Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


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Johannes BRAHMS (1933 - 1897)
Symphony #4 in e Op 98 [37.50]
Franz Joseph HAYDN (1732 - 1809)

Symphony #104 in D, Hob. [25.47]
Boston Symphony Orchestra/Charles Munch
Recorded in Symphony Hall, Boston, USA, April 11, 1950
Restored by Pierre Paquin from RCA LPs LM 1086 (Brahms); LM 9034 (Haydn) mono

Comparison Recordings

Brahms Symphony #4, Charles Munch, BSO [ADD] BMG/RCA 09026-61206-2
Haydn, Symphony #104, Rudolf Kempe, Philh. Orch. [ADD] Testament 1273

Having long felt that the 1958 Charles Munch BSO recording of Brahmsí Fourth Symphony is the finest overall performance of the work ever, I was intrigued to learn that he had recorded it previously, and arranged to hear this recording. This reading is much the same as the later version, but somewhat younger, brighter and more passionate. The first movement timing is identical, the remaining three movements about 30 seconds shorter each. Naturally the sound on this restoration is not so good, being monophonic, somewhat shrill and very bass shy. Applying subharmonic synthesis greatly improved the perception of the performance by making the bass line audible, and that is how I shall listen to it.

Haydn must have known he was writing his last symphony with #104 because in some ways itís the very best one. It has an expression of drama and feeling in the sonata form movements which is comparable with the late Mozart symphonies. Original instrument recordings which soft pedal the sentiment and give us an astringent sounding brisk runthrough are all very well, but with a little help there is a lot of emotion here and comes out strongly and with devastating effect. The very first notes can bring tears to the eyes, and the dialogue in the ensuing development is every bit as intense as the best Beethoven but considerably more graceful. The more you know the previous hundred or so the better you can appreciate this one. Munch and Kempe capture this work about equally, but Kempe has much better sound and is now available on a Testament CD release, as shown above.

Paul Shoemaker


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