Tuesday, October 02, 2007

CD REVIEW: Beethoven Symphonies 4 & 7

Second installment of the Beethoven Symphonies from Paavo and DKAM's explosive collaboration!

The SACD of the Month
"Stereoplay" October 2007

Beethoven, Symphonies No. 4 and No. 7
Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Paavo Järvi
SonyBMG Hybrid-SACD
88697-09995-2 (69:23)

Paavo Järvi's Beethoven Revolution

Paavo Järvi, an Estonian-born American, has developed into a veritable magician at the lectern. After having taken the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra back to the top in recent years (with a series of excellent recordings on Telarc), as of 2004 he also oversees the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie in Bremen. Here too, he has produced an enormous artistic revival at the first attempt.

The levels of performance which this charismatic total musician is able to incite, even in more reserved Bremen natives, could already be experienced 'first hand' by listening to the first disc of a new Beethoven cycle: the Eroica and the ever-underestimated Symphony No. 8 had never been heard with such fervour and drive ('Audiophile of the Month' from stereoplay 11/06).

Now Järvi has taken up the two playfully-constructed symphonies No. 4 and No. 7, and once again worked up his collective of Bremen musicians into a veritable 'playing frenzy', which could electrify even the most hard-nosed reviewer. I have never, since the recordings of Arturo Toscanini, heard such an 'authentic', rebellious, unrestrainedly-sensual and flawlessly-performed Beethoven.

It is not only the pulsating, constantly driving tempi, not only the acetous richness of timbre learned from the historians, or the wonderfully dramatic dialogue of free, clearly-constructed 'voices', not only the dynamic explosiveness of a frictionless, hyper-alert collective - it is the quite unique aura and the magnetic power of being collectively possessed which sets apart these forty Bremen city musicians from most large ensembles, and which also finally reveals the relentless obsession and burning modernity of such a volcanic genius - and this is achieved with such urgency and clarity that large portions of the established Beethoven discography can subsequently, for want of interest, be returned to the shelves. Finally, the days of cosy bourgeois Beethoven are entirely behind us.

Attila Csampai

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

These three rave reviews are in my opinion quite accurate. The reviewers all do a good job of conveying the kinds of imipressions I had when listening to this disc (and its predecessor). The sound quality, especially in SACD, is truly outstanding. I'd recommend ordering a copy from Japan (e.g., Amazon) as I did rather than wait a year or two for it so surface in the US. It will cost nearly twice what a local full price CD would but will give much more than twice the satisfaction. The earlier disc with 3 & 8 is now generally available in the US, and once you've heard that you won't be able to live without this one.