WALTER conducts Brahms (1941-54) - PABX005

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WALTER conducts Brahms (1941-54) - PABX005

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BRAHMS Symphony No. 1 - Symphony No. 2 - Double Concerto - Song of Destiny - Tragic Overture - Hungarian Dance No. 17 - Symphony No. 3 - Symphony No. 4 - Piano Concerto No. 2 - Violin Concerto - Piano Concerto No. 1 - Haydn Variations - Alto Rhapsody - Academic Festival Overture - Un Requiem Tedesco (A German Requiem, sung in Italian)

Recorded 1941-1954

Bruno Walter
, conductor
John Corigliano, violin
Leonard Rose,
Erica Morini,
Myra Hess,
Clifford Curzon,
Enid Szantho,
Rosanna Carteri,
Boris Christoff,

Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra of New York
Hugo Strelitzer Choir
Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra
Rome Symphony Orchestra & Chorus of RAI

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This set contains the following albums:

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WALTER conducts Brahms, Volume 1 (1947-54) - PASC485

Bruno Walter's 1951 Brahms Cycle with the NY Philharmonic - and more!

"These concerts apparently find Mr. Walter at the very zenith of his powers, absorbed in a task which is especially dear to him" - NY Times

  • This series is based around what survives of Bruno Walter's fabulous 1951 series of Brahms concerts with the New York Philharmonic, together with other live performances which either fill gaps in the 1951 recordings or, in the case of the German Requiem (Vol. 3), add to the 1951 programme. A number of major recordings, including two of the symphonies, have never been issued before; in other cases we have gained access to sonically superior sources to those used in previous releases.

    There is some variation in sound quality across the recordings, some of which have required extensive repair and restoration. What shines throughout is the fabulous musicality of these truly historic concert accounts of Brahms' music, as given by Walter and the New York Philharmonic. 

    One of the highlights of this first of three 2-CD volumes is a previously-unissued recording of the First Symphony. This was original played alongside the Tragic Overture and the Violin Concerto, neither of which has apparently survived in usable recorded form (a correspondent reports "a horrible transfer to a defective private LP" of the Violin Concerto with Francescatti); here we've replaced the Overture with a later New York performance, a later disc will include a 1953 NY recording of the Violin Concerto. The Song of Destiny which completes the first disc was not performed at the New York concerts - the present recording is taken from a 1947 Hollywood Bowl concert, conducted in the open air by Walter to the (occasional) gentle accompaniment of crickets chirruping in the background.

    The second disc here offers the third concert programme in full. Of the recordings it is the Double Concerto which is perhaps of greatest interest to collectors - previous outings on various dubious Italian labels have offered badly muffled, congested and inferior sound. By comparison it is clean and clear here, as are the other two recordings. I had to deal with occasional peak distortion in the first movement of the Second Symphony where it was originally recorded at levels which overloaded during the loudest sections, something I've endeavoured to bring under control here.

    Volume Two in this series will complete the symphonies, accompanied by two concertos, whilst the final volume will include a previously unissued recording of the Piano Concerto No. 1 from the 1951 New York series, together with a later performance of A German Requiem and other works.

    Andrew Rose

  • WALTER conducts Brahms, Volume 2 (1951/53) - PASC489

    Bruno Walter's 1951 Brahms Cycle with the NY Philharmonic continues

    Rare and previously unissued live Brahms recordings from Carnegie Hall

    This series continues here with what survives of Bruno Walter's fabulous 1951 series of Brahms concerts with the New York Philharmonic, together with a later live performance of the Violin Concerto which fills the gap in the 1951 recordings left by the apparent loss of a performance with Zino Francescatti.

  • Preparing this release has required some major technical innovation, both in the Symphony No. 3, previously unissued, and the Violin Concerto. As outlined in the quoted review in our CD liner notes of a previous issue of the latter, things went wrong during the first movement, culminating in a momentary silence from the soloist - the result of a broken string. Morini quickly borrowed the violin offered by the orchestra's leader, John Corigliano and carried on playing while he replaced her broken string.That gap here is filled by the seamless mixing in of Morini's 1956 studio recording for Westminster at around 11 minutes to patch the gap whilst