Beethoven: Symphonies No. 4 & 7
The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Paavo Järvi
RCA/BMG (original Japanese release: 23 May 2007; recorded 2004/5)
Variée Magazine, July 2007
CD Review by Kawada-san
An Unparalleled Masterwork That Never Disappoints the Audience's Expectations
This CD is the second installment in the complete recording of Beethoven's symphonies by Paavo Järvi and The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen and includes the Fourth and Seventh Symphonies. The complete recording is expected to consist of five albums – the First and Fifth ("Fate" Symphony) will be released next, in 2008, and the Second and Sixth ("Pastoral") in 2009. The Beethoven Project will conclude with the Ninth Symphony and its closing chorus.
This lengthy process is probably what makes it possible to complete such an ambitious project. The time-consuming work on the release of this CD can be perceived even when listening to it. Järvi and The Kammerphilharmonie spent a three-day session recording the Fourth Symphony. For the Seventh there is a recording from June 2004, supplemented by another from September 2006, probably in order to further intensify the originality that emerged from the concerts.
The first CD received outstanding reviews worldwide; this new release is also a fantastic success. The fans, whose number is increasing steadily, will not be disappointed. Each section of the orchestra retains its tonal independence, even in fortissimo; at no point does the sound become muddy. Even in the outer movements of the two symphonies, where otherwise the refined sound is often lost at a brisk tempo, this well-developed approach invariably comes across. Every instrument makes its own statement without getting in the way of the voices of the others.
If this had only sounded like skillful work, but with emotional coldness, it would have made no sense at all. Yet, despite the dizzying tempo, the music is conveyed with great passion, although Järvi precisely controls the balance. I was simply speechless at this brilliant power. A multifaceted artistic achievement is obvious when listening to this new recording. Strict attention to the wide range of Beethoven's dynamic indications results in spectacular vitality. Energy springs up from the gradually developed crescendi; in the pianissimo, on the other hand, the expressive style is serene and lyrical. The solid rhythm captivates again and again.
This work, refined down to the smallest detail, acquires such great persuasive power that it immediately seizes the listener's ears and heart and doesn't let go of them again. This interpretation stands far above many other performances that strive for merely superficial effects. As a result of their deep understanding of the music, the participants read the notes carefully, and their persistence makes interpretations of the highest standard possible. Such an unparalleled, brilliant achievement is made possible above all by profound trust between conductor and orchestra.