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Luzerner Sinfonieorchester|Brahms: Symphonies Nos 1-4, Piano Quartet No. 1 (Orch. Schoenberg)

Brahms: Symphonies Nos 1-4, Piano Quartet No. 1 (Orch. Schoenberg)

Luzerner Sinfonieorchester, Michael Sanderling

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This is the debut recording with the Luzerner Sinfonieorchester by conductor Michael Sanderling, who recently ascended to the orchestra's podium as of 2023 when the album appeared. A set of Brahms symphonies, a crowded marketplace slot in the extreme, might seem a bold move in these circumstances, but nobody can accuse Sanderling of merely retreading others' steps. His Brahms is broad, slow, and detailed, seemingly opening the works into an expanded view. One attraction here, and one that could well bring buyers to the set on its own, is the rare Arnold Schoenberg orchestration of Brahms' Piano Quartet No. 1 in G minor, Op. 25, that concludes the album. Although all the melodic material in the work is Brahms', the work is quite characteristic of Schoenberg in its rich, brash orchestration. Schoenberg, in explaining why he made this version of a Brahms chamber work, said, "It is always very badly played, because the better the pianist, the louder he plays, and you hear nothing from the strings. I wanted once to hear everything, and this I achieved." That statement might serve as well as a general characterization of Sanderling's symphony treatments here. All of his tempos are well on the slow side. The Symphony No. 4 in E minor, Op. 98, clocks in at well over 46 minutes, perhaps six minutes slower than average for the work. The rest are similarly measured, with exposition repeats adding to the overall heft. Sanderling fills the spaces with orchestral detail. Sample the opening movement of the Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 68, where the slow introduction is atomized into small gestures that do, in his reading, have their parts to play in the music that follows. However, the big tunes, in this symphony's finale and elsewhere, lose some of their impact; the long line is not quite long enough to sustain them. Sanderling is probably at his best in the Symphony No. 3 in F major, Op. 90, with its compact thematic blocks in which he finds unsuspected layers. This new Brahms, also benefiting from the spacious acoustic of the new Orchesterhaus Luzerner Sinfonieorchester, certainly commands attention.

© James Manheim /TiVo

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Brahms: Symphonies Nos 1-4, Piano Quartet No. 1 (Orch. Schoenberg)

Luzerner Sinfonieorchester

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1
Symphony No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 68: I. Un poco sostenuto - Allegro
00:17:16

Johannes Brahms, Composer - Michael Sanderling, Conductor, MainArtist - Luzerner Sinfonieorchester, Orchestra, MainArtist

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2023 Parlophone Records Limited Under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Classics /Erato release, ℗ 2023 Luzerner Sinfonieorchester

2
Symphony No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 68: II. Andante sostenuto
00:09:49

Johannes Brahms, Composer - Michael Sanderling, Conductor, MainArtist - Luzerner Sinfonieorchester, Orchestra, MainArtist

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2023 Parlophone Records Limited Under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Classics /Erato release, ℗ 2023 Luzerner Sinfonieorchester

3
Symphony No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 68: III. Un poco allegretto e grazioso
00:05:03

Johannes Brahms, Composer - Michael Sanderling, Conductor, MainArtist - Luzerner Sinfonieorchester, Orchestra, MainArtist

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2023 Parlophone Records Limited Under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Classics /Erato release, ℗ 2023 Luzerner Sinfonieorchester

4
Symphony No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 68: IV. Adagio - Più andante - Allegro non troppo, ma con brio - Più Allegro
00:17:33

Johannes Brahms, Composer - Michael Sanderling, Conductor, MainArtist - Luzerner Sinfonieorchester, Orchestra, MainArtist

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2023 Parlophone Records Limited Under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Classics /Erato release, ℗ 2023 Luzerner Sinfonieorchester

5
Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op. 73: I. Allegro non troppo
00:21:02

Johannes Brahms, Composer - Michael Sanderling, Conductor, MainArtist - Luzerner Sinfonieorchester, Orchestra, MainArtist

