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BRAHMS: Symphony No. 3 / Haydn Variations

Composer(s):Brahms, Johannes
Artist(s) Alsop, Marin, Conductor • London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period(s) Romantic
Genre Classical Music
Category Orchestral
Catalogue 8.557430
Label Naxos
Quality   320kbps
Download and Stream

The Third Symphony, one of Brahms’s most poetic and evocative works, was hailed by the critic Eduard Hanslick as ‘artistically the most perfect…equal to the best of Brahms’s works…a feast for the music-lover and musician’. Arguably the composer’s greatest symphony, it was first performed in December 1883 in Vienna and became an outstanding success. This is the third release in the major new Naxos cycle of the Brahms Symphonies featuring the internationally acclaimed London Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor Marin Alsop. Symphonies Nos. 1 and 2 are available on Naxos 8.557428 and 8.557429.

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Review By Penguin Guide,January 2009

Marin Alsop in Brahms takes a romantic view in her expressive phrasing, well supported by the LPO, but then she tends to favour steady speeds, getting the best of both worlds. Indeed, tempi are perfectly chosen, with the second movement taken at a flowing Andante. Similar qualities extend to her fine reading of the Haydn Variations, well recorded, the Symphony in the Blackheath Concert Halls, the Variations in the Watford Colloseum.

Review By Michael Southern,Pittwater Life,April 2007

This budget-priced recording can take its place alongside the very best performances available on CD, and is highly recommendable. It is a fine reading of the Third with the London Philharmonic at its best.

Alsop’s recording is restrained and dignified, already being compared overseas with some of the great performances of the past dating back to include the Furtwängler and the Boult versions. But equally dignified is her performance of the St. Antoni Variations and it is difficult to think of a finer recording. Naxos has certainly placed itself among the major record companies with this disc.

Review By Malcolm Hayes,Classic FM,March 2007

Fearsome competition here—but even so, these recordings hold up well. The LPO’s particular kind of lustrous focus suits Brahm’s music beautifully, and it responds to Alsop’s direction with playing that’s way beyond routine. Meanwhile she earns herself credit by including the repeat of the first movement’s opening section (many conductors don’t), and traces the music’s big trajectory with the surest of touch. Elsewhere, while some of her hands-on shifts of phrasing work better than others, you always see her point. And her way with the Haydn Variations exactly catches the music’s blend of warmth, intricate mistery and unpretentiousness.

Review By David Perkins,The News & Observer (Raleigh, NC),February 2007

After a solid First and Second symphonies, American conductor Marin Alsop’s series of Brahms symphonies with the London Philharmonic has moved into its next phase with a luxuriant and delicate Third. Alsop, the Baltimore Symphony’s music director-designate, is not an instinctive Brahmsian. She doesn’t bring out the great granite-cliff vistas and dizzying perspective shifts, which are always balanced by sweeter, lighter dancing elements. One element points toward Bruckner, the second toward Dvořák: You need to bring out both. Still, Alsop is looking for a personal way into these familiar pieces, and she often finds it. The London Philharmonic, which has played a lot of Brahms since its founding by Sir Thomas Beecham in 1934, has all the lushness in the


Review By Scott Paulin,Barnes & Noble,January 2007

With half of a highly praised Brahms cycle already in release, Marin Alsop and the London Philharmonic move on to an equally fine performance of the Third Symphony on this album. In a recording career that has focused primarily on the 20th century—and on American music—Alsop’s interest in Brahms might seem like an anomaly. Yet his Romantic symphonies clearly appeal to an equally important side of her artistic persona, considering how successful the results have been thus far. At the heart of this performance is an especially warm reading of the third-movement Poco Allegretto, a leisurely substitute for the usual symphonic Scherzo. Alsop and her musicians, especially the solo horn player, capture the ambiguity of Brahms’s tone in this movement—somewhere


Review By Andy Cooper,Leader-Post,January 2007

When German music lover and entrepreneur Klaus Heymann launched his budget label Naxos in 1987 with largely unknown artists, few would have predicted it would become the world’s biggest classical music company.

Here we are 20 years later and the cheap-CD outfit which musical snobs once sneered at boasts the world’s greatest orchestras and soloists…Amazing…this third release in American conductor Marin Alsop’s acclaimed interpretations of the four symphonies of Johannes Brahms is an example of the star power of Naxos.

As well as Brahms’s “Symphony No. 3” there is the “Variations on a Theme by Haydn, St. Antoni Chorale.”


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