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Johann Brahms

Let's discuss one of my favorite composers. (For me, it is a three way tie between him, Tchaikovsky, and Beethoven)

What are some of your favorite pieces by him?

Tidbits about his personal life?

Where do you put his legacy in classical music?

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by Anonymousreply 97April 9, 2023 9:19 PM

My favs are Symphony 3 & 4, along with the gorgeous German Requiem. I also like several Intermezzi and piano pieces.

by Anonymousreply 1July 26, 2022 12:45 AM

Karajan’s version is my imprint, BTW

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by Anonymousreply 2July 26, 2022 12:47 AM

German Requiem and the Lullaby. And otherworldly Chamber Music.

by Anonymousreply 3July 26, 2022 12:47 AM

The German Requiem is magnificent. SF Symphony and Chorus won a Grammy for their recording.

by Anonymousreply 4July 26, 2022 12:47 AM

You also can’t forget his lovely Hungarian Dances. #5 is of course the most famous, but #6 is fun too. Abbado’s recording with the Vienna Phil is awesome.

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by Anonymousreply 5July 26, 2022 12:49 AM

5 Responses in and nobody has mentioned the magnificent Violin Concerto?

by Anonymousreply 6July 26, 2022 12:51 AM

Rhapsody In B Minor, Op.79, No.1

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by Anonymousreply 7July 26, 2022 12:52 AM

Herbert von Karajan leading the Berliner Philharmoniker in Brahms Symphony No 1 in Tokyo, Japan is one of the best recordings I have ever heard.

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by Anonymousreply 8July 26, 2022 12:54 AM

Augustine Hadelich is one of the leading violinists of our day. Here he is playing Brahms Violin Concerto with the WDR Symphony Orchestra.

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by Anonymousreply 9July 26, 2022 12:56 AM





by Anonymousreply 10July 26, 2022 12:57 AM

Seiji Ozawa has a very impressive recording of Brahms Symphony No 1 with the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1977. It is hard to find, but worth it.

by Anonymousreply 11July 26, 2022 1:01 AM

R9, this is a magnificent recording. Thanks for sharing. I grew up with the Anne Sophie Mutter version.

by Anonymousreply 12July 26, 2022 1:04 AM

R12 Hadelich is one of my all time favorite violinists. I think one could make the case he is better than Itzhak Perlman

by Anonymousreply 13July 26, 2022 1:06 AM

Brahms' chamber music is what I like most. This is my favorite piece, the Clarinet Quintet, performed here by the Emerson String Quartet with David Shifrin.

I like all of his symphonies, but I'm not familiar enough to say which I like more than others. I think it comes from listening to all four in sequence, as the first set I bought were released on two CDs.

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by Anonymousreply 14July 26, 2022 1:09 AM

R9, the bassoonist is kind of cute although I am normally not into guys with ponytails. Check him out before the famous oboe solo at 23:27.

by Anonymousreply 15July 26, 2022 1:13 AM

The best piece of music by Brahms was written by Arnold Schoenberg.

by Anonymousreply 16July 26, 2022 1:16 AM

The 3rd makes me feel like I can’t quite catch my breath. It’s just thrilling.

by Anonymousreply 17July 26, 2022 1:17 AM

R17 = Kelly Osbourne

by Anonymousreply 18July 26, 2022 1:20 AM

Wow R9, listening to the cadenza now. An amazing interpretation!

by Anonymousreply 19July 26, 2022 1:20 AM

I have nothing to add. But I sooo appreciate this thread, just for the YT links. And it's nice to see that DL is capable of a broader range of topics beyond the usual. Thank you!

by Anonymousreply 20July 26, 2022 1:21 AM

Brahms Piano Concerto No 1 is absolutely epic. The orchestra and the piano are in a war battle throughout the entire piece.

Attached is Sir Simon Rattle mediating a battle of the wills between Krystian Zimerman and the Berliner Philharmoniker (2006)

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by Anonymousreply 21July 26, 2022 1:24 AM

Ray Chen is another great violinist of out time! Here he is rehearsing the third movement of Brahms Violin Concerto!

He's gay, too!

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by Anonymousreply 22July 26, 2022 1:34 AM

He was a looker at age 20. And already a highly accomplished composer.

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by Anonymousreply 23July 26, 2022 1:35 AM

^click the link.

by Anonymousreply 24July 26, 2022 1:35 AM

R22, do you have any receipts on Ray being gay? We’ve discussed him a few times on DL, and it’s always about expecting him to be gay lmao

Adding Kissin’s 39.15 to stay on topic.

