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Pierre Monteux

Brahms: Symphony No. 2; Overtures (CD)

The name of Pierre Monteux evokes recollections of the man who conducted the Ballets Russes for Serge Diaghilev, and the notorious scandal surrounding the first performance of Stravinsky’s Le sacre du printemps in Paris in 1913, as well as for scrupulous attention to style that he brought to bear on French masterpieces of the turn of the twentieth century, from Chausson via Debussy and Ravel to Milhaud. But he resented being pigeon-holed and his recordings of central nineteenth-century Romantic repertoire could be just as compelling. He also knew Brahms personally, having played the viola in the Geloso Quartet in a performance of one of the Brahms quartets with the composer present and lived long enough to see the revival of interest in Brahms’s music outside Germany. His Brahms performances – originally recorded for the Philips label – are full of light and grace. It also features Barry Tuckwell in the Second Symphony’s memorable horn solos. The original LP coupling did not include the Tragic Overture, which was first issued in 1994.

"In the last of Monteux’s four recordings of the Brahms Second Symphony, subtleties of nuance and timing, and modifications of pacing, reflect a lifetime’s love and experience of the work, and a man who is still keen to explore its textural and structural possibilities. Typically it is light-toned and gentle in cast, almost symphonic chamber music." Gramophone (December 1994)


1–4 Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 73
5 Tragic Overture, Op. 81
6 Academic Festival Overture, Op. 80

London Symphony Orchestra
Pierre Monteux