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Brahms : Symphonies No.1 & 2, Overtures
 
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Brahms : Symphonies No.1 & 2, Overtures

Christoph Eschenbach/Houston Symphony Orchestra
6 avril 2009 | Format : MP3

EUR 10,99 (TVA incluse le cas échéant)
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Titre
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30
1
19:11
30
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11:20
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5:08
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18:33
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11:07
Disc 2
30
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21:40
30
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10:53
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5:23
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9:18
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2:26
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1:17
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0:56
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1:44
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2:11
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0:51
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1:18
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3:00
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0:57
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14
4:10
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Amazon.com: HASH(0x983ccbc4) étoiles sur 5 3 commentaires
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x982cff60) étoiles sur 5 Brahms In Texas (Part 1) 6 avril 2011
Par Amazon Customer - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: CD
Not counting Tchaikovsky, no other major composer was more self-critical than Johannes Brahms, especially when it came to symphonic writing. After all, he composed four symphonies; and the mere fact that he was even able to complete the first at all is a miracle in and of itself, given the shadow of the great Ludwig van Beethoven that hung over any composer that wanted to work in the symphonic arena. Brahms felt it more acutely than anyone else. On this two-CD set, a re-release of Virgin Classics' Brahms cycle done by the Houston Symphony Orchestra and their Conductor Laureate Christoph Eschenbach in the early 1990s, the listener can clearly hear for him or herself just how much of an effort Brahms expended.

The first CD pairs the composer's monumental Symphony No. 1, a work that was twenty years in the making and did not see its premiere until 1876, by which time Brahms was already 43 years old, with the celebratory Academic Festival Overture. The First Symphony, in the portentous key of C Minor, shows how much Beethoven's logical approach to symphonic writing had affected Brahms, to the point where a quotation of the "Ode To Joy" of the Beethoven Ninth slips into the main melody of the work's finale (a point that, as Brahms once remarked, "any fool could see"). And the Academic Festival Overture, one of two concert overtures that Brahms composed in short order in 1880, was composed for the graduating class of Breslau University, which had awarded the composer an honorary doctorate; and given that it utilizes a triangle and crashing cymbals, it has the largest orchestral component of any of his major orchestral works.

The second CD gives us the Second Symphony (in D Major) paired with the orchestral work that helped not only to establish Brahms as a composer but also paved the way to the symphonic genre overall, the Variations On A Theme Of Haydn. The Second Symphony was composed by Brahms in fairly rapid fashion, while on a summer vacation at a spa in Germany in 1877, and shows the composer building on the triumphs of that mighty first with a work that is more tranquil in nature but with moments of drama as well, as well as somewhat larger orchestration (tubas are introduced along with the trombones from the First Symphony's finale). The Haydn Variations, which he composed in 1873 to the theme in a partita for winds that he thought was by the great Franz Joseph Haydn (scholarly research has now indicated that this may not be the case), in the meanwhile, served as a huge stepping stone for the composer, as the orchestral variation form did a lot to coalesce his symphonic ambitions. Eight variations of the theme (known as "Chorale St. Antoni") follow the initial theme, followed by a crowning Passacaglia. Save for the use of the triangle in that last movement, Brahms utilizes an orchestra whose size is no larger than that required for Beethoven's Seventh Symphony.

Having heard numerous Brahms cycles over the years, including those by conductors such as Bernstein, Karajan, Sawallisch, and Haitink (his Concertgebouw and Boston cycles, both for Philips), I do think Eschenbach's survey of them is fairly even-handed, not overtly severe but serious enough (these are, after all, arguably the most profound symphonies by anyone since Beethoven's time). Both of the first two symphonies, the Academic Festival Overture, and the Haydn Variations are expertly done by the Houston Symphony, an orchestra that counted as having had Leopold Stokowski, Sir John Barbirolli, Andre Previn, and Sergiu Comissiona for music directors, but which only attained true prominence on the world stage under Eschenbach's stellar tenure. This counts as a well-earned success on the part of both Eschenbach, the orchestra itself, and in fact the classical music community down in Houston.
HASH(0x982d52d0) étoiles sur 5 Brahms from a different perspective 12 janvier 2014
Par Firebrand - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: CD Achat vérifié
3.5 stars

Go into this cycle with rigid expectations having paid too much attention to critics, and you may be bothered. Toss aside those expectations, and these performances can be interesting. Eschenbach's Brahms is big, romantic, plush, sweeping. Very upholstered with generally slower tempi, with an emphasis on beauty. Eschenbach is in no hurry, so you must be be patient to enjoy takes that are relaxed (that critics say are too much so). It can be described as closer to old school along the lines of Sanderling or Giulini, minus the more challenging insights, with lyricism valued far over chiseling, muscle, and dynamic contrasts. A closer comparison might be Jansons, whose Brahms is similarly big, lyrical (and accused of being sluggish/empty).

Eschenbach at times takes great liberties with phrasing and tempi. It is an approach that has its spectacular moments (the First), and just as many moments of odd maundering. Overall, his interpretations remain within a certain expressive range, with contrasts tempered. Wonderful playing by the Houston symphony, which approached top tier status under Eschenbach, if you accept the interpretations.

The highlight, the First, is huge and monumental, and surprisingly one of the better versions of the digital era. It is one of the few newer (I consider post-1970s newer) offerings that approach the likes of Klemperer, Horenstein etc. for weight and sweep, if lacking some of the muscle and edges of many. The score of the First happens to work better with Eschenbach's idiosyncracies than the other symphonies in the cycle. The Second, a less successful interpretation, is soft edged and lyrical, but short on insights.

I would not recommend it as a primary Brahms cycle, and it does not approach the the very best cycles available, but it is acceptable and at times excellent. Some understandingly find these versions maddeningly inconsistent. As an alternative, it is fine.

It is a pity that in the ensuing years, Eschenbach became a more conventional and "correct" interpreter. This captures him taking more chances. It is an interesting ride.
4 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x982d5ec4) étoiles sur 5 Willful, ego-centered distortions of two great classics 20 mai 2009
Par Santa Fe Listener - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: CD
Here at Amazon the complete Brahms cycle from Eschenbach and the Houston Sym. has received a choir of five-star reviewers. Now the set has been divided into two bargain installments. Caveat emptor. The Gramophone review used words like "afflicted" and "tiresome" to describe Eschenbach's way with the Brahms first. It is so mannered and full of unmarked slow-downs and swooning legato, such a willful disregard for the nature of the work, that even Barenboim sounds like Toscanini by comparison. If you like pulling taffy on a cold day, this is the performance for you.

The Brahms second would seem more amenable to Eschenbach's fussiness, since it's essentially a gentler, more tolerant work, and in fact the first movement proceeds well enough, if you ignore its simpering moments. but the second movement lacks all strength, direction, and purpose. What's the point of maundering through great music unless, as here, you have some ego-driven need to prove something? By the time I arrived at the finale my expectations were shattered, low as they were, but actually Eschenbach pulls tis movement off; it and the two Scherzos of both symphonies at least verge on the respectable. (Needless to say, I fully sided with the musicians of the Philadelphia Orch. when they rebelled against this ambitious but wayward conductor.)
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