Music Review

Brahms: Symphony No. 2; Alto Rhapsody (1990)

EW's GRADE
A

Details Lead Performances: Claudio Abbado, Berlin Philharmonic and Marjana Lipovsek; Genre: Classical

You'd better start getting used to the sound of it: Claudio Abbado and Berlin. Only the fifth permanent conductor in the century-plus history of the Berlin Philharmonic, Abbado stepped up after Herbert von Karajan stepped down in a snit last April (and, in July, dropped dead). Fear not, the world's greatest orchestra is in good hands. Brahms may have been music's Gloomy Gus, but the Second Symphony is its Sunny Jim, and Abbado and the boys (the BPO remains 99.9 percent male) give it a rip-roaring reading. Nice ''Alto Rhapsody,'' too, although you should feel free to sleep through it if you want to. Everybody else does.

Originally posted Sep 19, 2003 Published in issue #1 Feb 16, 1990 Order article reprints