Friday, April 14, 2006

CD REVIEW: Bartok/Lutoslawski

Lawrence B. Johnson of the Detroit Daily News (4/14/06) has this very positive review to offer of Paavo and the Cincinnati Symphony's newest recording venture:
Critics' choice: Our top picks for the week's events

Classical CD

Not far from the mighty oak? Conductor Paavo Jarvi , the son of Detroit Symphony Orchestra music director emeritus Neeme Jarvi, has emerged large on the musical landscape. Word has it Paavo, 44, music director of the Cincinnati Symphony, is being considered as Daniel Barenboim's successor at the helm of the Chicago Symphony. All the evidence I've heard on Telarc's series of CD releases with Jarvi and Cincinnati -- and one appearance by Paavo with the DSO -- suggests that Chicago would do very well to grab him. Paavo Jarvi is a gifted conductor, a forming megastar.

The latest Jarvi-Cincinnati release from Telarc, a coupling of Bela Bartok 's 1943 Concerto for Orchestra and Witold Lutoslawski's 1954 Concerto for Orchestra, may be the most convincing demonstrations yet of the conductor's rightful place among the international elite. While Bartok's vibrant and much-recorded work is far better known than the Lutoslawski, Cincinnati's virtuosic and flavorful account reveals the latter's layered charm. Like the Hungarian Bartok's concerto, the Polish Lutoslawski's work displays its folk roots while also showcasing his flair for expressive line and orchestral color. Cincinnati offers a performance as suave as it is robust.

But the Bartok is simply disarming. Even measured against the piles of recordings by great conductors and orchestras, this new entry is distinguished by Jarvi's unhurried, probing, imaginative and precise conducting and by Cincinnati's impeccable delivery. The wind playing is a model of warmth and personality -- thanks in no small way to Telarc's spacious and smartly balanced sound.

By the way, the DSO plays both of these splendid concertos next month at Orchestra Hall, the Lutoslawski under Libor Pesek (May 5-7) and the Bartok under Neeme Jarvi (May 25-27).

Lutoslawski/Bartok: Concertos for Orchestra. Cincinnati Symphony conducted by Paavo Jarvi. Telarc CD-80618.

No comments: