Brahms: Serenades 1 & 2 - Masur
PentaTone RQR PTC 5186 188
Classical - Orchestral
Brahms: Serenade No. 1 in D Op. 11, Serenade No. 2 in A Op. 16
Kurt Masur (conductor)
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Recorded in September 1981 (No. 2) and in September 1980 (No. 1) at the Paul-Gerhardt-Kirche, Leipzig, Germany
Recording producer: Bernd Ruge (a VEB Deutsche Schallplatten recording)
Sound engineer: Claus Strüben
DSD remastered (DSD 64fs) by Polyhymnia International B.V
Mastering facility: Polyhymnia International B.V
Tape transport: Studer A80 8-channel
Tape electronics: 8-channel reproduction electronics custom build by Polyhymnia International B.V
Dolby A unit: Modified by Polyhymnia International B.V
A/D converter: EMM Labs mk III, 8-channel DSD converter
Mastering tools: Pyramix Virtual Studio by Merging Technologies
Surround version: 4.0
Monitoring speakers: Bowers & Wilkins 801, 802 Nautilus series
Cables: Analogue, digital interconnects and loudspeaker cables by van den Hul
Review by John Broggio - October 3, 2007
After some recent RQR releases, I was beginning to fear that Pentatone was nearing the bottom of the barrel of Philips' archive - I need not have done so on this account!
Firstly, the sound - how beautiful it is; dating from September 1981 this is surely one of Philips' last forays into the realm of MCH recordings until they started again in the mid/late 1990's. Because of the relative modernity of the recording there is absolutely no need to fear a deterioration of sound; nor, I suspect, is this an early digital recording (the notes are not ideally clear on this matter) for there is none of the digititus that mars many a 1980-something release.
All of this would, of course, be no good if the performances were not of the same calibre and they are! This is a delightful document of a great orchestra enjoying one of its many heydays and Masur directs them in glowing, rustic accounts of these early Brahms compositions. For those beginning to get nervous, fear not! This is far from the rusticity of some - think more of VPO in the 1970's playing Beethoven's "Pastoral" symphony and the sounds are not too dissimilar. There is far more warmth though than would typically have been granted to Beethoven and the feeling of joy permeates the readings. When the musical mood darkens, the clouds do appear on the horizon but they are quickly banished. A particularly enjoyable account is that of the Second Serenade which, without violins, has an autumnal feeling that is still radiant in its execution. Also, unlike Pentatone's modern Brahms release (Brahms: Symphony No. 1 - Janowski) here is an example of Brahms conducting that is entirely natural in feeling with completely idiosyncratic rubato.
Very enjoyable indeed.
Copyright © 2007 John Broggio and HRAudio.net