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Brahms: Symphony No. 4 - Janowski

Brahms: Symphony No. 4 - Janowski

PentaTone Classics  PTC 5186309

Stereo/Multichannel Hybrid

Classical - Orchestral


Brahms: Symphony No. 4, Hungarian Dances 1, 3, 10, 17-21

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
Marek Janowski (conductor)

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Review by John Broggio - February 17, 2009

A superb conclusion to Janowski's Brahms cycle.

Directing the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in a clean-cut account without any exaggeration, this is a current first choice for this symphony on SACD. Noble in the slow movement, sprightly in the scherzo and full of weight in the outer movements, all participants revel in their displacing of the bar lines to audible effect. Performed here with less overt Romanticism than many, Janowski's tendency for approaching Brahms via Beethoven pays dividends and blows away some cobwebs that have been allowed to build up in previous decades. Here, the PSO is audibly inspired by their conductor and they fully have the measure of the notes and the music behind them. The only aspect that could have improved the performance for this listener would have been to have divided the violins...

As a (small) filler, we are offered 8 of Brahms' Hungarian Dances in which all can clearly be felt to enjoy themselves greatly. It is a great shame that the whole set was not programmed (at less than 1 hour, there was more than enough room) as the musicianship is most spirited - as ever though, no-one fully captures an individuals preference for rubato in these works so some dances will come off better for listeners than others.

The sound is as rich and full, yet brilliant as ever and full marks must go the engineering team.

A shame that the other releases didn't live up to this standard, for this is wholeheartedly welcome.

Copyright © 2009 John Broggio and HRAudio.net

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