Brahms: Symphony No. 1 - Konwitschny

Brahms: Symphony No. 1 - Konwitschny

Berlin Classics x Tower Record  0301397BC

Stereo Hybrid

Classical - Orchestral

Brahms: Symphony No. 1
Beethoven: Grosse Fuge
Mozart: Adagio and Fuge

Gewandhausorchester Leipzig
Franz Konwitschny, conductor

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Analogue recording
Comments (1)

Comment by Athenaeus - October 2, 2023 (1 of 1)

This disc was released about four years ago, but I only ordered it last month. So, I am somewhat late to the party.

This is definitely one the great Brahms First recordings!

It's Brahms on a grand scale: the performance lasts 48 minutes! But it never drags; on the contrary, it flows beautifully. I love the old Leipzig sound where the strings have a nice burnish and the winds are both characterful and noble. That sound is on full display here.

Sonically, this isn't a demonstration recording. However, the sound never gets in the way of fully appreciating the music. I found an online review for a previous incarnation of this recording on RBCD. The reviewer complained about the poor sound quality. Those problems seem to have been mitigated with the present SACD release. Christoph Stickel — the engineer for Tower Records' series of Eterna reissues — seems quite adept at getting the best out of these old East German tapes. I guess, then, it's worth paying more for the SACD version.

The fillers are Mozart's Adagio and Fugue in C minor and Beethoven's Great Fugue. These are the orchestrated versions, which makes them real rarities. (I would have liked to know by whom they were orchestrated, but I was unable to find that piece of information.)

The Brahms and Mozart were Konwitschny's last studio recordings before he died suddenly of a heart attack. This Brahms First is certainly a bequest any conductor would be proud of.