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by Anonymousreply 25July 26, 2022 1:45 AM

R25 I saw an IG post once with a rainbow flag. IT might just have been a Pride Month thing or a statement, but it is kind of obvious.

Regardless, he is a damn good violinist. His recording of Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto is absolutely wonderful.

by Anonymousreply 26July 26, 2022 1:47 AM

I know he was in love with Clara Schumann

by Anonymousreply 27July 26, 2022 2:06 AM

He was close friends with Johann Strauss, son.

by Anonymousreply 28July 26, 2022 2:09 AM

Little is known of Johannes Brahms. He is believed to have been Dutch and to have possessed at least a rudimentary knowledge of music composition and theory. No photographs exist, but he has been described as five feet seven or five feet eight, with small, piercing eyes—one green, one blue—and extremely annoying.

“A genius,” the Post-Impressionist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec once said. “His appetite for life was surpassed only by his appetite for food, which was surpassed only by his appetite for crossbreeding house cats with wild squirrels. Also, he smelled of cumin.” Although the two artists never met or corresponded—nor were they really contemporaries—their unique and idiosyncratic bond remains one of the most fascinating artistic partnerships of the nineteenth century.

The Second Symphony was written at a moment of great trauma. Brahms had suffered from bouts of paranoia for years, convinced that a man named Meier was trying to steal the “h” from his last name. Just two weeks before the première, Brahms caused a scandal during a state dinner when he put Franz Liszt in a headlock and refused to release him until he confessed his homosexual love for Tchaikovsky’s nephew. Brahms was briefly imprisoned, but was granted clemency when Liszt intervened on his behalf. This led to a poignant moment, three years later, when a chastened Brahms visited Liszt at his summer retreat in Weimar, and solemnly resumed the headlock.

Even though Symphony No. 2 is believed to be Brahms’s first symphonic work, the composer demonstrates a sure hand from the outset, with a glowing thematic statement from the horns. The flutes answer with a supple ascending line, requesting that the horns be more specific. But the horns simply re-state the same phrase a half step up, which only serves to irritate the flutes, who promptly hand the melody to the violins, as if to say, “Here, you deal with them.” Brahms sustains this call-and-response pattern throughout the movement, a motif that he first explored in the little-known Variations on “The Dreidel Song,” Op. 34.

Taken together, the second and third movements constitute one of the most elegant and sophisticated symphonic interludes of the Germanic repertoire. Taken separately, they are cloying, derivative, and sort of hard to take seriously. Regardless, authentic performances are rare, owing to the difficulty of securing a bullfrog who can transpose to E-flat.

The last movement, Allegro con Spirito, is nothing short of a miracle. Lush, organic, effortlessly powerful, it resolves the major themes of the symphony with phenomenal grace and imagination. Like all great art, it imparts to the audience a profound sense of empathy and belief, as well as a tremendous desire to urinate

by Anonymousreply 29July 26, 2022 2:12 AM

Before you WW me.

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by Anonymousreply 30July 26, 2022 2:18 AM

OMG, this thread is sooooo boring!!!

by Anonymousreply 31July 26, 2022 2:20 AM

R31 How is it boring?

by Anonymousreply 32July 26, 2022 2:46 AM

The Piano Concertos for me. There are many great recordings: Fleischer/Szell, Katchen/Ferencsik, Zimerman/Bernstein, Fisher/Furtwangler...the list goes on. But for me the most magnificent of all are the fairly recent releases of Pollini/Thielemann. Simply magnificent!

by Anonymousreply 33July 26, 2022 2:50 AM

33 Responses in and nobody has Oh My'd OP?

It's JohannES Brahms!

by Anonymousreply 34July 26, 2022 10:53 AM

He was only 20 when he wrote this. Sigh/

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by Anonymousreply 35July 26, 2022 11:28 AM

One of the most scholarly of the great composers.

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by Anonymousreply 36July 26, 2022 11:42 AM

R6 I'll add my vote to yours for the violin concerto. It is suffused with passion.

And the heavyweight Second Piano Concerto

The Intermezi, the two Rhapsodies (F and G), the Liebeslueder Waltzes . .

A titanic talent.

And, when young, he looked like Viggo Mortensen.

by Anonymousreply 37July 26, 2022 11:46 AM

My faves are the 4th symphony (the slow movement!), the first piano quartet, the two piano concertos, the first string sextet, and the violin sonatas. And some of the piano miniatures, esp op. 118 and 119.

And let's please not forget Brahms was a hunk when he was younger!!!! google image "young brahms"

by Anonymousreply 38July 26, 2022 11:47 AM

More like a murderously talented Twink...

by Anonymousreply 39July 26, 2022 11:51 AM

[quote] It's JohannES Brahms! —Nobody says Rich Wagner, right?

