Tuesday, October 02, 2007

CD REVIEW: Beethoven Symphonies 4 & 7

September 21, 2007

By Attila Csampai, Bayern 4 Klassik
Radio Bayern 4 Klassik

Ludwig van Beethoven
Symphony No. 4 in B Flat Major (Op. 60), Symphony No. 7 in A Major (Op. 92)

The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen
Conductor: Paavo Järvi

Sony / BMG 88697-09995-2

The times of pretentious Beethoven monumentality seem to be coming to an end. The settings, too, are changing. In this new saeculum, young chamber orchestras from outside of the largest cities have seized the Beethoven initiative. After the fulminant Beethoven interpretations incited in local chamber orchestras by Thomas Dausgaard in Örebro, Sweden or Giovanni Antonini in Basel the Estonian-born American Paavo Järvi impressively reanimated the rebellious spirit of the Vienna composer last autumn in the Eroica and the Symphony No. 8 with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, thus opening a new and even more exciting chapter in current Beethoven reception, following on from the wonderful intermezzo of the historists.

Now, in episode two, Järvi has taken up the two symphonies "governed by rhythm" - No. 4 and No. 7 - and once again worked up his collective of Bremen musicians into a playing frenzy which could almost wake the dead. This is the crispest, most essential and intelligent Beethoven I have ever heard - and possibly the liveliest reanimation of a musical spitfire whose utopian energies can never be extinguished. It is not only the pulsating, constantly driving tempi, not only the acetous richness of timbre in the clearly contoured voices, and not only the dynamic explosiveness of such a highly-motivated group of professionals - it is the quite unique aura and the magnetic power of a precisely conducted collective of musicians possessed which sets apart these forty Bremen city musicians from most cumbersome large ensembles, and which also finally allows us to perceive the unreleased potential of this volcanic music. After this lesson, we can consign large portions of the established Beethoven discography, for want of interest, to mothballs.

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