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Brahms: Symphonies 2 & 3 - Janowski

Brahms: Symphonies 2 & 3 - Janowski

PentaTone Classics  PTC 5186308

Stereo/Multichannel Hybrid

Classical - Orchestral


Brahms: Symphony No. 2 in D Major Op. 73, Symphony No. 3 in F Major Op. 90

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
Marek Janowski (conductor)

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Review by John Broggio - February 11, 2008

This is the second (of three) discs that the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra are recording the Brahms symphonies under Marek Janowski (their first release is Brahms: Symphony No. 1 - Janowski).

This is superficially more enjoyable than the first release; the excellent sound is still a feature of the cycle and the playing is arguably better. However, the continual weak link is the overall conception portrayed by Janowski and the PSO. Each phrase is nigh on perfect but there is little sense of continuity of line nor of an overall conception within each movement, let alone the symphonies. This leads to some very troublesome shifts of gear where, if one was to be uncharitable, then one would imagine Janowski was playing to the gallery (such as in the closing bars of the second symphony).

The balances within the orchestra are extremely well judged, the execution of each phrase very well done - however, where is the organic growth, development and exploration of Brahms' ideas? At least there is little posturing of the grandiose manner exhibited by some conductors that weights down the scoring to a huge soggy mess. What is less forgiveable though is the unchanging response to the very different symphonies; where is the pastoral beauty (with foreboding storm clouds) of the second or the raw power of the third? Sadly, it is not present in these accounts and this disc cannot be recommended ahead of Brahms: 4 Symphonies - Bychkov for these works who seems to have a better measure of the music.

Disappointing from a musical standpoint.

Copyright © 2008 John Broggio and HRAudio.net

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