Magazine article Gramophone

Brahms * JS Bach: JS Bach Prelude and Fugue

Magazine article Gramophone

Brahms * JS Bach: JS Bach Prelude and Fugue

Article excerpt

Brahms * JS Bach

JS Bach Prelude and Fugue, 'St Anne', BWV552 Brahms Piano Quartet No 1, Op 25 (both orch Schoenberg) Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra / Jacek Kaspszyk Warner Classics (F) 2564 60751-7 (60' * DDD)

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The engineered sound offers a realistic perspective from a seat at the back of the stalls in the Warsaw Philharmonic's home, the Filharmonia Nadorowa. Turning up the volume will likely make your floor shake before the bass and winds snap into focus, and the percussion in the Piano Quartet's finale has been placed at an all-too-discreet distance.

The orchestra nevertheless sound on their mettle, considerably less refined in the brass and upper strings than the Netherlands Philharmonic but attentive in response to their chief conductor, who directs fairly straight-faced accounts of outrageously skilful arrangements which have attracted flair-conductors such as Ozawa, Rozhdestvensky and Tilson Thomas. The inflated march at the centre of the Piano Quartet's Andante booms and rattles away, though before finding a want of subtlety it is as well to bear in mind that Brahms scored the Academic Festival Overture for similarly outsize forces, and we know what satiric fun he had with that. …

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