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CD Review

Johannes Brahms

  • Symphony #1 in C minor, Op. 68
  • Alto Rhapsody, Op. 53 *
* Lucia Valentini-Terrani, alto
* Coro e Orchestra Sinfonica RAI di Milano/Peter Maag
Orchestra Sinfonica RAI di Torino/Peter Maag
Arts Archives 43058-2 61m ADD
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Arts survey of Peter Maag's live recordings continues apace with this excellent pairing of the Brahms' First Symphony and Alto Rhapsody. The Swiss conductor was a dab hand at romantic masterpieces as his affinity with Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Mozart is well known so it is interesting to have some idea of his Brahms.

The symphony receives a big boned classical reading in the grand tradition, rather similar to Klemperer but also quite close to the excellent van Beinum whose recent reissues on Dutton and Decca have proved to be a benchmark for the First Symphony. I enjoyed Maag's Finale which is handled quite superbly although the Torino orchestra does sound a bit scrawny at times.

The Alto Rhapsody also receives a fine account but my favourite here still remains the radiant Kathleen Ferrier and Eduard van Beinum (available on Dutton). Annotation is adequate and the recordings are serviceable. Not one of Maag's highlights then but still worth acquiring.

Copyright © 2005, Gerald Fenech