Album: Brahms, Symphonies 1-4/Simon Rattle (EMI Classics)

Honeymoon period and local backlash behind him, Rattle can still produce startling results with the Berliner Philharmoniker.

Some details in this Brahms Cycle are magnificent: the sighing accompaniment to the solo oboe in the Andante of the First Symphony; the curious timbre of the Allegro of the Third: the subtly amplified woodwind in the first movement of the Fourth. Yet Rattle's accelerandi are hard edged and sharply accented, and the tone is often frigid. Impressive, but lacking in Brahmsian ambiguity.

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