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Symphony No. 1 [Hybrid SACD]

Brahms Audio CD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 48.35
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5.0 out of 5 stars Among the elite May 23 2003
Format:Audio CD
Over the years, the terms monumental, Olympian and granitic have been used to describe Klemperer's performance of the Brahms First Symphony. These impressions are literally hammered home immediately when one hears those titanic timpani strokes rendered by the Philharmonia Orchestra under Klemperer's baton. It is difficult for me to imagine how anyone could not be swept away by the manner in which the entire first movement is presented. It almost seems as if Hercules himself is hauling and vaulting the massive chords. In the second and third movements, the Klemperer/Brahms esthetic yields a satisfying incandescence. In the beginning of the final movement, the conductor wastes no time in returning to the kind of grandeur he brought to the first movement. The music proceeds on its inevitable path, but one senses, all the while, a great conductor at work, imposing his stamp of authority on the music. Some see this view as an overwhelming one, and perhaps this is as it should be. It clearly matches the scale of the symphony. I literally shake my head in awe every time I hear Klemperer churning the gears that build to those final climactic moments. Truly, one of the greatest Brahms Firsts ever made. It stands in the Pantheon with Van Beinum/Concertgebouw and Bohm/Vienna.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Tenth Symphony July 15 2001
Format:Audio CD
The great 19th century conductor Hans von Bulow called the Brahms First Symphony in C Minor "the tenth symphony" to indicate his belief that it was a worthy successor to the nine by Beethoven. It took Brahms decades to summon up the courage to make his first essay into symphonic form, haunted as he was by the shadow of his great predecessor in the German classical tradition. But when the C Minor Symphony premiered in 1876 it was immediately clear that Brahms had not let his idol down. He had created a titanic, tragic masterpiece that ends on a note of hard-won triumph; the final movement quotes famously from the final movement of Beethoven's Ninth. It was the tenth symphony indeed. Klemperer's version with the Philharmonia Orchestra (1956-57) is itself a masterpiece, to my mind one of the few renderings worthy of comparison to Karajan's first version with the Berlin Philharmonic on DG. Recorded at a time of great personal grief for the conductor (his wife had recently died), Klemperer's performance captures the intensity of feeling and the stateliness of Brahms's musical structure with unique insight and empathy. The tempi are slower than what we are used to; the listener feels that the conductor has unrolled every phrase and examined it from every angle to extract the last element of truth. The EMI recording and re-mastering are excellent, making for a powerful and moving experience that lingers in the mind long after the last notes have died away. A must-have for the collector!
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5.0 out of 5 stars erquicke sein Herz! Dec 31 2000
Format:Audio CD
This is an awe-inspiring recording. Dr Otto Klemperer (1885-1973) conducted the Tragische Ouvertüre shortly after his wife, Johanna, had passed away. Perhaps, that is part of what contributes to its powerful emotional statement. The notes written by Robin Golding inform that this and the Academic Festival Overture were written "almost simultaneously." Apparently, Brahms (1833-1897), having written a "very jolly Academic Festival Overture", could not deny his "melancholy disposition the compensation of writing a Tragedy overture." The tragic motif, so severe in its presentation, certainly compensates for anything joyous. Under the steady and sure hand of Dr Klemperer, I am swept away by the broad range of emotions. At about three-quarters through, there is almost a resolution. This, however, is only fleeting as tension and strife complete the overture. I like this interpretation because the strings are balanced by the winds and the rhythm is sharp and precise. The Alt-Rhapsodie was recorded five years later in 1962. It features the highly revered mezzo-soprano Ms Christa Ludwig. The Symphonie Nr.1, according to Mr John Lucas, was performed during the weeks before and after Dr Klemperer's deathbed visit with Johanna. Knowing of this human tragedy only makes the symphony more compelling. If you are familiar with the work of Dr Otto Klemperer, this CD will not disappoint. On the other hand, if you are not, this CD will start your Brahms' collection at the high-water mark.
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5.0 out of 5 stars There are no better Brahms Firsts than this one June 8 2000
Format:Audio CD
This is my favorite piece of classical music, and Klemperer is my favorite conductor. So what do you expect me to say? I've heard almost all of the best-known and most highly praised recordings of this work (except the Horenstein), and there are none better than this one. The sound, which is about 40 years old, is fine. And if you are familiar with Klemperer's conducting, you already know what this interpretation will sound like: firm, architectural, and thrilling in its integrity. Every phrase, every thread of the music, is thought through and presented transparently to the listener. The music seems to be consciously progressing toward its magnificent climax from the very first measure. Particularly fine is the fourth movement, in which Klemperer gives the famous theme a flowing, majestic character which seems to escape all the other conductors - even the greatest of them. The only recording of Brahms First which rivals this one is the Bruno Walter. You can't go wrong with either of them.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Solemn and ponderous
I don't understand why Klemperer's readings are described as "granitic" and "monumental". Slow and ponderous are better descriptions. Read more
Published on June 1 2004 by Anand Ramachandran
5.0 out of 5 stars otherworldly !
arguably the finest recording of Brahms 1st, utterly sweeping and majestic yet with unbelievable foundation and architecture which Klemperer is noted for. Read more
Published on May 20 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars None better, but one among many fine recordings
Klemperer is among my favorite conductors and his Brahms First is among the best, but I favor owning more than just one recording. Read more
Published on Dec 10 2003 by Thomas E Gossard
5.0 out of 5 stars Deliberate and Majestic
Klemperer's recording of the Brahms First Symphony is notable for its majesty and deliberate tempo. The first movement is authoritative and yet gathers enough momentum for the... Read more
Published on April 4 2002 by Clement
5.0 out of 5 stars A Total Brahms Concert On One Disc
This recording of the First Symphony has been a classic since its first issue on lp in the late 50s. Read more
Published on Oct. 17 2000 by Howard Grady Brown
5.0 out of 5 stars EPICO
Extraordinaria interpretación de Otto Klemperer de la Primera Sinfonía de Brahms!!! (No existen adjetivos, para alabar adecuadamente ésta monumental... Read more
Published on Aug. 4 2000 by Francisco J. Muñoz
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the one you want
Every classical collection should have this Brahms symphony, so it just comes down to which one to buy. Go no further than Klemperer my friend. Read more
Published on Jan. 24 2000 by Christopher Smith
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