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Klassiek - Verschenen op 4 juni 2021 | ECM New Series

Hi-Res Booklet
Arnold Schoenberg called him "Brahms the Progressive". Whilst Johannes Brahms’s musical language and formal cosmos were deeply rooted in the past, by burrowing into the music of Bach and Beethoven he brought forth compositional fabrics of a tight-knit perfection that pointed far into the future. Yet, over years of continuously evolving interpretations, Brahms’s oeuvre has acquired an inappropriate heaviness more likely to conceal the fabric of his music than to unveil the subtle intricacies of its "developing variations", to quote Schoenberg’s term for his compositional method. András Schiff emphasizes precisely this point in his new recording of the two piano concertos with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. These developments, need it be said, are also related to changing performance conditions and transformations in society. But it is not always easy to say where the causal chain began. What is certain is that the growth of a global audience for music – with a corresponding increase in volume levels, larger concert halls and ever more massive ensembles and sturdier instruments – has led to a distorted image of Brahms that cries out for correction. After all, as Schiff puts it, Brahms’s music is "transparent, sensitive, differentiated and nuanced in its dynamics". In order to bring this to light, however, we must recall the performance conditions of Brahms’s day and reconstruct them as best we can. The Meiningen Court Orchestra, one of Europe’s most progressive and highly acclaimed orchestras of the era, and Brahms’s personal favourite (he conducted it in the première of his Fourth Symphony in 1885), consisted at times of no more than 49 musicians with nine first violins. Moreover, the pianos he preferred, mainly built by the firms of Streicher, Bösendorfer and Blüthner, were more limpid in their sound, richer in overtones, and responded to a lighter touch. András Schiff already turned to period instruments on some of his earlier recordings for ECM’s New Series, including his two double albums with Schubert’s late piano works, for which he used a fortepiano built by Franz Brodmann in 1820. He had used the same instrument for his double album with Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations, contrasting this version with a reading of the same work on a Bechstein grand of 1921. Now Sir András has chosen the conductor-less Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, with its period instruments, for his recording of the two Brahms Concertos. And he plays an historic grand piano built by the Leipzig firm of Julius Blüthner in 1859. The result is nothing less than an attempt "to recreate and restore the works, to cleanse the music and to liberate it from the burden of the –often questionable- trademarks of performing tradition". At times the recordings take on the quality of chamber music, as is especially telling in the last two movements of the B-flat Major Concerto, Op. 83. The result is a performance that approaches the original character of the sound, revealing those layers of the works that emphasise the dialogue between soloist and orchestra – and dispelling the preconception that the Second Concerto is a "symphony with piano obbligato". © ECM New Series
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 10 mei 2019 | Naxos

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen 5 de Diapason
Brahms’ string concertos are indissolubly linked with the musicians for whom the works were written. He wrote his Violin Concerto for Joseph Joachim, and in it he combined what a contemporary critic termed ‘the great and serious’ with songful lyricism, melodic beauty, and a fiery Hungarian finale. To mend a breach with the violinist, Brahms later composed a concerto with the unusual combination of violin and cello, the latter played at the premiere by Joachim’s colleague Robert Hausmann. Neither instrument predominates in a work of reconciliation that embodies both drama and reflection. © Naxos
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 2 oktober 2003 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen Gramophone Record of the Year - Gramophone Record of the Month - Choc de Classica - Hi-Res Audio
For most listeners' purposes, Riccardo Chailly's set of Johannes Brahms' four symphonies will seem standard-issue, with respectable and uncontroversial interpretations from an esteemed conductor, and rich and resonant performances by the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. Even in the choice of filler pieces, the set includes the three orchestral works that are usually packaged with the symphonies: the Tragic Overture, the Haydn Variations, and the Academic Festival Overture. However, this set offers welcome suprises and extra value for the purchase. Two orchestral arrangements of the Interludes, Opp. 116 and 117 for piano, are included, along with instrumental versions of a handful of Liebeslieder Waltzes and three of the orchestrated Hungarian Dances, which may be incentives to listeners who are looking for a little more. Also included are Brahms' original version of the Andante of the First Symphony and the alternate opening of the Fourth. But no one should invest in a set solely on the basis of these extras, however unusual they may be. Since first recording the cycle with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, where he offered a rather heavy-handed modern take on the symphonies, Chailly has gone back to an older, more historically informed style of playing Brahms that was familiar to conductors of the early 20th century. The music is lighter and more transparent, so in some ways, his recordings are sometimes reminiscent of classic performances by Bruno Walter, George Szell, and other revered conductors. For traditionalists, this is a fine set to own, especially if a fresh digital recording is needed. © TiVo
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 23 april 2021 | PentaTone

