Johannes Brahms, BRAHMS: Symphony No. 4 / Hungarian Dances

Amelia Raitt

By Amelia Raitt

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Call it a celebration. Naxos concludes Marin Alsop's masterful conducting of Brahms'four symphonies just as she has been officially installed in Baltimore as the first female music director of a major U.S. symphony orchestra. Here, though, she once again works with the London Philharmonic.

The fourth is usually recognized as Brahms'finest symphony, a passionate and monumental work that moves between an epic first movement, a melancholic second, a third that resounds with hope and a curious fourth. The final movement is a chaconne, a variation on a harmonic pattern. It's a rare to find these in symphonies and it's a treat to hear Alsop summon what critic Eduard Hanslick called “a dark well; the longer we look into it, the more brightly the stars shine back."