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|1. Sym No.3, Op.90 in F: Allegro Con Brio - Un Poco Sostenuto - Tempo I|
|2. Sym No.3, Op.90 in F: Andante|
|3. Sym No.3, Op.90 in F: Poco Allegretto|
|4. Sym No.3, Op.90 in F: Allegro - Un Poco Sostenuto|
|5. Sym No.4, Op.98 in e: Allegro Non Troppo|
|6. Sym No.4, Op.98 in e: Andante Moderato|
|7. Sym No.4, Op.98 in e: Allegro Giocoso|
|8. Sym No.4, Op.98 in e: Allegro Energico E Passionato|
Ce tout jeune chef d'orchestre découvert par Abbado n'a pas froid aux yeux ! À la tête de la Philharmonie de Chambre allemande de Brème, il s'attaque à deux énormes partitions qui nécessitent l'emploi du grand orchestre symphonique romantique. Il a choisi d'en épurer la structure en diminuant le nombre de pupitres. Le phrasé aurait dû être allégé sinon clarifié. Il n'en est rien car ces partitions ont été destinées à la grande formation romantique. L'épaisseur du souffle de ces deux symphonies, leurs pulsations internes se trouvent déséquilibrées, anémiées presque, malgré la tension rythmique que ne cesse d'imprimer Daniel Harding. Sa grande technique, son sens aigu des blocs sonores qui constituent la structure de l'écriture de Brahms ne peuvent pas compenser l'absence des mouvements de houle, la sensualité débordante de vie de cette musique. Il s'agit donc d'une nouvelle expérience sonore mais qui ne remet pas en cause une très importante discographie avec des formations traditionnelles. --Étienne Bertoli
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Charles Mackerras preceded Harding with that idea; Harding also adds some period style by greatly reducing the vibrato in the string sound and hinting at the swelling dynamics we've gotten used to in period Bach, Handel, and Mozart. Those of us who aren't scholars can only say what our ears enjoy. In this case, Harding's feeling for Brahms is as romantic as anyone short of Furtwangler. He has a natural touch with emotional and melodic shaping, which adds up to truly fresh, eminently enjoyable readings.
For its natural musicality, this Brahms Third stands among the great ones. I wasn't that keen on the Mackerras versions because I don't find him an inspired interpreter, but Harding is. In his Third, the winds come through prominently, and the lightness of texture overall is a new experience--fortunately, "Brahms lite" doesn't have to be emotionally stunted. I think most listeners will be engaged by Harding's Third since this work is sunnier than the Fourth and therefore more open to letting extra light in. As for timings, Harding remains within a few seconds of Bruno Walter's famous account with the Columbia Sym. (Sony) except that he cuts a minute off Walter's finale.
Since period readings are almost always fast, I was apprehensive about the Fourth Sym., whose deep feelings can't be glossed over. Harding cuts almost 4 min. off the first two movements compared to Carlos Kleiber's famous account on DG, and beautifully as he phrases the music, Harding's performance lacks somethhing of Brahms's stuggle nad heroic victory. The last two movements return to Kleiber's pacing, which was fast for its day thirty years ago. The Scherzo is really deightful here in its vivacity--Harding makes other conductors seem to plod. The great test is the tragic Passacaglia of the finale, and although Harding takes a traditional tempo, he is too formally balanced to sound tragic. I am impressed by his lyrical approach, but this is the lesser of the two readings on this CD.
In all, Harding's Brahms has been unjustly overlooked, and I think in the quasi-period style he far outstrips the Mackerras accounts on Tlearc that rceived so much initial publicity.
unpleasant. I enjoy some of the "period practice" recordings such as Mozart or Haydn, but for me Brahms needs a large 'modern' orchestra. There are tons of excellent recordings of this symphony from the 1950's through 2011 (say, Simone Young for a recent one). This recording I don't need.