Hi-Res Booklet
Herbert Blomstedt and the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig continue their complete Brahms symphonies project with a recording of the composer’s Second Symphony in D Major, alongside his Academic Festival Overture. Although idyllic and pastoral at first sight, Brahms himself remarked that he had “never written anything so sad”. Blomstedt and the orchestra bring out all the different moods and colours of this exceptional work, while the Academic Festival Overture provides a jubilant, glorious conclusion. Blomstedt’s work as a conductor is inseparably linked to his religious and human ethos, and his interpretations combine great faithfulness to the score and analytical precision with a soulfulness that awakens the music to pulsating life. In the more than sixty years of his career, he has acquired the unrestricted respect of the musical world. © Pentatone
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 15 maart 1999 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Hi-Res Booklet
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Kamermuziek - Verschenen op 19 februari 2021 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen 4F de Télérama
It's hard to imagine how anything could have been improved upon with this Brahms recital from three of Harmonia Mundi's most sensitive and interesting artists. The programming alone is a work of art: the idea of pairing the viola versions of Brahms's two autumnal Op. 120 Clarinet Sonatas inspired by Meiningen Orchestra clarinettist Richard Mühlfeld, with three further softly intimate works of his showcasing the viola's similarities with the human voice – viola and piano arrangements of Nachtigall from the six Op. 97 Songs (extra resonant, when Brahms described Mühlfeld as the nightingale of the orchestra) and the famous Op. 49 Wiegenlied, followed by the Op. 91 Zwei Gesänge for Voice, Viola and Piano. Then there's the instruments, because for Tamestit and Tiberghien these are just as important to the music's alchemy as the abilities of the performers, and their quest to find the perfect match for the penetrating, multi-shaded tones of Tamestit's Stradivarius viola eventually led them to an 1899 Bechstein piano. The result was two instruments capable of a range of colours and roundness of sound across all registers and through even the most virtuosic of passages; and that's precisely what you hear across the resultant lyrically tender, natural-feeling readings, because beyond the hand in glove chamber partnering you're hearing, their respective tones are both alive with colouristic complexities and verily glowing. Then, beyond being simply delicious, the vocal quality Tamestit draws out from the famous Wiegenlied melody serves as the perfect overture to the programme's Zwei Gesänge – shaped icing on the cake – yet another perfect combination, Tamestit's lines lovingly encircling and dovetailing with Goerne's own richly warm, gentle baritone, the polished Teldex Studio engineering casting them on satisfyingly equal footings with each other, with the piano just slightly behind. In short, absolutely gorgeous. © Charlotte Gardner/Qobuz
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 21 april 2017 | BSO Classics

Hi-Res Onderscheidingen Gramophone Editor's Choice
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Piano solo - Verschenen op 18 maart 2016 | La Dolce Volta

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen 5 de Diapason - 4F de Télérama - Pianiste Maestro - Choc de Classica - Choc Classica de l'année - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 12 augustus 2016 | Ondine

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen Gramophone Record of the Month - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
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Kamermuziek - Verschenen op 23 juli 2021 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet
Emmanuelle Bertrand and Pascal Amoyel celebrate their twenty years together as a cello and piano duet. It is hardly surprising that they chose to mark this anniversary with the music of Brahms, a composer who has been a constant on their beautiful journey together: beyond his two ultra-romantic sonatas, they take the listeners to an even deeper emotional realm, that of his lieder, splendidly “sung” here by the cello! © harmonia mundi
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Trio´s - Verschenen op 15 september 2017 | Sony Classical

