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  Esoteric -
  Brahms: Symphony No. 2, Overtures - Barbirolli
  Brahms: Symphony No. 2 in D major Op. 73, Tragic Overture Op. 81, Academic Festival Overture Op. 80

Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
John Barbirolli (conductor)
Track listing:
  Classical - Orchestral
Recording type:
Recording info:

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Related titles: 2

Reviews: 1

Review by Jonalogic February 4, 2011 (11 of 14 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
This a slightly odd one to call. It's certainly not an obvious Barbirolli candidate for remastering - anyone for his Mahler, Sibelius or British music? See below for more specific ideas.

Anyway, here it is, and it needs dispassionate reviewing. If you like your Brahms lush and laid-back, played very much in 60's big-band style, here it is. I feel this traditional approach works rather better in the symphony, which is - of course - his most genial. The beautiful, blended sound of the VPO helps immeasurably, of course. In the overtures, however, I kept feeling that some more energy, forward thrust and raw excitement would not come amiss - Solti's pile-driver Tragic is my reference, here. But others may well disagree.

The sound is, perhaps, a tad less controversial. The re-mastering here has resulted - 50 years after its original 1961 release in vivid, airy, timbrally accurate and transparent sound that is - miraculously - as fresh as a daisy. Nice job! This is palpably the VPO playing in the Musikverein. OK, this is no staging demon, but EMIs of that period weren't really like that.

The two overtures are miked a bit more distantly than the symphony but - unusually for me - I prefer the latter on this occasion.

But, bottom line, this sounds a damn sight better than most of the old ASD 2000-series Nipper vinyls that I have in my possession. More, please, Esoteric!

But now a heartfelt plea - why not the blindingly obvious Barbirollis, guys? I refer, of course, to ASD 521 - English string music of Elgar and Vaughan Williams (with the classic reading of the Tallis Fantasia) and AD 656 - of course the immortal reading of the Elgar Cello Concerto with Jacqueline DuPre and Sea Pictures with Janet Baker. These are two indisputable and iconic classics of the gramophone. C'mon!

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Works: 3  

Johannes Brahms - Akademische Festouvertüre (Academic Festival Overture), Op. 80
Johannes Brahms - Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 73
Johannes Brahms - Tragische Ouverture (Tragic Overture), Op. 81