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Brahms: The 4 Symphonies / Riccardo Chailly, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig

Notes & Reviews:

BBC Music Magazine, December 2013
Dynamic and dramatic readings, faithful to Brahms's intentions. Powerfully conceived, they are rhythmically alert, without an ounce of undue sentiment and never for an instant losing sight of the scores' rock-solid architecture. The Gewandhaus players reward him with magnificent playing, alert and sumptuously rich in sound.

Fanfare Magazine
The overriding impression I got from these performances was of Chailly wanting to blow away the cobwebs, to set aside tradition and to come up with something that sounded different.

Financial Times, 26th October 2013
There's not a whiff of Germanic stodginess, but nor do you feel the music is being unnaturally pushed. Chailly's tempi, faster than 20th century tradition and always consistent within themselves, bring out the "classical" in Brahms, and the Leipzigers' performances - wonderfully lithe as well as meltingly lyrical - are a tonic.

Sunday Times, 17th November 2013
Chailly achieves a refreshing clarity and vividness...Sometimes, I feel, clarity is achieved at the cost of lightening the bass too much. All in all, though, these are richly stimulating performances.

Following the 2011 landmark Beethoven cycle, Riccardo Chailly returns with a recording of the complete Brahms symphonies and orchestral works including the overtures and Haydn Variations.

Rarities include world premiere recordings of two piano intermezzi orchestrated by Paul Klengel (brother of the Gewandhaus' long-standing principal cellist Julius Klengel); the 9 Liebeslieder waltzes; the original first performance version of the Andante of Symphony No. 1 and the even rarer revised opening of the Fourth Symphony.

Chailly has radically rethought his approach to these works, re-examining the scores and returning to the recorded interpretations of a generation of conductors alive during Brahms' lifetime, principally Felix Weingartner and one of his Gewandhaus predecessors Bruno Walter.

Chailly's Brahms is highly regarded by leading critics "Chailly has worked well to create a style of interpretation which mixes the orchestra's 250-year-old tradition with thoroughly modern, historically informed performance practice. This made for no-nonsense, unstuffy, youthful Brahms." Musical Criticism 2007.

The Daily Telegraph reviewing his Prom's performance of the Fourth Symphony wrote "Chailly is not a conductor to linger unnecessarily, and he injected the first movement with an uncommon surge and passion... the finale's fusion of structural grandeur and instrumental detail was conveyed with a masterly sense of direction and purpose.".

In October/November 2013 Chailly and the Gewandhausorchester will have residencies in London, Paris and Vienna and Leipzig to perform the complete Brahms symphonies and concertos.

The outstanding pedigree of the Chailly/Leipzig partnership in Brahms was last seen in the award-winning set of the piano concertos Chailly recorded with Nelson Freire, the Gramophone Recording of the Year in 2007


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