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen Diapason d'or / Arte
You may rightly be suspicious of all-star chamber groups: for each one that clicks, four seem put together for purely commercial purposes. But the piano trio on this Sony release, beautifully recorded at what is arguably the premiere American venue acoustically, Mechanics Hall in Worcester, Massachusetts, does not even really fall under that classification, even though all three members are certainly stars. Cellist Yo-Yo Ma and pianist Emanuel Ax are collaborators of long standing, and the interplay between the two here is consistently profound, with Ma's warmth setting off Ax's agile skittering. Too, the trios are made for Yo-Yo Ma, with the contrapuntal intricacy of the music giving the cello lots to do, and in particular giving him a chance to display his wondrous melodic gift. Sample the cello material of the Piano Trio No. 1 in B major, Op. 8. The early work is played here in its 1890 revision, which Brahms altered in many essential ways while leaving the opening intact, and you may wish to own this double album for this moment alone. The opening movement of the Piano Trio No. 2 in C major, Op. 87, is a masterpiece of crisp, confident playing all around, and really the music here ranges from consistent to exceptional, and never leaves any of the performers in his own world. Highly recommended. © TiVo
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 25 september 2020 | PentaTone

Hi-Res Booklet
Herbert Blomstedt, the honorary head of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra to which he was musical director for six years, is still active at the ripe old age of 93. Recorded in 2019, this new interpretation of Brahms’ Symphonie no.1 was conceived by Blomstedt, a devout Christian, spontaneously in wake of current times. “Rarely - he writes on the title page of the first chapter to this new integral - have we had more need for such light than today, when the entire world risks losing its soul”. In fact, the great American conductor of Swedish origin has moulded this interpretation into a humanist perspective that brings Brahms closer to Schubert. The work is gentle and calm with a lyricism akin to a lied. The Gewandhaus Orchestra plays like an immense chamber ensemble, giving this work an atypical tone in which its more rebellious moments seem to be smoothed out.   From this perspective, Brahms sounds somewhat Beethovian, particularly in how the Andante sostenuto is treated as it takes on the form of great love song calling for the unity of all men with an expressionism that is not far off the Adagio of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. This recording is a great moment of live music captured exquisitely by the excellent technical team at Pentatone. The tragic opening, one of the high points of Brahms’ symphonic oeuvre curiously takes on an allure of nobility and classicism as if to quell the tensions that Herbert Blomstedt dreads so much in this world. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Kamermuziek - Verschenen op 22 september 2014 | Mirare

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen Diapason d'or de l'année - Diapason d'or - 4F de Télérama - Uitzonderlijke Geluidsopnamen
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 1 januari 2013 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen Hi-Res Audio
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 2 februari 2015 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen Diapason d'or
Recordings of Brahms' two serenades from the late 1850s are sparse compared with those of the symphonies, perhaps because they're sometimes depicted as preparatory exercises for the mighty four. But they're really not that; they're light works that stand on their own, imbued with the spirit of Classicism, especially that of Haydn, and anyone who loves Brahms knows that his light works are no less profound than his weighty ones. The Serenade No. 1 in D major, Op. 11, is in six movements; the Serenade No. 2 in A major, Op. 16, in five, with each containing both a scherzo and a minuet. That little contrast is key to both the elegance of craft in these works and to the beauty of the readings here by conductor Riccardo Chailly, leading the venerable Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig. Nowhere does Chailly try to push these works toward the Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 68, or even the contemporaneous Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor, Op. 15. Instead he takes them as they are, making them as transparent as possible, letting them breathe and giving them a relaxed, almost joyous quality that does not foreclose the discovery of small details. It may seem surprising to some that musicians as established as Chailly and the Gewandhaus players, who must have performed these works since their teen years, can manage such seemingly spontaneous readings, but there you have it. This is superior early Brahms. © TiVo
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 3 april 2020 | Ondine

