Brahms: Symphony No. 1; Symphony No. 2; Symphony No. 3; Symphony No. 4

Our rating 
2.0 out of 5 star rating 2.0

COMPOSERS: Brahms
LABELS: Virgin
WORKS: Symphony No. 1; Symphony No. 2; Symphony No. 3; Symphony No. 4
PERFORMER: Houston Symphony/Christoph Eschenbach, etc
CATALOGUE NO: VBQ 5 61360 2 1992-97
The recordings are excellent, with a particularly rich sound in the bass, and the playing is robust and vivid, though the wind solos lack character. But slow tempi, coupled with mannered rubatos, consistently rob the music of forward impetus – the third movement of the Third Symphony seems to go through the motions on the spot, and much of the Second Symphony fares little better. Eschenbach takes all the repeats in the symphonies, only adding to the drawn-out feeling of the proceedings. Martin Cotton

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