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2023 Parlophone Records Limited Under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Classics /Erato release, ℗ 2023 Luzerner Sinfonieorchester

6
Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op. 73: II. Adagio non troppo
00:10:02

Johannes Brahms, Composer - Michael Sanderling, Conductor, MainArtist - Luzerner Sinfonieorchester, Orchestra, MainArtist

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2023 Parlophone Records Limited Under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Classics /Erato release, ℗ 2023 Luzerner Sinfonieorchester

7
Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op. 73: III. Allegretto grazioso. Quasi andantino
00:05:15

Johannes Brahms, Composer - Michael Sanderling, Conductor, MainArtist - Luzerner Sinfonieorchester, Orchestra, MainArtist

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2023 Parlophone Records Limited Under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Classics /Erato release, ℗ 2023 Luzerner Sinfonieorchester

8
Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op. 73: IV. Allegro con spirito
00:10:04

Johannes Brahms, Composer - Michael Sanderling, Conductor, MainArtist - Luzerner Sinfonieorchester, Orchestra, MainArtist

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2023 Parlophone Records Limited Under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Classics /Erato release, ℗ 2023 Luzerner Sinfonieorchester

9
Symphony No. 3 in F Major, Op. 90: I. Allegro con brio
00:14:32

Johannes Brahms, Composer - Michael Sanderling, Conductor, MainArtist - Luzerner Sinfonieorchester, Orchestra, MainArtist

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2023 Parlophone Records Limited Under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Classics /Erato release, ℗ 2023 Luzerner Sinfonieorchester

10
Symphony No. 3 in F Major, Op. 90: II. Andante
00:09:06

Johannes Brahms, Composer - Michael Sanderling, Conductor, MainArtist - Luzerner Sinfonieorchester, Orchestra, MainArtist

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2023 Parlophone Records Limited Under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Classics /Erato release, ℗ 2023 Luzerner Sinfonieorchester

11
Symphony No. 3 in F Major, Op. 90: III. Poco allegretto
00:05:31

Johannes Brahms, Composer - Michael Sanderling, Conductor, MainArtist - Luzerner Sinfonieorchester, Orchestra, MainArtist

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2023 Parlophone Records Limited Under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Classics /Erato release, ℗ 2023 Luzerner Sinfonieorchester

12
Symphony No. 3 in F Major, Op. 90: IV. Allegro
00:09:18

Johannes Brahms, Composer - Michael Sanderling, Conductor, MainArtist - Luzerner Sinfonieorchester, Orchestra, MainArtist

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2023 Parlophone Records Limited Under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Classics /Erato release, ℗ 2023 Luzerner Sinfonieorchester

13
Symphony No. 4 in E Minor, Op. 98: I. Allegro non troppo
00:14:35

Johannes Brahms, Composer - Michael Sanderling, Conductor, MainArtist - Luzerner Sinfonieorchester, Orchestra, MainArtist

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2023 Parlophone Records Limited Under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Classics /Erato release, ℗ 2023 Luzerner Sinfonieorchester

14
Symphony No. 4 in E Minor, Op. 98: II. Andante moderato
00:12:18

Johannes Brahms, Composer - Michael Sanderling, Conductor, MainArtist - Luzerner Sinfonieorchester, Orchestra, MainArtist

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2023 Parlophone Records Limited Under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Classics /Erato release, ℗ 2023 Luzerner Sinfonieorchester

15
Symphony No. 4 in E Minor, Op. 98: III. Allegro Giocoso - Poco meno presto - Tempo I
00:06:41

Johannes Brahms, Composer - Michael Sanderling, Conductor, MainArtist - Luzerner Sinfonieorchester, Orchestra, MainArtist

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2023 Parlophone Records Limited Under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Classics /Erato release, ℗ 2023 Luzerner Sinfonieorchester

