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ブラームス : 交響曲第1番、ハンガリー舞曲集 他 (Brahms : Symphony No.1 / Dausgaard, Swedish CO) [SACD Hybrid] [輸入盤] Hybrid SACD, Import
[商品番号 : BIS SA-1756] [SACD Hybrid] [64'34''] [Import] [BIS]
録音 : 2011年3月 エレブルー・コンサートホール (スウェーデン)
My disappointment with this performance starts with the opening. The timpani strokes are fast paced and light. The fast pace is not, to my ear, necessarily problematic. Arturo Toscanini, for example, provides a griping performance with the NBC Symphony Orchestra on RCA Red Seal, BMG 82876-62322-2. Under Toscanini the timpani convey an intense, thunderous – albeit brisk -- opening to a Symphony which, to me, is meant to be intense in the opening and final movements. Dausgarrd’s opening, on the other hand, is light – which strikes me as, at best, awkward.
The Toscanini BMG CD is a 24-Bit remastering and while in Mono, the sound is excellent making that one of the numerous superb performances of this Symphony worth considering. That CD comes with Brahms’ 2nd Symphony which is similarly well performed and the sound is also excellent, albeit Mono.
While Dausgarrd slows his pace somewhat throughout much of the opening movement, when considering he includes the exposition repeat, his 15:04 is one of the brisker opening movements I’ve heard when the exposition repeat is included. Solti, by way of contrast, in his magnificent Brahms Cycle on Decca [430-799-2], includes the exposition repeat and performs the opening movement in 16:47. As an aside, I consider it a plus that the exposition repeat is observed; others may differ. In addition, my sense is including the exposition repeat is more important for a full enjoyment of Brahms’ 2nd and 3rd Symphonies than in the 1st Symphony.
A particular strength of this SACD – and one that listeners typically get with BIS SACDs -- is clarity of instrumental detail. That attribute is particularly evident in the 2nd movement.
While the 3rd movement is relatively short and others may disagree with wanting and expecting intensity, to me the 3rd movement should have a sense of drama. Here Dausgaard again provides what to my ear is “Brahms light.”
The final movement benefits from BIS’ [as well as Dausgarrd’s] bringing out clarity of instrumental detail and is quite enjoyable at various points. However, while enjoyable for the most part, occasional moments of awkwardness arise which again convey a “Brahms light” performance – which is not to my taste.
The SACD booklet contains an interesting essay on the musical works by Horst Scholz. Another part of the booklet describes Thomas Dausgaard as being “renowned for the rich intensity of his performances and the remarkable results he has achieved as Chief Conductor of the Swedish Chamber Orchestra.” (emphasis added). Interestingly, it is the lack of intensity in performing this work which calls for considerable intensity that makes this SACD disappointing. I have four other BIS SACDs with Dausgaard and the Swedish Chamber Orchestra: (i) Schubert Symphonies 1 & 2, (ii) Schubert Symphonies 3, 4 & 5, (iii) Schumann Symphonies 2 & 4 (original version) and (iv) Schumann Symphonies 3 & 4 (revised 1851 version). I find each of those extremely enjoyable and return to them often.
This SACD also contains three Hungarian Dances [1, 3 & 10] and the Liebeslieder-Walzer from Op. 52 & 65. The performances sound fine but I am less familiar with, in particular, the Liebeslieder-Walzer and would have preferred a different work as filler – such as the Tragic Overture.
Finally, some suggestions to consider as an alternative to this SACD:
- For those wanting bright, highly defined SACD sound (which can, like this SACD, also be played on a regular CD player) I recommend Andrew Manze with the Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra on a 3-CD CPO set which contains Brahms’ four Symphonies, the Tragic Overture, Academic Festival Overture and Haydn Variations. Manze, who I normally associate with Baroque Music, and the Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra, are far from being among the first I’d think of when looking for a Brahms Symphony. However, when I purchased that 3-CD set after getting an SACD player several years ago because my first choice (at the time) – Masur with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra – was not available at a price I could handle, I was thrilled with what I had. Ironically, about nine months later I found a used “very good” condition set of the Masur cycle at a reasonable price and found it disappointing in terms of sound quality as the Orchestra seemed a bit distant at numerous points. Moreover, Masur’s performances were, to my ear, less vibrant than Manze’s. In addition, in my experience, CPO and ARS have consistently provided the best SACD sound quality (with Lynn, Challenge, BIS and Channel also consistently providing top notch SACD sound quality).
- For those not insisting on an SACD version, there are many marvelous Brahms Symphony cycles on regular CD which come with superb sound including:
(i) Solti and the Chicago Symphony; Decca; 4-CD Set; includes the 4 Symphonies, Tragic and Academic Festival Overtures.
(ii) Istvan Kertesz and the Vienna Philharmonic; Decca Eloquence 4-CD Set; includes the 4 Symphonies, Haydn Variations and Serenades No. 1 & 2 (the Serenades are with Kertesz and the London Symphony and are often referred to as setting the standard for performances of the Brahms Serenades).
(iii) Otto Klemperer and the Philharmonia Orchestra; Warner Classics [2013: 4-CD Set, 50999-4-04338-2]; includes the 4 Symphonies, Tragic and Academic Festival Overtures and the “Deutsches Requiem.”
Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic are likely at or near the top of the list that many listeners think of when looking for a performance of Brahms’ symphonies and the only reason I have not mentioned them until now is, to my ear, the DG sound is, while good, not quite at the level of the three CD sets mentioned above. That said, I have DG’s Original Image Bit Reprocessing (presumably a remaster) of Karajan’s’ 1964 performance of the 1st Symphony with the Berlin Philharmonic which comes with Karajan and The Philharmonic also performing Schumann’s 1st Symphony. That CD – 447-408-2, is one I return too often (for both the Brahms and Schumann 1st Symphonies) and would also highly recommend – albeit one should also enjoy Schumann to select that CD.