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[Kleiber's] classic 1981 recording with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra has polish and fire in equal measure, displaying that characteristic Kleiber blend of intellectual rigour, passion and... —
Brahms: Symphony No. 4 in E minor, Op. 98
Wiener Philharmoniker Carlos Kleiber Recorded: 1980-03-15 Recording Venue: Grosser Saal, Musikverein, Wien
3. Allegro giocoso - Poco meno presto - Tempo I
4. Allegro energico e passionato - Più allegro
James surveys recordings of orchestral and choral works by Brahms, and selects some of his favourites.
[Kleiber's] classic 1981 recording with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra has polish and fire in equal measure, displaying that characteristic Kleiber blend of intellectual rigour, passion and perfectionism.
Kleiber's charismatic 1981 Vienna recording, a classic of sorts and still sounding exceptionally well, continues to stand its ground. From the beginning, he keeps the speed fairly steady. In the first movement's coda, he scores over many of his rivals with prominent horns and a particularly exciting conclusion. He opens the second movement in a rather perfunctory manner, but the Vienna cellos make a beautiful sound in the piano dolce second subject. In the Scherzo, Kleiber pulls back for the two accented notes that dominate the first theme, an interesting gesture that lends the music an appropriately swaggering gait. This, arguably, is his finest movement – also from 4'48", where he keeps the timpani's triplets crystal-clear, then pushes his horns very much to the fore. Overall, Kleiber in the Fourth is the knight with shining breast-plate, bold, handsome, outgoing, relatively straightforward and (this will court controversy) perhaps just a little superficial.
there's a reason why people revere Carlos Kleiber's classic recording with the Vienna Philharmonic, and that reason is apparent from the opening bar. The way Kleiber shapes each phrase is just magical; the Vienna strings play with a sheen that is extraordinary even by their own standards, and there's some exquisite trombone playing in the last movement.