The reading is highly structured, especially the finale, which Celibidache is able to present as a coherent whole, the progression through its diverse episodes seeming all the more logical for the carefully related tempos between them. Also…the band is in top form. The performance sounds well rehearsed, but still retains a vital spark of spontaneity.
The present performance of Brahms 1 was recorded by the American broadcaster Red-White-Red at one of Celibidache’s guest conducting concerts that had become such a bone of contention back in Berlin.
The Wiener Symphoniker give a fine lyrical account of the E major Andante sostenuto. The burnished autumnal feel of the countryside is almost palpable. It conjures up a scene on the edge of a tranquil and shadowy forest whilst anticipating the ominous onset of inclement weather. Right from the swaying opening measures gracious lyrical melodies abound in the short Un poco allegretto e grazioso. Celibidache manages to convey a mood of joyous contentment together with a pleasing warmth. Sadly the opening clarinet solo is difficult to hear and loses most of its pastoral colour. This is fresh music of the great outdoors evocative of early morning dew to a backdrop of Alpine scenery. In the final Adagio - Allegro non troppo ma con brio it is as if the listener is lying on a verdant bank watching the tones and shapes of a changing sky. Here Celibidache builds a mood weighty, sombre and tragic. Probably the highpoint is the great C major theme which unfolds with real affection.