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SG 703
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SG 703

Brahms - Symphony No.2

The Classical Shop
release date: November 2009

Originally recorded in 2009

Artists:

Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique


John Eliot Gardiner


Nathalie Stutzmann

contalto

The Monteverdi Choir



Venue:

Salle Pleyel, Paris

Nov 2007

Producer:

Isabella de Sabata



Engineer:

Mike Hatch



Record Label
SDG

Genre:

Vocal & Song




Total Time - 73:24
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JOHANNES BRAHMS

1 

Alto Rhapsody Op.53

12:57
   
 

FRANZ SCHUBERT

2 

Gesang der Geister über den Wassern D714 (1821)

12:18
3 

Gruppe aus dem Tartarus D583 (1817, arr. Brahms 1871)

2:20
4 

An Schwager Kronos D369 (1816, arr. Brahms 1871)

2:28
   
 

JOHANNES BRAHMS

 

Symphony No.2 in D major Op.73 (1877)

 
5 I Allegro non troppo 19:42
6 II Adagio non troppo - L'istesso tempo, ma grazioso 9:28
7 III Allegretto grazioso (quais andantino) - Presto ma non assai - Tempo I 5:06
8 IV Allegro con spirito 9:05
   
Brahms: Symphony No. 2; Alto Rhapsody. Schubert: Gesang der Geister über den Wassern etc. – Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique, John Eliot Gardiner

SDG is proud to be releasing a new series that sees John Eliot Gardiner and his Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique explore the music of Johannes Brahms.

Importantly, Gardiner has set the symphonies of Brahms in the context of the composer’s own superb and often neglected choral music, of the old masters he particularly cherished (Schütz and Bach especially) and of more recent heroes of his (Mendelssohn, Schubert and Schumann). In doing so, Gardiner gains a new perspective on his symphonic compositions, drawing attention to the intrinsic vocal quality at the heart of his writing for orchestra.

This project not only celebrates Brahms the composer, but traces the roots from which Brahms drew his creative inspiration. No other composer of the nineteenth century had such a close and informed relationship to music of the past, and for this reason, great choral works by composers as varied as Bach, Schütz and Mendelssohn are performed alongside Brahms’s compositions.

‘…this is one of the most stimulating Brahms releases to have appeared in recent years.’

BBC Music

‘A good start to what promises to be a fascinating series.’

The Guardian

‘The singing of the Monteverdians is luminous.’

The Sunday Times



Following on from the phenomenal worldwide success of the first release in the Brahms series (recently nominated in the orchestral category of the 2009 BBC Music Awards), SDG continues the series with Brahms’ Symphony 2 which sees John Eliot Gardiner and his Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique explore the music of Johannes Brahms.

Importantly, Gardiner has set Brahms’ symphonies in the context of his own superb and often neglected choral music, and that of the old masters he particularly cherished (Schütz and Bach especially) and of recent heroes of his (Mendelssohn, Schubert and Schumann).

The recordings from this series are drawn from Gardiner’s two-year Brahms and his Antecedents project which not only celebrated Brahms the composer, but traced the roots from which Brahms drew his creative inspiration. No other composer of the 19th century had such a close and informed relationship to music of the past and for this reason, great choral works by composers as varied as Bach, Schütz and Mendelssohn are performed alongside Brahms’ compositions.

Brahms’ dark, deeply personal and moving Alto Rhapsody for alto solo, male chorus and orchestra is included here alongside three choral works by Franz Schubert. In Schubert’s Gesang der Geister über den Wassern D714 (1821) comparisons between the two composers could not be more clear. Brahms draws on the effective example of his beloved Schubert firstly by composing the rhapsody for male chorus and secondly, basing the work upon a poem by Goethe.

The lyrical beauty of Brahms’s Second Symphony makes it perhaps the most popular of the four works he composed in this form. The contrast between this symphony and the heroic First is complete, and it is strikingly analogous to the differences between Beethoven’s Fifth and Sixth symphonies.

Inside the same elegant packaging used for the Bach Cantatas CDs, the booklet notes feature an in-depth conversation between John Eliot Gardiner and composer Hugh Wood.
 

"John Eliot Gardiner and the ORR continue their Brahms symphonies series with this live recording of No 2, with the heartfelt Alto Rhapsody (soloist Nathalie Stutzmann) and three Schubert choruses as a bonus. Energy and meticulous phrasing truly ignite this score. Strings use limited vibrato, with judicious portamento and expressively varied bowing."

The Observer - 13 February 2009

"The second part of John Eliot Gardiner’s Brahms Cycle pairs the Second Symphony with the "Alto Rhapsody", Schubert’s male voices setting of the "Gesang der Geister über den Wassern", and two of Brahms’s arrangements of Schubert lieder.

Orchestre Romantique et Révolutionnaire’s sound is vivid and clear. Nathalie Stutzmann’s "Alto Rhapsody" is tenderly shaped, depthless, elegant. But for the squeezed tenors and excitable basses, this is an arresting and impressive performance."

Pick of the album: Stutzmann’s poised, thoughtful ’Alto Rhapsody’

The Independent On Sunday - 13 February 2009

"John Eliot Gardiner’s Brahms cycle, performed across two seasons in several venues, was at pains to place the four symphonies, the German Requiem and the Alto Rhapsody in the context of music that Brahms is known to have admired, and which influenced his own works. For the disc of the Rhapsody and the Second Symphony, recorded in the Salle Pleyel, Paris, in November 2007, that context is provided by three of Schubert’s male-voice choruses. Two of them are sung by the Monteverdi Choir in Brahms’s own arrangements, while the most substantial, the Gesang der Geister über den Wassern, seems a direct antecedent of the writing for male voices in the Alto Rhapsody, which Natalie Stutzmann sings with gravity. The account of the symphony is impressive too - the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique sounds on more secure form than it was for the London leg of this tour - and Gardiner’s swift reading is always dramatically sure footed."
 

The Guardian - 13 February 2009

                     Recording of the Month
 
“…We’re now halfway through this Gardiner cycle and the very high expectations aroused by Volume One have been met comfortably in this second instalment. This is shaping up to be a tremendous Brahms cycle, with the vocal items a substantial and enlightening bonus. As with Volume One the attractions of this release are enhanced by SDG’s usual high presentation standards. Last year I made the CD of the First Symphony one of my Recordings of the Year. This latest instalment will be on the shortlist for 2009, I feel sure – unless SDG trump this particular ace by releasing Symphony 3 before the year end. One can live in hope.”
 
John Quinn
 

MusicWeb International - 9 March 2009

"Stutzmann is a wonder here. There is something of a dark self-knowledge in her powerful, deep, vibrato-free register as she contemplates wild nature through Goethe’s forlorn poem. The Monteverdi Choir sounds fresh and youthful in the Schubert. The ORR radiates warmth in Brahms’ Second. The Adagio is a little heavy, but the Allegretto has moving innocence and the finale a combination of relief and rejoicing under Gardner."   ****

Classic FM Magazine - May 2009



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