Hi-Res Booklet
The second album in Lars Vogt’s Johannes Brahms concerto series with the Royal Northern Sinfonia includes Brahms’ 2nd Piano Concerto combined with a solo piano work, Handel Variations Op. 24, which was dedicated to Clara Schumann by the composer. Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 2 is a romantic 4-movement concerto written two decades after its predecessor and one of the cornerstones in the concerto repertoire. This remarkable opus with a great number of beautiful solo passages and with a duration of over 45 minutes has been intrepreted by numerous pianists since its premiere in 1881. In this album, Vogt performs the concerto conducting from the keyboard. Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel Op. 24 for solo piano were written by the young composer in his late 20s. This work, which includes some technically demanding passages for the pianists, reveals Brahms’ profound interest in the work of the great masters of the Baroque era which served as a source of inspiration in the composer’s creative work. This set of 25 variations and a fugue shows Brahms as a great successor to the tradition of piano variations exemplified by Mozart and Beethoven. ©: Ondine
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 1 november 2019 | Ondine

Hi-Res Booklet
Lars Vogt continues his series of concerto recordings with the Royal Northern Sinfonia with this new recording of Johannes Brahms’ (1833–1897) First Piano Concerto together with Four Ballades (Op. 10) for solo piano. As in previous albums, Lars Vogt conducts from the keyboard. The evolution of Brahms’ 1st Piano Concerto took several steps. Originally conceived to become a Sonata for Two Pianos through orchestration it was developed into a four-movement "Symphony" until reaching into its final form of a "Piano Concerto" in three movements. During the process, which lasted from 1854 to 1856, some movements were also discarded and replaced by new material. This music is packed with much drama. No wonder since these years were particularly tumultuous in Brahms’ personal life: it was during this period when his great mentor Robert Schumann was sent into an asylum and ultimately died. It was also time when Brahms formed a close, lifelong friendship to Clara Schumann. Some of these feelings might well be echoed in the peaceful second movement, Adagio. Brahms’ Four Ballades, Op. 10 are works written in 1854 by a young composer barely in his 20s, yet these pieces are technically mature and profound in such a manner that they could even be compared to his final piano opuses. © Ondine
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Piano solo - Verschenen op 7 april 2017 | Sony Classical

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen Diapason d'or de l'année - Diapason d'or - 4F de Télérama - Gramophone Award - Gramophone Record of the Month - Le Choix de France Musique - Choc de Classica - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
Reviews of this release by Russian pianist Arcadi Volodos, as with some of his others, are split, with a large group of favorable responses and some dissenters. It's often like this with interpretations that are brilliantly executed but fall at one end of a spectrum. In this case, you can certainly find more atmospheric and passionate readings of Brahms piano music. But among those that make you understand why the 12-tone composers loved Brahms the most, not the outer chromatic reaches of Wagner or Strauss, this one is very hard to beat. Much of the music is from the end of Brahms' career, and these pieces are famous for drawing you in with their complexities and never letting you out again. Sample the Intermezzo in B flat minor, Op. 117, No. 2, where the tune is just one of the music's parameters: harmony, register, and dynamics are all tightly controlled, even as the music has a distinctive warm-hearted sadness. In Volodos' reading, there is an uncanny quality that every single note is in its place. At just over 54 minutes, the album is short, but you won't be missing the extra minutes after the feat of concentration that listening to this music entails. In places, Volodos makes Brahms sound a bit like Mompou, the composer whose music put the pianist on the map; it sounds unusual, even odd, but let it connect with you, and it's profound. Sony's production team, working at Berlin's Teldex Studio, creates a suitably inward environment. Very highly recommended. © TiVo
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Symfonieën - Verschenen op 1 maart 1965 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Hi-Res Booklet
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 25 september 2015 | Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen The Qobuz Ideal Discography