R34, I guess you've never been to Chopin's grave in Paris? It says Fred Chopin.

by Anonymousreply 40July 26, 2022 2:37 PM

I thought you were pulling my leg, R40. Until I googled it. I guess they ran out of space.

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by Anonymousreply 41July 26, 2022 2:42 PM

Classical music is sooooooo boring! 🤮

by Anonymousreply 42July 26, 2022 3:57 PM

R42 - we got it the first time @ R31.

by Anonymousreply 43July 26, 2022 4:12 PM

Truly the twinkiest of all the great composers.

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by Anonymousreply 44July 26, 2022 4:18 PM

That HVK Brahms #1 out of Tokyo IS spectacular, but for sheer beauty and plangency, you can't beat the oboe solo on his studio recording with the BPO, also on DG.

by Anonymousreply 45July 26, 2022 5:58 PM

R44 Don't be absurd. Mozart looked like the alien he is often suspected of being.

Brahms was a handsome young man and grew into a Grand Statesman sort quickly after youth.

He was crusty, rude, self-deprecatory, and also generous and kind.

He wasn't at all mercurial or cute.

by Anonymousreply 46July 27, 2022 12:11 AM

Rock Me Amadeus!

by Anonymousreply 47July 27, 2022 12:13 AM

R45 I'll tell you, I really like the Brahms' first, but it owes so much to Beethoven that I don't think Brahms' own voice really comes forward until #2, which is my personal favourite.

Brahms took ten years to write #1, because, he said, behind him he could always hear the footsteps of the mighty Ninth, and it shows in the Brahms 1st.

At its premiere, which Brahms conducted, it was well received, and an admirer went backstage to congratulate Brahms, hesitatingly adding that "it seemed to owe a great deal to Beethoven", to which Brahms snapped, "Das kann jeder Arsch sehen!"

"Any ass can see that!"

by Anonymousreply 48July 27, 2022 12:16 AM

He's not a great orchestral genius and his symphonies all sound slightly whiny because of his overuse of strings.

His chamber music is, however lovely, as are his concertos. He was best concentrating on one to four instruments, and just not good with the entire orchestra.

by Anonymousreply 49July 27, 2022 12:30 AM

Piano Concerto No 2 is golden

by Anonymousreply 50September 27, 2022 4:09 AM

My favorite Hungarian Dance:

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by Anonymousreply 51September 27, 2022 5:25 AM

I wonder if Johannes had a secret sadness?

His music which resonates most with me has a sad, autumnal sound.

by Anonymousreply 52September 27, 2022 5:29 AM

The 2nd and 3rd symphonies are fantastic. The fist owes too much to Beethoven (something Brahms acknowledged) and the fourth, although poignant, lacks the power of the middle two.

His chamber music is gorgeous, and as for the Intermezzi and Rhapsodies for piano - they are simply exquisite.

by Anonymousreply 53September 27, 2022 2:02 PM

^*The first (not fist)

by Anonymousreply 54September 27, 2022 2:03 PM

R52 He was allegedly in love with Clara Schumann all his life; when his friend and patron, Robert Schumann, was institutionalised due to syphilis, Brahms took over support of the large Schumann family. Clara loved him as a friend, but not as a man.

In his later years, Brahms, in a letter to a friend, had come to terms with his failure to marry and found a family, and declared himself "free and happy".

Brahms also taught, and there is in his letters a mention of a young woman piano student that he stopped teaching because, he said, she was "so beautiful that I did not dare be alone with her".

Brahms was good-looking as a young man, he bore a strong resemblance to a young Viggo Mortensen.

We are just used to seeing him as a stout, bearded, bald Elder Statesman of Music.

by Anonymousreply 55September 27, 2022 2:07 PM

R52 Wasn't it Schubert who had the secret sadness?

Young Schubert was prettier than Young Brahms.

by Anonymousreply 56September 27, 2022 11:32 PM

Liszt was the prettiest of all of them. So how did he end up with a daughter like Cosima?

by Anonymousreply 57September 28, 2022 4:57 AM

I like Liszt! His grandson is also a pianist, but not great. I saw some videos of him playing on youtube. very big hands.

by Anonymousreply 58September 28, 2022 4:59 AM

recommend me some CDs that I can buy and listen to, good classical ones

by Anonymousreply 59September 28, 2022 5:03 AM

So much great music by this composer. Yes to the four symponies and two piano concertos. Lots of intimate late piano pieces, Intermezzi, Ballades, and Rhapsodies. And lots of gorgeous chamber music. His writing is often a little "thick", but usually that translates into a warm sound, rather than a cooler, transparent type of sound. Not mentioned on here is that he had to earn money from his family from a very early age, so at age 11-12 or so he started playing piano in whorehouses - which might have given him a bit of a skewed notion of the relation between men and women.

by Anonymousreply 60September 28, 2022 9:46 AM

He's perfect

by Anonymousreply 61September 29, 2022 1:51 AM

My favorite of Brahms' works is his Clarinet Quintet, here performed by the Emerson SQ with David Shifrin.

