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Brahms: Symphonies Nos. 3 & 4

Brahms: Symphonies Nos. 3 & 4

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Recipient of Diapason's "Diapason d'or" for June 2022!

Maestro Herbert Blomstedt and the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig close their acclaimed PENTATONE Brahms cycle with the composer’s Third and Fourth Symphonies. Compared to the epic First and gloomily pastoral Second, Brahms’s Third Symphony is a glorious exploration of the chamber-musical possibilities of the symphony orchestra. While musical variation of elementary motifs already plays an important role in this work, Brahms shows his absolute mastery of that technique even more impressively in The Fourth. Blomstedt’s keen eye for analytical detail never goes at the cost of the music’s emotional resonance, and the Gewandhausorchester plays these symphonies glowingly, demonstrating their extraordinary ensemble sound.

Blomstedt’s work as a conductor is inseparably linked to his religious and human ethos, and his interpretations combine great faithfulness to the score and analytical precision with a soulfulness that awakens the music to pulsating life. In the more than sixty years of his career, he has acquired the unrestricted respect of the musical world. The Gewandhausorchester Leipzig is the oldest civic orchestra in the world with a glorious history, and is still counted among the world’s leading ensembles. Their PENTATONE releases of Brahms’s First Symphony and Tragic Overture (2020), as well as his Second Symphony and Academic Festival Overture (2021), received rave reviews.


"After an epic First and a more interiorized Second, Herbert Blomstedt brings a majestic close to a complete set of Brahms’ symphonies that will mark a milestone. To find comparable completeness and height of view, we have to distance ourselves from the serious cycles three decades ago by Abbado in Berlin (DG) and Haitink in Boston (Philips). Right from the start, the almost ninety-five-year-old conductor imbues the 3rd with an oceanic breadth and breath. He thus turns his back on experienced pruning scientists, with this same Gewandhaus, by Ricardo Chailly (Decca).

"The fact that the Allegro con brio has been repeated does not deprive the discourse of any of its subversive charge. This depth of phrasing, this all-sufficiently pleasant rubato reinforces the coherence of the overall architecture. Blomstedt treats the intimate voices of the Andante with quivering warmth, the haunting lament of the Poco allegretto with an instinctive gesture: flow and instant nourish each other there...moving away from the rigorism that we know him for, [Blomstedt] exalts in equal parts classicism and the libertarian flight of the work in abundant interactions. The Allegro non troppo is carried by a phrasing full of lyricism...Reconciling flame and balance, this Allegro giocoso finds no equivalent in the discography, while the final passacaglia is worth by the imperious stability of its pulsation[.]

"Let us hear in such a rich spectrum not so much a testament as a fulfilment."

--Hugues Mousseau, Diapason

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  • Release Specifications

    • Number of Discs: 1
    • Release Date:
    • Label: Pentatone Music
    • UPC/Barcode: 827949085260
    • Item Number: PTC5186852