Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Phenomenal: Beethoven symphonies from the Kammerphilharmonie Bremen

October 2, 2007

Stuttgarter Zeitung

Neither mourning nor dancing
By Jürgen Hartmann

Paavo Järvi and the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen make Beethoven shine with resplendent light, simultaneously freeing the symphonies from the quagmire of analytical verbosity in the process. A funeral march? The apotheosis of dance? Perhaps, but this is certainly not the main issue here. Everything which Beethoven included in his composition – the irritation, the composition process, the genially unfinished oeuvre, the paradox – it is all conveyed with razor-sharp precision on the second CD of this new symphony cycle, as on the first, without any pretentious deconstruction of the musical fabric.

The pinpoint crescendi, the clarity of the musical layering, the incredibly detailed arrangement of the musical dialogue impress once again, and not only in the superbly executed solo sections. Many parts are performed at a terrific pace, but not simply scurried through: the Estonian-born conductor and his fabulous orchestra always allow time for the tonal language to come through, especially in the quieter passages, which simply quiver with suspense.

The oft-neglected Fourth Symphony is highly privileged. It becomes apparent, upon following Järvi’s highly analytical presentation, that the opening Adagio is often taken to be a prime example of a slow introduction. It is noticeable, in any case, that the slow movements by no means pale in comparison to the tumult of the Allegro, as may often be observed in historicising interpretations. With the Beethoven of the Bremen orchestra, every metre has a tremendous amount to say. The equally clear and astute slant on what is assumed to be familiar in the Seventh is simply stunning – it can hardly be described, it has to be experienced. It is true what they say – the best Beethoven symphony is always the one you are listening to at the time.

Ludwig van Beethoven: Fourth and Seventh symphonies. RCA Red Seal 88697129332 (SACD)

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