Brahms: Complete Symphonies / Blomstedt, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra

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Herbert Blomstedt and the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig present Brahms’s complete symphonies on Pentatone. These recordings, made between 2019 and 2021, have already met with extraordinary critical acclaim. BBC Music Magazine praised the performance of the First Symphony as “splendid and inspiring”, praising Blomstedt’s “admirable attention to detail” and “wonderfully controlled performances”, while pointing out about the Second Symphony that “with glowing playing throughout from the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra it’s hard not to enjoy this affectionate and superbly recorded new version”. Gramophone equally praised the Second Symphony, stating that the “Leipzig orchestra play magnificently” while lauding the “naturalness and ease” of Blomstedt’s performance. The Times pointed out about the same recording that “as soon as this symphony ambles into its opening bars we feel supremely in safe hands”, and concluded that “the special glory of Blomstedt’s thoughtful interpretation is its emotional resonance.”

The recording of the Third and Fourth Symphony was crowned with a Diapason d’or, and hailed as a “a majestic close to a complete set of Brahms symphonies that will mark a milestone.” These critical voices all acknowledge the exceptional congeniality of maestro and orchestra, as well as the unheard-of freshness of Blomstedt, who concluded this cycle at the age of 94.

In the more than sixty years of his career, he has acquired the unrestricted respect of the musical world. The Gewandhausorchester Leipzig is the oldest civic orchestra in the world with a glorious history, and is still counted among the world’s leading ensembles.


While not perfect, this performance of the Second has plenty of impetus and energy–at least after the first movement. After this, however, the performance is wholly gorgeous, with an Adagio non troppo of effortless nobility, a delectable Allegretto grazioso, and an uplifting finale that contains everything missing from the first movement.

-- ClassicsToday

Last August I welcomed the final CD in Herbert Blomstedt’s generally superb set of Brahms’s symphonies with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. The disc in question coupled the Third and Fourth Symphonies. I made the point then that ‘terms such as “utterly natural”, “unaffected”, “honest”, “patient”, “sensibly paced” and the like have helped weave a garland of praise that has been in place around Blomstedt’s shoulders for many years. This Brahms coupling … is typical.’ Inevitably, the cycle is now available in a handsome slimline box, taking its place alongside very different recent contenders under the brothers Iván and Adám Fischer (Channel Classics; Naxos, A/22). Blomstedt’s approach, although remarkably alert for a man in his nineties, thoughtfully explores the music’s many inner nooks and crannies. His overall handling of each work is patient, profound and more often than not blessed with an inner calm, though witness the finale of the Second Symphony and the music really takes flight. The sound is wonderful, too. The first three symphonies have their big repeats in place and all in all I’d rate it as one of the finest digital Brahms sets on the current market.

-- Gramophone

Product Description:

  • Release Date: September 16, 2022

  • Catalog Number: PTC5186978

  • UPC: 827949097867

  • Label: Pentatone

  • Number of Discs: 3

  • Period: Romantic

  • Composer: Johannes Brahms

  • Conductor: Herbert Blomstedt

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Gewandhausorchester Leipzig


  1. Symphonies Nos. 1-4

    Composer: Johannes Brahms

    Ensemble: Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra

    Conductor: Herbert Blomstedt