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by Anonymousreply 62September 29, 2022 2:20 AM

Johannes Brahms: String Sextet No. 2 in G major, Op. 36

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by Anonymousreply 63September 29, 2022 3:37 AM

ok great, thank you. I'm gonna check out the videos

by Anonymousreply 64September 29, 2022 4:27 AM

R62 is so rich and mellow.

Listening to that clarinet is like tasting chocolate and caramel.

by Anonymousreply 65September 29, 2022 4:50 AM

R63 is less appealing than R62.

It's a conversation; a dialogue of the interrogative and the confirmatory.

by Anonymousreply 66September 29, 2022 5:46 AM

Dave Hurwitz of Classics Today opines on his "ideal" Brahms chamber recordings. I like his musical taste in lots of other areas, particularly Mahler/Bernstein, so he's someone I listen to when he talks about favorite recordings.

I ordered the Mandelring Quartett's recording of the Sextets and the Martin Frost CD of the Clarinet Sonatas and Trio today as a result.

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by Anonymousreply 67September 29, 2022 3:07 PM

Transparency is something that came in later . . . I can think of very little in the classic and romantic literature that I would immediately think of as "transparent".

Brahms' music, to me, represents the best of 19th century full-voiced romanticism, but still clinging to the classical form that Brahms worshipped. It's why I love his music: it has the exacting majesty of the classical form but blended with his own passionate romantic voice. Peole who can call him "academic" do so because all they hear is the classical form - how anyone listening to those piano rhapsodies, for starters, can call him "academic" is beyond me. Even in smaller pieces, like the "Tragic Overture", you can hear that blend of classicism and romanticism.

And then there's the Double Concerto for violin and cello . . . for those unfamiliar with the story behind it, Brahms wrote it as a peace offering to the great violinist of the day, Joseph Joachim. The two men had fallen out over Joachim's divorce case. Joachim was quite the ladies man and his wife finally sued for divorce on the basis of his incessant infidelity. Brahms, who prided himself on his integrity, was called as a reluctant witness for Frau Joachim, and told the truth, to her husband's fury.

It was five years before the two men spoke again, and the great Double Concerto was what helped restore their friendship. It is a wonderful piece, full of humour but in the breadth you expect from Brahms.

Joachim was quite the meddler, and I think both Mendelssohn and Bruch asked for his input on their well-known violin concertos.

by Anonymousreply 68September 29, 2022 10:51 PM

^*Except for Chopin (re the transparency)

by Anonymousreply 69September 29, 2022 10:52 PM

[quote] The German Requiem is magnificent … gorgeous.

It has lush orchestration and some beautiful melodies.

And there's one section (I wish I knew how to locate it) it is just shocking in its power.

by Anonymousreply 70October 3, 2022 9:19 PM

You can't go wrong with the Leon Fleisher set of the piano concertos, but my personal fave is the Theilemann/Pollini collaboration. An amazing document of musical riches in sonic splendor.

by Anonymousreply 71October 9, 2022 1:48 PM

The 4th Symphony. I can't hear it in a concert hall without getting verklempt, and tears running down my face.

Don't bother with the "Mary!" shit.

by Anonymousreply 72October 9, 2022 2:05 PM

It's a Johannes kind of morning. I'm listening to the Piano Trios by the Beaux Arts Trio. You can listen, too.

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by Anonymousreply 73October 11, 2022 1:20 PM

There isn't much bad Brahms. Of course, we all will not like every work equally, but Brahms was so stringent in his own standards, so assiduous in making sure anything he didn't feel was up to those standards was destroyed, that the quality of his published work is unusually high and consistent.

Coming late to the thread, there isn't much I can mention that hasn't been mentioned already. I love all the symphonies, the two piano concertos, the violin concerto, the German Requiem, a great deal of the solo piano literature (from miniatures to large-scale works like the F-minor sonata), a great deal of the chamber music (especially that clarinet quintet that has been come up a few times already).

So, for something unmentioned, here is the "Alto Rhapsody" with Anne Sofie von Otter as soloist.

