off the map in either its Solti or Giulini formats where rigor mortis has set in. This is not only because these respective conductors can't hold a candle to Horenstein - that is painfully obvious when one listens to their sluggish accounts - but there is the difference between a swift race bred horse and a lumbering shire in the orchestras. The SWDR carries as much weight as the Vienna Phil, but is far more flexible, poised and expressive. One is constantly cheated on those modern digital recordings yet constantly uplifted by the 1950s early stereo Vox recording.

Why only 4 stars then? Well the sound is harsh and somewhat strange. I couldn't make out whether it was actually re-channelled to simulate stereo. The winds are predominantly on the left, where the violins should be, the strings seem to be entirely grouped on the right. Brass tends to pop up in either extreme stereo separation or in the centre. It sounds as if the sound recordist was on amphetamines, but the overall effect is gloriously exciting and successful. You will never hear it like this in a concert hall, and that's a good thing.

But it may not be to everybody's taste especially those who have invested in a 5.1 or SACD system.

I think it's great - almost as good Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic and confirmation of my view that ONLY Germans are worth listening to in Brahms large scale works, orchestral and choral.


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