BRAHMS BELOVED Wolf­gang Holz­mair (bari­tone), Felic­ity Lott (so­prano), Or­ches­tra Sin­fon­ica di Mi­lano Giuseppe Verdi/John Ax­el­rod

Te­larc TEL 3465902 (2 CDs) ★★★★

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - MUSIC - MICHAEL DER­VAN

Brahms and Clara Schu­mann first met when he was 20 and she 34, suc­cess­ful, mar­ried –to the com­poser Robert Schu­mann – and a mother. Their life­long friend­ship sur­vived his early ro­man­tic at­tach­ment, and she be­came one of his most im­por­tant cre­ative sup­ports. John Ax­el­rod has been cel­e­brat­ing this spe­cial re­la­tion­ship by cou­pling per­for­mances of Brahms’s sym­phonies – here the First and Third – with record­ings of Clara’s songs. Ax­el­rod’s ap­proach to the sym­phonies is in­tel­li­gent and fer­vent, and his Ital­ian or­ches­tra cap­tures well the surge and sweep of the writ­ing, es­pe­cially in the First. Ten of Clara’s songs are also beau­ti­fully, art­fully done, with Holz­mair and Lott sen­si­tively ac­com­pa­nied by Ax­el­rod on pi­ano.

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