Brahms - Symphony No.1, etc | SDG SDG702

Brahms - Symphony No.1, etc


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Label: SDG

Cat No: SDG702

Barcode: 0843183070220

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Release Date: 1st September 2008



The Monteverdi Choir
Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique


John Eliot Gardiner


Brahms, Johannes

Begrabnisgesang, op.13
Schicksalslied, op.54
Symphony no.1 in C minor, op.68

Mendelssohn, Felix

Sacred Pieces for soloists, choir and organ (3), op.23
» no.3 Mitten wir im Leben sind


The Monteverdi Choir
Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique


John Eliot Gardiner


Following on from John Eliot Gardiner’s critically acclaimed recordings of the symphonies of Beethoven and Schumann, SDG are proud to be releasing the first disc in a new series exploring the music of Johannes Brahms.

Recorded live during the 2007 'Brahms and his antecedents' tour, and showcasing the four symphonies as well as Brahms’ major choral works, this series is an important milestone for SDG, heralding the development of the label beyond the music of Johann Sebastian Bach and the Renaissance choral repertoire which have so far dominated its catalogue.

Brahms’ large-scale music is brimful of vigour, drama and a driving passion - says John Eliot Gardiner in his introductory notes. One way to release these characteristics is, for the conductor, to set his symphonies in the context of his own superb and often neglected choral music, and that of the old masters he particularly cherished  and studied (Schütz and Bach especially) and of recent heroes of his (Mendelssohn, Schubert and Schumann). “This way”, says Gardiner, “we are able to gain a new perspective on his symphonic compositions, drawing attention to the intrinsic vocality at the heart of his writing for orchestra”.

Composing such substantial choral works as Schicksalslied, which also features on this release, gave Brahms invaluable experience of orchestral writing years before he brought his first symphony to fruition. Solemnity, pathos, terror and jubilation are all experienced and encapsulated before they come to a head in the finale of the first symphony.

The conductor himself chose the illustrations for the covers of this series, paintings by Sir Howard Hodgkin (who is Gardiner’s first cousin), as the layers of intense colour in the acclaimed painter’s work seem to Gardiner to perfectly match the marvellous different layers of sound in Brahms’ orchestra. Inside the elegant packaging, the liner notes feature an in-depth conversation between John Eliot Gardiner and composer Hugh Wood.

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