French was always synonymous with elegance, and some of the great Paris newspapers still retain a fair amount of it; but there is also a thickening cloud of cloddishness
that seems to have come over via Amerique and its movies, TV programmes, and the like, especially among the young.
An earlier recording under the baton of Herbert von Karajan perpetuated the plodding cloddishness
of the work, but this new recording from the conductor's second-generation successor at the helm of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir Simon Rattle, gets rid of all the accumulated cobwebs, knocks nearly 25 minutes of the great man's timings, and digs deeply and warmly into the heart of what actually represents Brahms at his most sincere (the work was conceived as a tribute to the composer's mother).
Narrating her experiences in a mixture of brag and whine, she is an injustice collector, mean-spirited to those who would befriend her--though her own catalogue of insults and cloddishness