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Brahms: 4 Symphonies - Abbado

Brahms: 4 Symphonies - Abbado

Esoteric  ESSG-90192/94 (3 discs)

Stereo Hybrid

Classical - Orchestral


Brahms: 4 Symphonies, Overtures, Haydn Variations

Berliner Philharmoniker
Claudio Abbado (conductor)

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PCM recording

Recorded in September 1987 (Academic Festival Overture); in September 1988 (Symphony No. 2); in September 1989 (Tragic Overture & Symphony No. 3); in September 1990 (Symphony No. 1); in November 1990 (Variations on a Theme by Haydn) and in September 1991 (Symphony No. 4) at the Schauespielhaus (Symphony No. 4) and at the Philharmonie (remainder), Berlin, Germany, 16/44.1

Produced by Christopher Alder, Guenther Breest and Dr. Steven Paul

Balance engineers: Klaus Hiemann, Günter Hermanns and Wolfgang Mitlehner

Re-mastering producer: Motoaki Ohmachi (Esoteric Company)

Re-mastering engineer: Kazuie Sugimoto (JVC Mastering Center Daikanyama Studio)
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Comment by DYB - February 26, 2019 (1 of 1)

Esoteric seems to be going all-in with SACD releases of digital 44/16 recordings up-converted to 96/24. (The newly announced batch has more, including Karajan's VPO recordings of Tchaikovsky's Symphonies 4-6.) The big question is: what are they doing to these digital files and is it worth it? I'm going to do my best not to provide an answer because this is going to be extremely subjective. I bought this Abbado Brahms (and Kleiber's "Tristan und Isolde") because they are particular favorite recordings of mine. And whatever Esoteric is doing to these recordings - I like it. Am I fooling myself? Are they just up-converting the recordings and throwing a "remastered" label on it and stealing our money? I honestly don't know what to make of it. They can't create extra bit depth where none existed. But the sound is clean and clear, and there seems to be more warmth on the BPO strings than regular CDs had. Esoteric are probably just manipulating the sound. I don't know. If you like these performances and you have the extra cash - they're worth the money.

I am disappointed they did not include the Brahms Choral Works Abbado recorded along with the Orchestral. There is a magnificent, perhaps my all-time favorite, Alto-Rhapsody with Marjana Lipovsek that I wish they had also included.