Brahms: Symphony No. 3 in F; Symphony No. 4 in E minor; Serenade No. 1 in D

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COMPOSERS: Brahms
LABELS: Decca Double Decca
WORKS: Symphony No. 3 in F; Symphony No. 4 in E minor; Serenade No. 1 in D
PERFORMER: LSO, Vienna PO/István Kertész
CATALOGUE NO: 448 200-2 ADD (1968/73)
Recorded between 1964 and 1973 (the year of the conductor’s untimely death), Kertész’s Brahms cycle benefits from the idiomatic playing of the VPO, and resonant sound, bringing out the handsome tone of the Vienna strings. His own approach matches with Schoenberg’s view of Brahms as ‘epic-lyric’ in tone, though his dynamism can cohere into rigidity of tempo, and there are some curious pockets of imprecise ensemble from so distinguished an orchestra. Also recorded in Vienna, with fresh playing and open sound, were the LSO’s performances of the early Serenades – explorations of symphonic writing that would stand Brahms in good stead when he came to tackle the form proper. George Hall

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