Mstation Classical Reviews

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Mon, 24 Mar 2008

Beethoven and Brahms

Brahms had a great deal of trouble in getting out of Beethoven's long shadow, in the sense of having his own voice. His friend Robert Schumann had been urging him to compose his first symphony but Brahms was unsure at first of producing something strong enough, and good enough, to stand on its own ... without unfavourable, or even favourable comparisons with the grumpy old master. He had, it is said, a few false starts that ended up being parts of other works.

Out on a Pentatone Super Audio CD (which plays fine in an ordinary player), and with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra conducted by German, Marek Janowski, is modern evidence that he succeeded in his aims, and now the lush and sweeping romanticism of his works stands quite on its own.

In the same breath I should also mention a box set of Beethoven Symphonies - 'The Complete Symphonies' with the New York Symphony conducted by Bruno Walter. This is a digitally remastered version, all 6hrs 51 of it, and is out on United Archives at quite aa reasonable price.

(Baron K)

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