WALTER conducts Brahms (1941-54) - PABX005

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WALTER conducts Brahms (1941-54) - PABX005

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Overview

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,
cello
Erica Morini,
violin
Myra Hess,
piano
Clifford Curzon,
piano
Enid Szantho,
contralto
Rosanna Carteri,
soprano
Boris Christoff,
bass

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

Save 5% when you purchase all three volumes together

This set contains the following albums:

Click below to expand note:
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 instruments were exchanged.

    More challenging was the Symphony No. 3, where two source recordings were used for several sections of the recording. One was damaged in upper frequencies, the other in the lower frequencies. Following digital pitch and tempo stabilisation and synchronisation I was able to digitally copy and paste good upper frequencies over good lower frequencies to produce a perfectly matched and utterly convincing new whole, a technique I believe may never have been successfully attempted before, and which restores what would otherwise have been unusable sources to their full glory.

  • Andrew Rose

  • WALTER conducts Brahms, Volume 3 (1941-52) - PASC494

    This final entry in the Walter conducts Brahms series features only one recording from the 1951 series around which it has been constructed, the previously unissued and stunning performance with Clifford Curzon of the Piano Concerto No. 1. The surviving source for this recording has suffered some mild deterioration over the last 66 years that can at times be heard, but never to the extent that it distracts from the performance - in this we have I hope largely achieved the wish of the New York Times correspondent who wished it "might have been transfixed and preserved immaculate for the generations" - if not quite immaculate, then pretty close to it. It's certainly a major addition to the Walter discography.


    For the rest of this release I've had to sift through the archives - not all of Walter's 1951 performances survive, and there we no performances of either the German Requiem or the Alto Rhapsody in the series. The latter, from a 1941 Carnegie Hall performance appears here for the first time, whilst I decided on the Italian performance of the German Requiem  for both better sound quality and an unusually slower tempo from Walter than the other performances captured at this time. In both cases I've done what I can with the archive material available to me - the age of the Alto Rhapsody is reflected in a limited frequency range, whilst there is some top end hash heard during some of the louder passages of the Requiem.


    The other two recordings here come from the same Hollywood Bowl performance that appears on Volume 1 of this series, and yes, once again the crickets make an appearance towards the end of the Haydn Variations!


    Andrew Rose

    Click below to expand track listing:
    WALTER conducts Brahms, Volume 1 (1947-54) - PASC485


    • BRAHMS Schicksalslied (Song of Destiny), Op. 54
      Hugo Strelitzer Choir, Hollywood Bowl Orchestra

    • BRAHMS Tragic Overture, Op. 81
       
    • BRAHMS Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 68
       
    • BRAHMS Hungarian Dance No. 17 in F-sharp minor
       
    • BRAHMS  Double Concerto for violin and cello in A minor, Op. 102
      John Corigliano,
      violin
      Leonard Rose,
      cello

       
    • BRAHMS  Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 73



    Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra of New York

    Bruno Walter
    , conductor 


    PERFORMANCE DATES
    *Schicksalslied: 7 October 1947
    Tragic Overture: 19 December 1954
    Symphony No. 1: 21 January 1951
    Hungarian Dance: 4 February 1951
    Double Concerto: 4 February 1951
    Symphony No. 2: 28 January 1951


    All performed at Carnegie Hall, New York
    except *Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles


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


    • BRAHMS Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat major, Op. 83

    • BRAHMS Symphony No. 3 in F major, Op. 90
       
    • BRAHMS Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 77
       
    • BRAHMS Symphony No. 4 in E minor, Op. 98



    Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra of New York

    Erica Morini, violin
    Myra Hess, piano

    Bruno Walter, conductor 

    PERFORMANCE DATES
    Piano Concerto No. 2: 28 January 1951
    Symphony No. 3: 28 January 1951
    Violin Concerto: 20 December 1953
    Symphony No. 4: 11 February 1951

