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CD Review

Johannes Brahms

Alto Rhapsody

Lucretia West, alto
Vienna Academy Male Voice Choir
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra/Hans Knappertsbusch
Decca Legends 470254-2 77m ADD
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'Kna's' affectionate relationship with the VPO is nowhere more evident in these grand, wonderful recordings of some popular Brahms works, surely as different in interpretation as one could ever imagine.

The long drawn magnificence of the Academic Festival Overture is truly earth-shattering; this is a tone poem of expansive proportions that shows Kna's art in creating a climax pressure point. Similar grandeur is to be found in the 'Haydn Variations', which unfolds in typical Viennese fashion. Lucretia West is a mercurial soloist in the lovely 'Alto Rhapsody' whilst the dramatic Tragic Overture is another demonstration of Kna's constructive power.

The 'Siegfried Idyll' is another magical piece, one of the best around although the sound is slightly thin in places. The Legends presentation is suitably attractive with some interesting photographs and a lovely front cover. Although everything is pretty old fashioned, historical lovers cannot fail to be enthralled by such spectacular performances from a master of the past.

Copyright © 2002, Gerald Fenech