16
Symphony No. 4 in E Minor, Op. 98: IV. Allegro energico e passionato - Più allegro
00:11:13

Johannes Brahms, Composer - Michael Sanderling, Conductor, MainArtist - Luzerner Sinfonieorchester, Orchestra, MainArtist

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2023 Parlophone Records Limited Under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Classics /Erato release, ℗ 2023 Luzerner Sinfonieorchester

17
Piano Quartet No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 25: I. Allegro (Orch. Schoenberg)
00:14:11

Johannes Brahms, Composer - Arnold Schoenberg, Orchestrator - Michael Sanderling, Conductor, MainArtist - Luzerner Sinfonieorchester, Orchestra, MainArtist

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2023 Parlophone Records Limited Under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Classics /Erato release, ℗ 2023 Luzerner Sinfonieorchester

18
Piano Quartet No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 25: II. Intermezzo. Allegro ma non troppo - Trio. Animato (Orch. Schoenberg)
00:07:59

Johannes Brahms, Composer - Arnold Schoenberg, Orchestrator - Michael Sanderling, Conductor, MainArtist - Luzerner Sinfonieorchester, Orchestra, MainArtist

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2023 Parlophone Records Limited Under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Classics /Erato release, ℗ 2023 Luzerner Sinfonieorchester

19
Piano Quartet No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 25: III. Andante con moto (Orch. Schoenberg)
00:10:56

Johannes Brahms, Composer - Arnold Schoenberg, Orchestrator - Michael Sanderling, Conductor, MainArtist - Luzerner Sinfonieorchester, Orchestra, MainArtist

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2023 Parlophone Records Limited Under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Classics /Erato release, ℗ 2023 Luzerner Sinfonieorchester

20
Piano Quartet No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 25: IV. Rondo alla Zingarese. Presto (Orch. Schoenberg)
00:09:49

Johannes Brahms, Composer - Arnold Schoenberg, Orchestrator - Michael Sanderling, Conductor, MainArtist - Luzerner Sinfonieorchester, Orchestra, MainArtist

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2023 Parlophone Records Limited Under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Classics /Erato release, ℗ 2023 Luzerner Sinfonieorchester

Album review

This is the debut recording with the Luzerner Sinfonieorchester by conductor Michael Sanderling, who recently ascended to the orchestra's podium as of 2023 when the album appeared. A set of Brahms symphonies, a crowded marketplace slot in the extreme, might seem a bold move in these circumstances, but nobody can accuse Sanderling of merely retreading others' steps. His Brahms is broad, slow, and detailed, seemingly opening the works into an expanded view. One attraction here, and one that could well bring buyers to the set on its own, is the rare Arnold Schoenberg orchestration of Brahms' Piano Quartet No. 1 in G minor, Op. 25, that concludes the album. Although all the melodic material in the work is Brahms', the work is quite characteristic of Schoenberg in its rich, brash orchestration. Schoenberg, in explaining why he made this version of a Brahms chamber work, said, "It is always very badly played, because the better the pianist, the louder he plays, and you hear nothing from the strings. I wanted once to hear everything, and this I achieved." That statement might serve as well as a general characterization of Sanderling's symphony treatments here. All of his tempos are well on the slow side. The Symphony No. 4 in E minor, Op. 98, clocks in at well over 46 minutes, perhaps six minutes slower than average for the work. The rest are similarly measured, with exposition repeats adding to the overall heft. Sanderling fills the spaces with orchestral detail. Sample the opening movement of the Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 68, where the slow introduction is atomized into small gestures that do, in his reading, have their parts to play in the music that follows. However, the big tunes, in this symphony's finale and elsewhere, lose some of their impact; the long line is not quite long enough to sustain them. Sanderling is probably at his best in the Symphony No. 3 in F major, Op. 90, with its compact thematic blocks in which he finds unsuspected layers. This new Brahms, also benefiting from the spacious acoustic of the new Orchesterhaus Luzerner Sinfonieorchester, certainly commands attention.

© James Manheim /TiVo

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