"Like father, like son," they say. Here we find Paavo Jarvi tackling Grieg's incidental music for Ibsen's Peer Gynt, a work his father, Neeme, famously recorded for Deutsche Grammophon 18 years ago. Both versions make strong cases for a fuller performing edition than the familiar suites, though Paavo, unlike his papa, omits the sequences that are meant to accompany dialogue, which is a mistake.
On the plus side, Paavo is the more dramatically incisive of the two. There is some exceptional playing from the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, while the chorus have a whale of a time as the Trolls, egging each other on to bite Peer's bum in The Hall of the Mountain King. The soloists are excellent, too. Peter Mattei is the swollen-headed Peer, Camilla Tilling a dignified, unsentimental Solveig and the incomparable Charlotte Hellekant a camp but lethally seductive Anitra.
**** out of ***** stars
Sunday, December 18, 2005
CD REVIEW: Grieg: Peer Gynt
Tim Ashley of the London Guardian offers this brief review (5/13/05):