- ABC Classics
Australian Chamber Orchestra
Brahms Symphonies 3 & 4
Richard Tognetti - violin and director
Recorded live in concert in Hamer Hall, Melbourne (Symphony no. 3) and the Sydney Opera House (Symphony no. 4)
*** *** ***
Epic. Magnificent. Generous. Flowing. Majestic. Surprising. Overwhelming. And above all – Joyous.
The two final symphonies of Johannes Brahms are undisputed masterpieces: passionate, intensely lyrical, a thrilling blend of grandeur and intimacy. In the hands of Richard Tognetti and the Australian Chamber Orchestra, these soaring yet deeply personal works spring to life, revealing new delights at every turn.
For these performances, the ACO has expanded to include the unique colours of wind instruments from Brahms’ own world. The resulting sound, in the words of the Sydney Morning Herald review, was ‘a revelation: superbly blended horns and trumpets without the bright blare of a modern symphonic sound, an agile, liquid tone from flutes and clarinets and a gorgeous warmth in the lower wind and brass, all matched with a string sound with a bold but never harsh attack.’
With a total size of around 50 players, these recordings show the ACO at its fullest strength, well beyond its usual compact forces, yet maintaining its trademark clarity and vitality. This is in line with the Brahms himself, who refused to allow the orchestra to be augmented beyond 48 players for the premiere of his Fourth Symphony.
Here we encounter the full flowering of Brahms’ symphonic genius: a composer profoundly aware of the richness of his own musical heritage, yet determined to push the boundaries into new realms of expressive power. A musician utterly at home with the wild fire of gypsy music, yet finding inspiration for the finale of his Fourth Symphony in a chorale of J.S. Bach.A master of orchestral sonority, an artist with an unmatched understanding of musical architecture, and a poet whose musical language encompasses the breadth of human experience.
‘Yet again, the ACO re-animated a glowing masterpiece that many of us thought held no more surprises.’ – Sydney Morning Herald
‘One of the masterpieces of late-19th century music…the ACO’s rendition was intelligent and courageous.’ – The Australian
Since its establishment in November 1975, the Australian Chamber Orchestra has become one of the world’s most daring and exciting ensembles, renowned globally for its inspired programming, unrivalled virtuosity, energy and individuality, showcased through an extensive and ongoing program of international touring and recordings for many of the world’s top labels.