Related Reviews
MusicWeb International
'...unusual, provocative, and masterfully conceived...an essential acquisition.'
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Serenade Magazine
'...that he should bow out with a performance of such richness and depth showcases many of their finest qualities, and celebrates a recording which is a significant milestone in both their careers.'
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The Herald
5 Stars
'Ticciati has found new ways to approach the phrasing and tempo of these symphonies that produced surprises every step of the way...A top team on top form.'
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Fanfare
'The good news is that overall these performances feel not only Brahmsian but also full of color and variety.'
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Gramophone
A scintillating account of Brahms’s symphonies, in no small part due to the dynamics and detail of the 192kHz/24-bit Linn download.
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American Record Guide
'I think the balances are terrific, as are the Scottish strings and the overall sound of the orchestra. The recording was made in Usher Hall, Edinburgh; that must be part of the reason the sound is so beautiful. And I hear more agility in the playing than I have heard with larger orchestras.'
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ResMusica
'A very beautiful, fascinating, original and audacious interpretation...'
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Hi-Fi News
Sound Quality 85%: 'Ticciati has prepared this cycle as his final SCO project, and these are highly intelligent readings, finely engineered.'
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Classica
Recording of the Month: 'The young British conductor radically revisits Brahms' four symphonies by questioning decades of musical interpretations and rediscoveries.'
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MusicWeb International
'This, then, is a very fine Brahms symphony cycle from Robin Ticciati and the SCO...a very attractive proposition indeed.'
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All Music
5 Stars
'Robin Ticciati and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra present a fresh take on the symphonies...Linn's pristine sound quality is a perfect complement to Ticciati's transparent readings. Highly recommended.'
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BR Klassik
CD-Tipp: 'The result is an unbelievably exciting journey through the symphonic world of this composer.'
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BBC Music Magazine
5 Stars
Recording of the Month: 'These are revelatory performances that make you listen afresh to this wonderful life-enhancing music.'
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BRF
'Schlanker, lebhafter und klanglich klarer kann man sich die Brahms-Symphonien kaum wünschen als in dieser neuen Aufnahme des Scottish Chamber Orchestra.'
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The Arts Desk
'Magical moments abound...this is the best recent recording of [No. 3] I've heard.'
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Online Merker
'This new recording with the SCO is no less than THE Brahms of our day.'
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Gramophone
'Ticciati's is lean and quite dazzlingly transparent. Listening with score in hand, I marvelled at the conductor's meticulous observance of Brahms's markings. Nearly every instruction regarding dynamics, phrasing and articulation is accounted for.'
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The Guardian
5 Stars
CD of the Week: 'What stands out is the sheer range of sound and colour Ticciati has at his disposal...the playing is unfailingly vivid.'
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The Scotsman
5 Stars
'There is enticing detail in these performances...and there is a truly natural sense of expression that highlights the genuine beauty in Brahms.'
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Kulturradio RBB
CD der Woche: Robin Ticciati liefert eine schöne und raue Interpretation, flott, glasklar und trotzdem schön warm in der Anmutung.
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Spiegel
'Alles fließt, alles strömt, diese Fülle präparieren Ticciati und das Scottish Chamber Orchester detailfreudig und präzise heraus.'
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BBC Radio Scotland 'Classics Unwrapped'
Album of the Week: '...as always the playing is first class from the SCO...It’s a delight to listen to from start to finish.'
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The Herald
'I predict universal praise for the new double set...the whole package takes us through the story of Brahms and his relationship with symphonic form in a way that is a real joy.'
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BBC Radio 3 'Record Review'
Disc of the Week: '...think about what you gain in the clarity of texture...brighter, lighter sounds balanced against the smaller string sections...'
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NDR
'Bei ihm klingen die Sinfonien nicht herbstlich und düster - die Betonung liegt auf dem rauen, romantischen Fieber, das in der Partitur steckt.'
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Europadisc
'...with the SCO’s superb musicianship and Ticciati’s unmistakable imagination and energy [this is] a cycle that really is worth celebrating.'
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The Times
5 Stars
'...this is a set that sweeps aside recent rivals, brilliantly illuminating Brahms's inner textures and making the familiar new.'
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iTunes
'...marvel at the delicacy of his phrasing and the litheness of his lines...this is Brahms to savor.'
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Radio Classique
'Un souci d’allègement et de transparence des textures préside à cette lecture...'
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Financial Times
4 Stars
'...they have every slightest detail at their fingertips, illuminating phrase after phrase with new meaning...this is a highly rewarding set of the symphonies, well played and well recorded.'
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CD Choice
'...this Brahms cycle is a worthy successor to his earlier much-acclaimed readings of the symphonies of Schumann...the sound is still highly impressive, the performances top-drawer.'
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Classic FM
'...that should certainly be in our Hall of Fame.'
more >>
Presto Classical
'A classy leaving-present from one of today’s great conductor-orchestra partnerships as Robin Ticciati says goodbye to the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.'
more >>

