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Can't find a Brahms 2nd Sym I like

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I have a couple performances of the others I enjoy. Abaddo and Jochum in the first. Walter and Jochum in the third. Kleiber and Giulini (CSO) in the fourth. There is something off in all the seconds I've tried, usually in the first movement. Walter, Bernstein, Giulini, Abaddo, Jochum don't do it for me for various reasons. Any suggestions?
Edited by Hadden - 5/5/13 at 1:44pm
post #2 of 8

perhaps the problem is with the Symphony itself. Personally it is the one I like least of the four.

Have you tried Karajan?



it is a vintage HvK recording: less apollonian of his later self, but still very much bent on sounding "beautiful". If you like his Beethoven cycle of the 60s, you will like this. Unfortunately the sound manages to be  rather harsh and veiled at the same time, at least in the mastering I have (which came as part of the 2008 Karajan box).


For me (but I may be in a minority) the guy who really "got" Brahms was Toscanini, and this boxset



is the one I always go back to (even though as I said I rarely listen to the Second).  As usual, Toscanini gets rid of the post-romantic mush and let Brahms orchestration shine. The sound is also very good, clearer than e.g. in the Karajan above.

Edited by calaf - 5/5/13 at 7:01pm
post #3 of 8
post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the suggestions. I'm having a strong reaction to the performances. As in "blech, that's not right." Perhaps it is the symphony after all. I may have to get a pile of recordings. I'm starting to obsess a little over it.
post #5 of 8

Not a recommendation as such, but a pointer: Celibidache is very ... different. ;)

post #6 of 8

Processed By eBay with ImageMagick, z1.1.0. ||B2

post #7 of 8

The slow movement of the 2nd is one of my favorite symphonic slow movements in the repertoire.


My two favorites are:

Furtwangler (1945)


Max Fiedler (1931)


Listening to Fiedler, I get the sense that this is how the piece should be performed, but Furtwangler is, as usual, very special.  Certainly I haven't heard another reading that finds as much darkness in this piece.

post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Mambosenior View Post

Kleiber has a great 2nd on video (Vienna Phil.)

Just watched this. Is it ever good! Goes to the top of what I've heard.
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