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CD Review

Johannes Brahms

Orchestral Works

  • Serenade #1, Op. 11
  • Serenade #2, Op. 16
  • Academic Festival Overture in C minor, Op. 80
  • Piano Concerto #2 in B Flat Major, Op. 83
  • Four Part Songs
Robert Casadesus, piano
New York Ladies Choir
New York Philharmonic Orchestra/Arturo Toscanini
Guild GHCD2337/38 2CDs 146m ADD (Recorded 1935-36)
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Guild have once again restarted the Toscanini Broadcast Legacy series with an interesting double album featuring recordings of works by Brahms from the mid 1930's with the New York Philharmonic.

Although the sound is admittedly slightly boxy and lacks treble, the interpretations are predictably incandescent. It was fascinating to listen to Toscanini conducting the two Serenades, rare works which are truly brought to life notwithstanding the slightly quirky sound.

The second disc features a wonderful recording of the 2nd Piano Concerto with Casadesus on true top form and the master conducting with his usual fire and brimstone. The 'Academic Festival Overture' is also triumphantly done with some excellent contributions from the brass section. I also greatly enjoyed the Four Part Songs with their mercurial contribution from the New York Ladies Choir.

Both CDs are well over 70 minutes and the notes by Robert Matthew Walker make for interesting reading. If you are a fan of the maestro, then you certainly should not hesitate in snapping up this wonderful release.

Copyright © 2008, Gerald Fenech