Audiophile HD-Vinyls 96/24 (Decca) Johannes Brahms – The Four Symphonies (Solti)

I’ve been listening many times to this set, particularly the 1st Symphony, and my opinion has changed, concerning other great performances of other conductors. Now I am in absolute awe of it. Why has this collection changed my mind? In one word: bass. The low register instruments, especially the basses and cellos, stand strongly in these recordings, and the result is I’m discovering a *lot* of depth to the composition that had escaped me before. Brahms turns out to be a much better composer than other recordings had let me discover before. In certain passages, I focus totally on the low strings, just to see what they’re up to, and I’m richly rewarded…

# Composer: Johannes Brahms
# Orchestra:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
# Conductor: Sir Georg Solti
# Vinyl (1979)
# Number of Discs: 4
# Format: Flac
# DR-Analysis: DR 16
# Label: Decca
# ASIN: B0000026Y6
# Size: 4.09 GB
# Scan: yes
# Server: FF


Then I go back to some of my previous Brahms’ recordings, and I can barely hear the same wonderful passages. Very disappointing! Aside from the wonderful mix, everything else is quite fine. The tempos are crisp, the orchestra sounds magnificent, just right on. Finally, Solti should NOT be commended for including the exposition repeats. Instead, other conductors should be cursed and shunned for ever omitting them.

This set deserves more credit than it usually gets.
Yes, much of Furtwangler’s Brahms is amazing, as is Walter’s, and Klemperer’s First and Second. But this Solti Brahms set has been unfairly maligned ever since it was released. Like this wonderful cycle, itself, the Solti/Chicago recordings of the Brahms symphonies deserve more credit than they get. All things considered, this is one of the best Brahms cycles going, especially as a budget-priced offering. Those looking to purchase an inexpensive Brahms Symphony cycle without having to buy individual discs cannot go wrong with this set. The performances are solid and not lacking in excitement, especially in thrilling moments like the final codas of the First, Second, and Fourth.
The recordings have been maligned for being too “boomy,” but I disagree. I think that the full, weighty, well-rounded, bass response of these recordings is just right for Brahms, whose orchestral sound starts from the bottom, up. The fullness of these recordings gives weight and fullness to the brass, timpani, and low strings, but the “late analog” sound still has enough clarity to give plenty of crispness in climactic moments. I think that people who think these recordings are too “bass heavy,” have become to used to hearing ineffectively thin recordings of Brahms symphonies: for example, while I enjoy many of Karajan’s recorded performances (and his 1978 Brahms’ Second might be my favorite recording of that symphony) I will concede that most of his Brahms’ recordings sound too thin to give full weight to Brahms’ orchestral sound. Brahms’ wonderful symphonies are warm, passionate, full-blooded works, and they need well-rounded recordings to fully reveal their beauty. Furtwangler knew that Brahms’ sound needed to have a firm foundation of bass, and while Solti’s phrasing may not be as flexible as Furtwangler’s, the orchestral sound on these recordings seems to have exactly the right depth and fullness for Brahms.
I found the depth of these recordings to be a pleasant surprise in an era when the Chicago SO’s sound was known for being on the “blary” side. I don’t always like Solti’s recordings, but I don’t think these performaces can be faulted, unless one doesn’t like his observance of the exposition repeats in these symphonies. Furtwangler’s Brahms is undoubtedly great but I think that most people – who haven’t been listening to Brahms for 20 years – may not respond very positively to the “vintage” of his recordings, or his somewhat histrionic style.



  Symphony No. 1 In C Moll, Op. 68
A1 Un Poco Sostenuto – Allegro 16:40
A2 Andante Sostenuto 9:45
B1 Un Poco Allegretto E Grazioso 4:38
B2 Adagio – Più Andante – Allegro Non Troppo, Ma Con Brio 17:28
  Symphony No. 2 In D-dur, Op. 73
C1 Allegro Non Troppo 20:38
C2 Adagio Non Troppo 10:28
D1 Allegretto Grazioso (Quasi Andantino) – Presto Ma Non Assai 5:25
D2 Allegro Con Spirito 8:40
  Tragische Ouvertüre
D3 Tragic Overture, Op. 81 13:21
  Symphony No. 3 In F-dur, Op. 90
E1 Allegro Con Brio 13:45
E2 Andante 9:20
F1 Poco Allegretto 6:23
F2 Allegro 8:43
  Akademische Festouvertüre
F3 Academic Festival Overture, Op. 80 10:24
  Symphony No. 4 In E Moll, Op. 98
G1 Allegro Non Troppo 12:30
G2 Andante Moderato 12:48
H1 Allegro Giocoso 6:09
H2 Allegro Energico E Passionato 10:13


Ripping Infos

  • RCM: Okki Nokki
  • TT: Clearaudio Champion Level II
  • System: Special Edition Denon DL 103
  • Phono stage: Pro-Ject Phono Box II
  • Pre Amp: Unison Research Unico Pre (Tube)
  • ADC/DAC: RME Fireface UC
  • Finals: Opera Consonance 9.9 Mono (Tube)
  • Speakers: Dali Helikon 400
  • Connections: MIT Terminator, Audioquest Emerald, Audioquest Quartz
  • Software: iZotope RX Advanced v2.02, Adobe Audition CS 5.5 -> Wave 32 bit/96 kHz
  • Light de-Clicking with ClickRepair, significant clicks manually removing, no De-Noising

You hear some clicks and pops here and there? Who cares?
I better let some light anomalies instead of destroying the music. Enjoy the music, not the ticks & pops.

  • DR-Analisys before converting to Flac
  • Converting Wave 32bit/96kHz -> Flac 24bit/96kHz: Twisted Wave
  • Artwork: Sony Alpha 350, Epson Perfection V750 Pro, Photoshop CS 5.5

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PW: LaWally

18 thoughts on “Audiophile HD-Vinyls 96/24 (Decca) Johannes Brahms – The Four Symphonies (Solti)

  1. Joe & Josh: Pt. 9 is not a problem. Plus RACH doesn’t control the FF servers. We know that FF makes it difficult for non-FF members to download all the uploaded files in order that we’ll consider paying out for premuim speeds… RACH-on!!!

  2. you want to listen to this with a good pair of headphones, you will be in heaven. its an amazing recording. You blew me away Rach, thank you, thank you, thank you

  3. 2017/04/18: Merveilleux ! Il n’est jamais trop tard. Enfin, pour les Filefactory il n’est pas encore trop tard. Merci Danke Thank you !

  4. Magnificent set and excellent play!! I was taken how well the bass range is represented. Most of those details are lost on most of the other versions I listened to.
    I have to say this is one of my favorite…
    Thank you Alf!!!

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