Brahms: Symphony No. 4 (Carlos Kleiber/Vienna Philharmonic)
Composer: Johannes Brahms
Work: Symphonie Nr. 4 e-moll, op. 98
Orchestra: Wiener Philharmoniker
Conductor: Carlos Kleiber
Location: Vienna, Musikvereinssaal
Date: 12 and 15 March 1980
Here's the award-winning 1980 recording of Brahms' last symphony, with Carlos Kleiber conducting the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.
Kleiber opts for a lean, austere sound, which is greatly structured and highly energetic. It's a cliche, but once you start listening, nothing can distract you from following it all the way to the end. His tempi are fast, and the dramatic climaxes - the coda of the first movement, for instance - are punched home with the greatest vehemence. The final passacaglia movement is simply sensational: Brahms marks it "allegro energico e passionato", and that's exactly what it comes as. Kleiber's grasp of the architecture ensures a tremendously powerful impact.
Brahms began working on the piece in 1884, just a year after completing his Symphony No. 3, and completed it in 1885. The work was given its premiere in Meiningen on October 25, 1885 with Brahms himself conducting.
1: Allegro non troppo (E minor)
2: Andante moderato (E minor/E major)
3: Allegro giocoso (C major [might also be interpreted as E phrygian])
4: movement: Allegro energico e passionato (E minor)
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