GRAMOPHPONE Editor`s Choice - March 2009
This release marks the completion of the Brahms symphony cycle with The Pittsburg Symphony Orchestra conducted by Janowski, Marek. This series has been warmly applauded. “Classics Today” awarded previous releases in this cycle ‘10 out of 10’ and Classic FM Magazinze awarded the recordings of symphonies 2 & 3 “Disc of the Month”.
“…the Pittsburgh Symphony - increasingly one of the nation`s finest - could easily be mistaken for a top German orchestra, like Leipzig or Dresden, in this music. The refulgence of the playing is a constant source of pleasure and any conductor who is as mindful of Brahm`s ingenuity, invention and sheer vision as Janowski demands to be heard. The Hungarian Dances... are earthy and sinewy with plenty of surge factor in the lower strings and the requisite cheekiness in the phrasing exemplified by those traditionally tantalising hesitations and stompling downbeats.” GRAMOPHONE
“It`s been true for many years now that American orchestras have been sounding more middle- European, but the Pittsburgh Symphony could easily be mistaken for a top German orchestra, like Leipzig or Dresden, in this music. Listen to the slow movement of the Fourth Symphony where Janowski, Marek really has his players leaning into the harmonic radiance of the writing. All those wondrous transfigurations evolve so naturally and so dreamily that the brawny exuberance of the Scherzo – tough and resilient in Janowski`s hands – really does come as an unexpected blast.
Approaches differ greatly with regard to the highly innovative first movement, the whole of which constitutes a development of sorts. So, how soon do the darkening clouds descend? For some they cannot descend soon enough. But here it`s as if Janowski is delaying the inevitable right through to the high anxiety of the final pages. He tightens the screw relatively late in the movement. The slow movement then restores some sense of prior well-being and inner calm, as does the still centre of the finale with its tranquil flute and trombone-led chorale variation. The refulgence of the playing is a constant source of pleasure.
The Hungarian Dances come in Brahms and Dvorák`s orchestrations, their kinship self-evident.
They are earthy and sinewy with plenty of surge factor in the lower strings and the requisite cheekiness in the phrasing exemplified by those traditionally tantalising hesitations and stomping downbeats.” GRAMOPHONE GOOD CD GUIDE 2010