Magazine article Gramophone

Brahms Symphony No 4. Geistliches Lied, Op 30

Magazine article Gramophone

Brahms Symphony No 4. Geistliches Lied, Op 30

Article excerpt

Brahms Symphony No 4. Geistliches Lied, Op 30.

Fest- und Gedenkspruche, Op 109 Bach Cantata No 150, 'Nach dir, Herr, verlanget mich'--Meine Augen sehen stets zu dem Herrn; Meine Tage in den Leinden Beethoven Coriolan, Op 62 Gabrieli Sanctus and Benedictus a 12 Schutz Saul, Saul was verfolgst du mich?, SWV415

Monteverdi Choir; Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique/Sir John Eliot Gardiner

Soli Deo Gloria (F) SDG705 (71' * DDD) Recorded live at the Royal Festival Hall, London, October 2008

Brahms's Fourth Symphony is possibly symphonic literature s finest distillation of the tragic spirit, though Beethoven s symphonically conceived Coriolan Overture is a comparable achievement in shorter form. Having both works buttressing the same programme is an arresting experience.

If the Fourth Symphony itself is an essay in self-consummation, so too is the life that effected its making. And it is this which John Eliot Gardiner's superbly planned 10-item programme so revealingly explores.

After the gauntlet has been thrown down by Coriolan, the story is taken up with music by two earlier composers from whom Brahms learnt his craft. Brahms included Giovanni Gabrieli's Sanctus and Benedictus and Schutz's scarifying brief psychodrama of Saul's conversion on the road to Damascus in a concert with the Vienna Singakademie in 1864. Gardiner has examined Brahms's score for the occasion with its astutely pencilled markings. The Monteverdi Choir realises Brahms's vision to perfection; Brahms, alas, had neither the choir nor the audience with which to succeed with so radical an antiquarian project.

Movements follow from the Bach cantata whose subtly modified concluding chaconne provided the germ-cell for the symphony. From there we descend into the pool of quiet which is Brahms's own Geistliches Lied, a workshop essay in fashioning a double canon at the ninth which is also a vision of the peace which comes from the acceptance of God s will. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.