Robin Ticciati & SCO - Brahms: The Symphonies - Klassiskmusikk.com


25 May 2018
Klassiskmusikk.com
Martin Anderson
5 Stars

I knew from the very first chord of the first movement of the First Symphony that this new cycle was going to be special: the attack is sharp, incisive, that opening timpani thwack shallow and fierce. And all the way through all four symphonies, the combination of the chamber-orchestral clarity of texture and Robin Ticciati’s eagle eye for detail opens up one thrill after another: little accompanimental figures suddenly become an essential part of the narrative; throwaway woodwind shapes are now essential commentaries on the unfolding drama, repetitive rhythms take on unsuspected meaning – every single detail in the score is brought alive in sounding sense. Ticciati’s not a prisoner of the page, either: he’s not afraid to accelerate towards a climax or slam on the brakes for dramatic effect. The smaller string sections are complemented by brighter, small-bore brass, giving the music an almost French colour at times (this is the first time I’ve ever noticed a connection between Brahms and Berlioz), and the timpani, as I’ve mentioned, are crisp and precise. The more intimate scale liberates colour, too, with woodwind, brass and strings underlining the delicacy and sensitivity of Brahms’ orchestration. The reduction in the number of the upper strings frees up the bass, so that the sound is darker than usual, which in turn gives Brahms’ more lyrical lines an added expressive urgency – and these are already unusually urgent performances: this Brahms is lean and lithe, fleet of foot and of mind, not the flabby old composer waddling down to the pub that he becomes in so many over-indulgent performances.

Of course, such a radical reassessment changes the nature of the symphonies themselves, and all four turn into striking different statements – it’s no exaggeration to say that these performances find a kind of existential terror in Brahms’ soul, and it perforce pulls in us listeners; the music has become frightening, and you emerge from the experience shaken but aware of having experienced something basic in the human condition, of having gazed on true greatness. No. 3 was an especial concern for me: for me, that opening phrase ought to be a scream of almost primal intensity, and I once spent an evening listening to every single version I could find on YouTube. Nobody got it right – Bernstein and the Vienna Phil came closest. Well, Ticciati and the SCO pretty well nail it here, capturing both the pain of the first movement and the profound sadness of the third. I think I know these four symphonies as well as I know anything in music, and yet I have already learned an enormous amount from these recordings. I’ve played them again and again since my review copy arrived, and I’m still noticing more details that have been thought through afresh. You will, I hope, find these readings exciting and moving in equal measure, and I can hardly recommend them to you strongly enough.

Original text:

Fra første tone i første sats av Symfoni nr. 1 visste jeg at denne serien kom til å bli spesiell: innsatsen er knivskarp, det innledende paukeslaget stramt og sterkt. Og hele veien gjennom alle de fire symfoniene åpner kombinasjonen av kammerorkester-klarhet i teksturene og Robin Ticciatis ørneblikk for detaljer for det ene spenningsmomentet etter det andre: små akkompagnerende figurer blir plutselig en essensiell del av forløpet; uvesentlige treblåserformer er nå essensielle kommentarer på dramaet som utfolder seg, gjentagende rytmer får uventet mening – hver eneste detalj i musikken blir levendegjort i klanglig forstand. Ticciati er ingen fange av partitursiden, heller: han engster seg ikke for å akselerere mot et klimaks eller bråbremse for å oppnå dramatisk effekt. De mindre strykeseksjonene suppleres av lysere messing med liten borring på munnrøret (som munnstykket festes til), og det gir av og til musikken en nesten fransk farge (dette er første gang jeg har lagt merke til en sammenheng mellom Brahms og Berlioz), og paukene er, som nevnt, skarpe og presise. Den mer intime størrelsen på orkesteret frigjør farge også, med treblåsere, messing og strykere som understreker Brahms’ sarte og følsomme orkestrering. Med færre strykere i det øvre register, frigjøres også bassen, slik at klangen blir mørkere enn vanlig, noe som igjen tilfører Brahms’ mer lyriske linjer en uttrykksfull intensitet – og dette er allerede uvanlig intense fremføringer.

Nå endrer selvsagt en så radikal revurdering selve symfonienes natur. Og alle fire blir til slående forskjellige musikalske påstander – det er ingen overdrivelse å si at disse fremførelsene finner en slags eksistensiell gru i Brahms’ sjel som nødvendigvis drar lytterne inn; musikken er blitt skremmende og du kommer rystet ut av den, men også fullt klar over at du har opplevd noe grunnleggende menneskelig, at du har skuet over ekte storhet. For meg var nr. 3 spesielt betydningsfull: for mine ører bør åpningsfrasen lyde nesten like intens som et primalskrik, og en gang tilbrakte jeg en helt kveld med å lytte til hver eneste versjon jeg kunne finne på youtube. Ingen fikk det til – Bernstein og wienerfilharmonikerne kom nærmest. Vel, Ticciati og SCO så godt som spikrer det her. De fanger både smerten i 1. sats og den dype sørgmodigheten i 3. Jeg tror jeg kjenner disse fire symfoniene bedre enn noen annen musikk, og likevel har jeg lært enormt av disse innspillingene. Jeg har spilt dem om og om igjen siden anmeldereksemplaret kom i postkassen, og fortsatt legger jeg merke til nye nytenkte detaljer. Jeg håper at du vil oppleve disse tolkningene i like deler spennende og bevegende, og jeg kan ikke anbefale dem sterkt nok.


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Robin TicciatiRobin Ticciati
Scottish Chamber OrchestraScottish Chamber Orchestra
Brahms: The SymphoniesBrahms: The Symphonies