    All performed at Carnegie Hall, New York

    WALTER conducts Brahms, Volume 3 (1941-52) - PASC494

    DISC ONE


    BRAHMS  Variations on a Theme by Haydn, Op. 56a*
    1 Theme. Chorale St. Antoni  (1:53)
    2 I. Poco più animato  (1:17)
    3 II. Più vivace  (1:02)
    4 III. Con moto  (1:52)
    5 IV. Andante con moto  (1:50)
    6 V. Vivace  (0:58)
    7 VI. - Vivace  (1:11)
    8 VII. Grazioso  (2:07)
    9 VIII. Presto non troppo  (0:59)
    10 Finale. Andante  (4:14)

    11 BRAHMS Alto Rhapsody, Op. 53  (11:02)
    Enid Szantho, contralto

    BRAHMS  Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor, Op. 15
    12 1st mvt. - Maestoso  (20:49)
    13 2nd mvt. - Adagio  (13:36)
    14 3rd mvt. - Rondo. Allegro non troppo  (10:49)
    Clifford Curzon, piano




    DISC TWO


    1 BRAHMS Academic Festival Overture, Op. 80*  (9:27)


    BRAHMS  Ein Deutsches Requiem, Op. 45** (Sung in Italian)
    2 I. Selig sind, die da Leid tragen (Ben è vero che gli affliti son beati)  (10:03)
    3 II. Denn alles Fleisch (Dell'erba al par la carne è vile)  (14:00)
    4 III. Herr, lehre doch mich (Dio, svelami tu)  (10:01)
    5 IV. Wie lieblich sind deine Wohnungen (Le tue dimore sono dolci invero)  (5:01)
    6 V. Ihr habt nun Traurigkeit (Voi avete qui dolor)  (7:16)
    7 VI. Denn wir haben hie (Stabil secle in terra noi non abbiamo)  (10:40)
    8 VII. Selig sind die Toten (Oh, beati i morti che muoiono nel Signore)  (11:27)
    Rosanna Carteri, soprano
    Boris Christoff,
    bass

    Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra of New York
    *Hollywood Bowl Orchestra
    **Rome Symphony Orchestra & Chorus of RAI
    Bruno Walter
    , conductor



    XR remastering by Andrew Rose

    Cover artwork based on  photographs of Walter & Brahms

    *Haydn Variations: 10 July 1947
    Alto Rhapsody: 9 November 1941
    Piano Concerto No. 1: 28 January 1951
    *Academic Festival Ov.: 10 July 1947
    **German Requiem: 16 April, 1952

    All performed at Carnegie Hall, New York
    except *Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles, **Auditorium Rai di Torino

    Total duration:  2hr 31:33 

    Fanfare Review

    “Highest possible recommendation” is simply not good enough here; this is beyond all praise

    Although Bruno Walter is perhaps most immediately identified with Mahler and Mozart, Brahms was extremely dear to him, and in fact is the composer whose orchestral repertoire he most frequently recorded, proportionately speaking. With Columbia, he twice set down the four symphonies, the two overtures, the Haydn Variations, and the Double Concerto, originally in mono with the New York Philharmonic in 1951–54 and then a remake in stereo in 1959–60 with the West Coast incarnation of the Columbia Symphony Orchestra; the mono cycle also included four of the Hungarian Dances (Nos. 1, 3, 10, and 17). He also made pre-war 78-rpm recordings of the Academic Festival Overture and Symphonies Nos. 1 and 3 with the Vienna Philharmonic, and of No. 4 with the BBC Symphony. In addition, there are a 1954 mono recording of the German Requiem and a 1941 mono recording of the Schicksalslied (sung in English as the Song of Destiny) with the NYP, and 1961 stereo recordings of the Alto Rhapsody and Schicksalslied with the CSO. By way of comparison, the only works of Beethoven he recorded three times were the Violin Concerto, the Leonore Overture No. 3, the Symphony No. 6, and the finale of the Symphony No. 9; of Mozart, the Symphonies Nos. 38–41, the Eine kleine Nachtmusik, and the overtures to Così fan tutte, Le nozze di Figaro, and Die Zauberflöte. (The Symphony No. 41, Eine kleine Nachtmusik, and overtures to Così fan tutte and Le nozze di Figaro were waxed by Walter four times.) The only other works he recorded thrice or more in the studio were Schubert’s Symphonies Nos. 8 and 9; Johann Strauss, Jr.’s Die Fledermaus and Der Zigeunerbaron overtures and Kaiserwaltz