Brahms #3 recommendations?

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dB Cooper

Brahms #3 recommendations?
« on: 14 Jul 2018, 03:56 am »
Getting into classical music late in life and was exposed to Brahms Symphony #3 via streaming (Forget which release). As I often do, I googled the work to learn more about it and the composer. Learned that there are widely varying interpretations of this work, broadly settling into Classical and Romantic renderings; some repeating a part at the beginning, some not; and that Brahms was loath to get too specific on his performance instruction (tempos etc), which perhaps contributes to the confusion. BTW, I tend to like the clarity of digital recordings but open to analog with the right performance. Soooo... what is your recommended version and why?

BTW Here is the page I found that discusses the different approaches. Sub-question: Is this kind of disagreement typical of other Brahms works?

FullRangeMan

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Re: Brahms #3 recommendations?
« Reply #1 on: 14 Jul 2018, 04:01 am »
In these romantic period composers you will stay safe with Karajan.

Tyson

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Re: Brahms #3 recommendations?
« Reply #2 on: 14 Jul 2018, 04:05 am »
Getting into classical music late in life and was exposed to Brahms Symphony #3 via streaming (Forget which release). As I often do, I googled the work to learn more about it and the composer. Learned that there are widely varying interpretations of this work, broadly settling into Classical and Romantic renderings; some repeating a part at the beginning, some not; and that Brahms was loath to get too specific on his performance instruction (tempos etc), which perhaps contributes to the confusion. BTW, I tend to like the clarity of digital recordings but open to analog with the right performance. Soooo... what is your recommended version and why?

BTW Here is the page I found that discusses the different approaches. Sub-question: Is this kind of disagreement typical of other Brahms works?

Many people play Brahms like an old man, or "autumnal Brahms" as you'll hear it phrased.  Bleh.  Much better IMO is Brahms of fire and passion.  For my money Chailly and Jochum both capture the more vigorous, intense side of Brahms. 

dB Cooper

Re: Brahms #3 recommendations?
« Reply #3 on: 14 Jul 2018, 04:16 am »
The article in the link did say "Leonard Bernstein’s interminable 1981 Vienna Philharmonic recording should be avoided at all costs." I guess the writer didn't like it?

FullRangeMan

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Re: Brahms #3 recommendations?
« Reply #4 on: 14 Jul 2018, 04:19 am »
Leny was know as an temperamental maestro.

Ralph

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Re: Brahms #3 recommendations?
« Reply #5 on: 10 Aug 2018, 02:27 pm »
If I may, I'd like to recommend a Brahms Third from the 78 rpm era- Mengelberg and the Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam. It is available on Naxos and probably in an even finer transfer, on Opus Kura.

dB Cooper

Re: Brahms #3 recommendations?
« Reply #6 on: 10 Aug 2018, 04:06 pm »
Thanks

limits

Re: Brahms #3 recommendations?
« Reply #7 on: 10 Aug 2018, 07:07 pm »
Hi dB:

I would grab Jochum's box set of EMI recordings, with an excellent version of Brahm's third, while you can. I own two other box sets, and this is by far my fav--but it looks like it is no longer in production, so I wouldn't wait too long...

https://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B008I157AQ/ref=dp_olp_all_mbc?ie=UTF8&condition=all

Good luck;
limits

Tyson

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Re: Brahms #3 recommendations?
« Reply #8 on: 10 Aug 2018, 07:21 pm »
Hi dB:

I would grab Jochum's box set of EMI recordings, with an excellent version of Brahm's third, while you can. I own two other box sets, and this is by far my fav--but it looks like it is no longer in production, so I wouldn't wait too long...

https://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B008I157AQ/ref=dp_olp_all_mbc?ie=UTF8&condition=all

Good luck;
limits

Glad someone else agrees with me about the excellence of the Jochum set :thumb:

Really, check this set out:

https://www.amazon.com/Eugen-Jochum-Icon-Complete-Recordings/dp/B008I157AQ/

It has the complete Brahms, the complete Beethoven, and the complete Bruckner symphony sets, for $36 total!!!  And Jochum is outstanding in all of this music. 
« Last Edit: 11 Aug 2018, 02:34 am by Tyson »

rpf

Re: Brahms #3 recommendations?
« Reply #9 on: 11 Aug 2018, 02:21 am »
I like "autumnal" Brahms. And for that, in very good digital sound, I prefer Rattle with the Berlin Philharmonic on Warner (EMI). For a more incisive reading, try Maazel with the Cleveland Orchestra on Decca Eloquence, in excellent analog sound.

The sound of the Karajan recordings is bright and harsh.

Tyson

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Re: Brahms #3 recommendations?
« Reply #10 on: 11 Aug 2018, 02:35 am »
I like "autumnal" Brahms. And for that, in very good digital sound, I prefer Rattle with the Berlin Philharmonic on Warner (EMI). For a more incisive reading, try Maazel with the Cleveland Orchestra on Decca Eloquence, in excellent analog sound.

The sound of the Karajan recordings is bright and harsh.

