Brahms: Symphony No. 3, Haydn Variations - London Philharmonic Orchestra & Marin Alsop User Reviews
Brahms Symphony 3
By Carl Fowler
Marin Alsop leads the London Philharmonic in a taut and successful reading of the Brahms 3rd Symphony and the Haydn Variations. The influence of her mentor, Leonard Bernstein, is always present in an Alsop performance and that is true here as well. The fluid tempo decisions, the wonderfully built-climaxes and overall sweep of the readings echo Bernstein, especially in this case his 1960s and early 70s New York Philharmonic interpretations.
Al that said I would not concur with the reviewer who makes this the best ever Brahms 3rd. I've liked all of the Alsop/LPO Brahms series and this is no exception, but there are many roads to Brahms. The thick orchestrations of the Brahms Symphonies were best clarified in the unique Charles Mackerras cycle, which used a reduced 19th century sized orcestra. The monumentality of Brahms is eloquently revealed in Otto Klemperer's cycle with the Philharmonia and the best lush performances came in several cycles from Herbert von Karajan. If you can ignor mono sound limitations the post-war Furtwangler reading is deep indeed (and sonically not bad for an early 1950s mono recording).
Like all of the Alsop/LPO Naxos releases this is fairly priced, and a very good performance, but it is not definitive.
A beautiful 3rd!
Alsop has had a mediocre recording of Brahms with her first two disc and just when you start expecting mediocrity from her she produces possible the best account of the 3rd symphony in history - it is utterly amazing. Grab this fine accomplishment as your only reference work for the 3rd!
Marin Alsop is an extraordinary conductor. Her recording repertoire is nothing short of fearless as she is at home with the most modern works, I refer you to her recent recording of Philip Glass' "Heroes" Symphony, and she and the London Philharmonic have a beautiful series of the first three symphonies by Brahms along with some of his other glorious works. I highly recommend anything by her and this recording particularly. Enjoy!