Brahms: Symphony No. 4, Hungarian Dances No.'s 2 and 4-9

09.23.07
Marin Alsop
London Times

Alsop's triumphant cycle of Brahms symphonies with the LPO comes to a climactic end with this hugely impressive account of the Fourth. She has that ability, vital in music as dense as this, to hurry nothing, to make the most of the moment, yet always to maintain a sense of impetus. The opening movement is toughly argued yet lyrical, and the andante moderato second movement, taken unusually slowly, has a wonderful calmness about it. The LPO is on fine form throughout, the woodwind and horns positively glowing as that amazing, Bach-inspired final chaconne builds to its climax. And there's a bonus: Peter Breiner's orchestrations of the seven Hungarian Dances were commissioned for this recording by Naxos. They are idiomatic, atmospheric, inventive and fun.