Or Bruno Walter with the Columbia SO - for autumnal Brahms style, it's also very very good:

https://www.amazon.com/Bruno-Walter-conducts-Brahms-Box/dp/B00KV19068/

kernelbob

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Re: Brahms #3 recommendations?
« Reply #11 on: 11 Aug 2018, 01:57 pm »
Regarding Warner (EMI) re-releases...  Warner is archiving all of their music catalog to DSD.  They regenerate PCM masters from the DSD "master".  I've compared their CD re-releases of EMI with the original EMI CDs.  Without exception, the Warner CD's have vague bass lacking attack, focus, and instrumental timbre.  Similarly the midrange is not as well focused.

Robert

LesterSleepsIn

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Re: Brahms #3 recommendations?
« Reply #12 on: 11 Aug 2018, 02:24 pm »
Robert,

Just so I understand what you’re saying there ... you’re saying the Jochum EMI set, reference above by limits (https://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B008I157AQ/ref=dp_olp_all_mbc?ie=UTF8&condition=all),
is the Warner/EMI set you mentioned and has questionable, inferior audio quality?

Have you heard the DG Jochum set? I was leaning towards getting that. In addition to the operas I want it also contains a bonus:
• An improvisation on "I Love Paris in the Springtime" played by Jochum on the organ of the Herkulessaal in Munich, recorded for an internal celebratory album in 1974 and never before publicly released.

Back to Brahms 3, I’m surprised no one mentioned Furtwängler with the Berlin Phil, on EMI or the 1989 Abbado also with the BPO on DG.

Cheers,
Lester





kernelbob

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Re: Brahms #3 recommendations?
« Reply #13 on: 11 Aug 2018, 06:31 pm »
Hi Lester,

I don't own nor have I heard the Jochum EMI set you referenced and would need to compare the Warner with the pre-Warner release to see if the differences are consistent with other pre/post comparisons of otherwise identical sources.  However, if it were me, I'd steer clear of Warner.

Jochum is not one of my favorites, but that's just my personal opinion.  Furtwängler on the other than is, to me, special.  Idiosyncratic, yes, but totally committed to the music.  Every performance of a work is a unique interpretation, often influenced by the capabilities/limitations of an orchestra and the frequency of his conducting  Of course, the Berlin Phil sounds like a physical extension of Furtwängler or at least reading his mind.

I just finished surveying performances of Brahms 1st (my favorite of the Brahms symphonies).  I'll look through the recordings of the 3rd.

Best,
Robert

dB Cooper

Re: Brahms #3 recommendations?
« Reply #14 on: 12 Aug 2018, 02:21 am »
Thanks for the suggestions everybody. I'm monitoring the thread.

Is this something Brahms was known for in general- vague performance instructions- or was that just the Third?

andolink

Re: Brahms #3 recommendations?
« Reply #15 on: 12 Aug 2018, 03:29 pm »
Thought I'd put in a plug for my favorite performance/recording of the 3rd symphony: 

The Monteverdi Choir & Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique, John Eliot Gardiner

https://monteverdi.co.uk/shop/brahms-symphony-no.-3

Tyson

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Re: Brahms #3 recommendations?
« Reply #16 on: 12 Aug 2018, 03:53 pm »
Thanks for the suggestions everybody. I'm monitoring the thread.

Is this something Brahms was known for in general- vague performance instructions- or was that just the Third?

It's not that so much as the music stands up to many different interpretations.  Most of the great classical music is like that - there's no "one right way" to perform it, each artist brings his own stamp to the music. 

When I first started getting into classical music, this drove me crazy because I wanted "the best" performance so I didn't waste time or money listening to "non-best" performances.  But nowadays, the variety of performances available is one of the things I love most about classical music.

kernelbob

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Re: Brahms #3 recommendations?
« Reply #17 on: 12 Aug 2018, 06:37 pm »
Before rooting through my CDs for Brahms #3 performance, I'm going through the many dozens of recordings accessible through Amazon Music (around a hundred bucks a year).  I've been making notes as I progress through the list, but I just ran across a CD that includes a live Furtwängler/Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra of the Brahms #3.

Many performances of the 3rd make the work sound fairly light weight and without much in the way of dramatic contrast.  All I can say is this performance brings the 3rd to life, sounding spacious, multifaceted, and organic... alive.

I suggest that you survey of a range of performances to get an idea of the type of interpretation matches what you consider the "right way".  Tyson's point is spot on.  However, as I listen to this Furtwängler performance, I have to give a strong recommendation for it.  Many releases are out of print, but you can find some, even at a bargain price.  I did just order the album that I found on Amazon Music.  I got a used CD for about nine dollars including shipping, just to make sure I have a copy of the one I heard.  I think it's the April 27,1954 performance which I have in a Furtwängler set of 107 CDs.

Best,
Robert

Tyson

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Re: Brahms #3 recommendations?
« Reply #18 on: 12 Aug 2018, 08:05 pm »
Yes, Brahms works best with a sense of high drama and pounding Timpani.  For me, Jochum and Szell nail that aspect more than anyone.  But that's just my preference!  Others prefer a very different approach to Brahms.  Furtwangler is a great choice too, although with more dated sound quality.