La Scena Musicale

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Brahms: Symphony No. 4

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra / Marek Janowski
PentaTone PTC 5186 309 Hybrid SACD (57 min 01 s)
***** $$$$

Let’s make this official and unequivocal. With this concluding issue in the Janowski/Pittsburgh Brahms symphony cycle, we now have the best recordings of these works since the onset of the digital era. Here is an all-round collaborative triumph and full vindication of PentaTone’s policy of pursuing new performances of standard repertory. It is a mighty achievement. Think of Claudio Abbado and the BPO (DG), who turned out an excellent Brahms cycle until they stumbled with a congested Fourth. There are no errors in these live recordings from Heinz Hall, Pittsburgh. Discriminating collectors starting with the present disc will not be able to live without the preceding two. This release presents performances of the highest artistic truth. The roster of musicians included in the booklet note is something to be grateful for; you will want to know who these people are. With this project, a great orchestra has gone through resurrection as a recording ensemble and a master conductor should now be recognized as such.
- Stephen Habington

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