Ivan Fischer's version of these ever-popular classics is as valid an essay in stylistic restoration as the most scholarly period-instrument performance of Bach or Handel… The transcriptions have been reworked and in one or two movements an improvised cimbalom part has been added, played by a well-known Hungarian musician, Kalman Balogh. Not a record for purists perhaps, but I found the results invigorating and thought-provoking.- S.J. Gramophone, March 1987.
The Cleveland Orchestra is the "aristocrat among American orchestras" (The Telegraph), and the ensemble's music director Franz Welser-Most, leads them with verve and precision. These three discs from Belvedere (DVD and Blu-ray) feature six and a half hours of music, presenting a cycle of all the major orchestral works of Johannes Brahms. Included are the complete Symphonies and Piano Concertos, the Violin Concerto, the Tragic Overture, the Academic Festival Overture, and the Haydn Variations. Soloists include violinist Julia Fischer and pianist Yefim Bronfman.
…I studied the Brahms songs in college and found them a bear to sing, particularly the final one, "Wenn ich mit Menschen- und mit Engelszungen redete" ("though I speak with the tongues of men and angels"), with its call for rich, mellow tone at the upper end of the baritone range. So Quasthoff's apparent ease in the most difficult passages impressed me no end, as did, of course, his ability to convey the beauty and power of the texts. In short, at full price, this CD's a bargain.
This CD is an exhilarating and important new contribution to the romantic cello literature. Manuel Fischer-Dieskau is the son of Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and the cellist Irmgard Poppen and has made a genuine rediscovery here. These works were only found recently.