Beethoven: Overtures - Järvi
RCA SICC-10190, 0888750223227
Classical - Orchestral
Beethoven: "The Creatures of Prometheus" Overture, Op. 43; "Coriolan" Overture, Op. 62; "Fidelio" Overture Op. 72c; "Leonore" Overture No. 3, Op. 72b; "Egmont" Overture, Op. 84; "The Consecration of the House" Overture, Op. 124
Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen
- Ludwig van Beethoven: Coriolan - Overture, Op. 62
- Ludwig van Beethoven: Die Geschöpfe des Prometheus - Overture, Op. 43 'The Creatures of Prometheus'
- Ludwig van Beethoven: Die Weihe des Hauses - Overture, Op. 124 'The Consecration of the House'
- Ludwig van Beethoven: Egmont - Overture, Op. 84
- Ludwig van Beethoven: Fidelio, Op. 72
- Ludwig van Beethoven: Leonore Overture No. 3, Op. 72b
Review by John Broggio - September 3, 2014
As with the superb cycle from these forces, Jarvi & the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie of Bremen return to Beethoven to present six of his overtures (his "best" if one slips into marketing speak!)
The shortest offering, The Creatures of Prometheus, comes first and is imbued with the same characteristics as the symphony cycle: lithe textures, dramatic changes of dynamic and a powerful drive permeates the music. However fine this performance is though, the account of the Coriolan overture that follows is extraordinary. This is an electric account from beginning to end that generates so much tension one almost forgets to breathe! What is perhaps most noteworthy is that most accounts of this power are delivered at many notches slower; this performance illustrates that a weighty tone is not always necessary for such a moving experience in Beethoven.
The Fidelio overture provides welcome repose in the sunlight Adagio's but this team's characteristic verve returns in the Allegro's to shed all potential cobwebs that this music has acquired under grander baton wavers. The centrepiece of the set follows: Leonore overture, No. 3. Arguably Beethoven's greatest overture receives an account that respects the lyricism of much of the introduction but is also attuned to the martial aspects. Jarvi's ability to get the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie to execute long, carefully graduated crescendo's makes for more musical drama than many manage to make out of "mere" repeated material. Likewise, their collective saving themselves expressively for the comparatively few fortissimo markings makes them tell more acutely than often. In MCH, the off-stage trumpet contributions are marvellously distant, yet radiant in tone and the overture is capped by a thrillingly despatched coda.
After such magical playing, what follows could easily fall flat but fortunately these forces manage to evoke a similar passion in the opening of Egmont to that which was heard to shattering effect in the Coriolan overture. The careful pacing and phrasing makes the tempo change seem not only completely natural but utterly inevitable. The same considerations apply in the closing overture, The Consecration of the House. In fact, the following quote of a review by Neville Cardus of a Berliner Philharmoniker/Herbert von Karajan concert of Beethoven applies here:
"Every note had vitality, yet every note was joined to all the others. There were no tonal lacunae, not a hiatus all night. We could hear things in the score which usually we are obliged to seek out by eyes reading the score. Phrase ran beautifully into phrase, viola took on from violin, cello from viola without an obvious 'join'. The double-basses were magnificent and capable of quite delicate shading. Woodwind choired, perfectly blended. The violins were alternately warm and brilliant. It was never a case of merely technical facility integrated to near perfection. This orchestra is, of course, musical to the bone's marrow."
Of course, there is a radically different aesthetic employed in this recording to that which Karajan & his orchestra gave but when makes due allowance for the shifting sands of musical "taste", it is hard to find a more apposite description of these performances. All in all, this set easily supplants Beethoven: The 11 Overtures - Masur musically, although there are 5 overtures not offered here.
Sonically, the DSD recording from Hamburg (Leonore, Egmont, Consecration) and Berlin which was engineered by Polyhymnia is a model of clarity and warmth that makes for a wonderful demonstration of hi-resolution recordings.
Extremely strongly recommended, particularly for those who have yet to sample Beethoven from this remarkable pairing.
Copyright © 2014 John Broggio and HRAudio.net