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by Anonymousreply 74October 11, 2022 1:54 PM

My favorite piece is "Ein deutsches Requiem" I performed this twice (in the chorus) and I especially enjoyed the second movement "Denn alles Fleisch, es ist wie Gras". I also like his organ music. He wrote several pieces based on German Chorales.

by Anonymousreply 75October 11, 2022 2:10 PM

Funny, r29/r30. I thought it was Woody Allen at first, it's very reminiscent of his pieces for the New Yorker.

by Anonymousreply 76October 11, 2022 2:22 PM

His violin concerto is one of my absolute favorites.

by Anonymousreply 77November 23, 2022 10:54 PM

My favorite Brahms piece is Nanie, from a text by Friedrich von Schiller.

Auch das Schöne muß sterben! Das Menschen und Götter bezwinget

Even beauty must die, death that conquers men and gods

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by Anonymousreply 78November 24, 2022 12:23 AM

What I like about him is his ability to go light or heavy and even humourous, but all with the same skill evident. The Liebeslieder Waltzes, the piano rhapsodies, the Requiem, even the Hungarian Dances, are different in weight but not in quality. Brahms, to use a modern colloquialism, never phoned it in.

The Double Concerto, which he wrote as a peace offering to Joachim, is filled with humour as well as power.

I think it's partly his reliability, for lack of a better word, that has been used by his detractors. They call it being "academic".

I call it being really, really, really master of a particular form and taking it to great heights.

by Anonymousreply 79November 24, 2022 2:05 PM

Brahms Horn Trio

What a beautiful piece. So elegant and relaxing. Pour yourself a cup of coffee, listen, and watch the rainfall type of piece.

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by Anonymousreply 80April 5, 2023 2:30 PM


by Anonymousreply 81April 5, 2023 2:45 PM

The 1961 film "Goodbye Again" (French title: "Aimez-vous Brahms?" [Do you like Brahms?]) features his First and Third Symphonies. It stars Ingrid Bergman, Yves Montand, and Anthony Perkins, who won the best actor award at Cannes for the role.

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by Anonymousreply 82April 5, 2023 7:41 PM

R82 Thank you!

by Anonymousreply 83April 5, 2023 11:18 PM

Any other recommendations?

by Anonymousreply 84April 6, 2023 1:55 PM

Have you heard all four symphonies, r84?

by Anonymousreply 85April 6, 2023 2:10 PM

R85 I have! I love them all. you?

by Anonymousreply 86April 6, 2023 3:02 PM

Oh, yes, r86. I didn't always like Brahms' symphonies, though. It was only after taking a music appreciation class in 2016 that I learned to, well, appreciate them. And now, I'd rather listen to them than Beethoven's symphonies. I have them by Haitink, Bernstein (Sony), Janowski, and Abbado. I'm automatically inclined to prefer Bernstein and Abbado, but I like the others just as much.

by Anonymousreply 87April 6, 2023 3:28 PM

R87 Seiji Ozawa is a good interpreter of Brahms, as is von Karajan

by Anonymousreply 88April 6, 2023 7:03 PM

This is a great recording of Brahms German Requiem. Barbara Hendricks and Jose van Dam are the soloists

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by Anonymousreply 89April 6, 2023 7:04 PM

Major pussy hound; big Bismarck supporter.

by Anonymousreply 90April 6, 2023 7:07 PM

R90 what?

by Anonymousreply 91April 7, 2023 2:04 AM

I'm listening to all four symphonies, by the Berlin Phil. conducted by Claudio Abbado. I'm not familiar enough with the symphonies to have favorite versions yet. Any recommendations?

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by Anonymousreply 92April 8, 2023 9:20 PM

R92 I love 1 the best, but some people think the 2nd or 4th are the best.

by Anonymousreply 93April 8, 2023 9:44 PM

There are so many conflicting themes ebbing and flowing though the four movements.

The first 3 minutes are scarily Shostakovichian.

The tune in the last movement is banal through overfamiliarity and recall that painful Cary Grant/Joseph L Mankiewicz movie.

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by Anonymousreply 94April 8, 2023 10:16 PM

Quintessential Brahms.

The mellow sound of the French Horn.

It is sad and "Autumnal".

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by Anonymousreply 95April 8, 2023 11:05 PM

I ended up listening to Symphonies Nos. 1, 2, and 3 last night, and No. 4 today. I think I like No. 3 best.

However, when Brahms' No. 4 finished, Abbado's Chicago SO recording of Mahler's No. 2 started automatically. Though I like Brahms very much, nothing is quite as wonderful as Mahler's Second.

by Anonymousreply 96April 9, 2023 8:44 PM

R96 Today is Resurrection Sunday!

by Anonymousreply 97April 9, 2023 9:19 PM
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