Leopold Stokowski, Houston Symphony Orchestra, Johannes Brahms ‎– Symphony No. 3 In F Major, Op. 3

Label:
Everest ‎– T-43030
Format:
Reel-To-Reel, 7 ½ ips, ¼", 4-Track Stereo, 7" Cine Reel, Album
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Brahms composed the Symphony No. 3 in the summer of 1883 after a five year long sabbatical from symphonic work. It is often considered the other three symphonies' "poor sister" -- a prominent feature, yes, on any symphonic season calendar, but not quite the same stunning pinnacle of symphonic achievement that each of the other three is. How wrong that notion is!
If mass consumption has less taste for the Third Symphony's odd mix of overt heroism and dense formal logic than it has for the apparently more sensuous, even voluptuous, music of the second or fourth symphonies, or the Beethovenian spiritual journey of the First Symphony's outer movements, that is hardly evidence of a shortcoming on the composer's part. And indeed there is something heroic about the Symphony No. 3, enough to prompt Hans Richter, who conducted the premiere of the piece, to suggest that Brahms give it the subtitle "Eroica" (a suggestion that Brahms didn't take). It is a heroism utterly unlike the kind brought to mind by the composer of the actual "Eroica" Symphony, however. How could a symphony that begins with a musical manifestation of the bittersweet words "free but happy" approach Beethoven's Third or Fifth in raw grittiness?

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