These concert recordings
offer performances which genuinely are
'live', in the sense of 'alive'.
And we get a succession of complementary
but dissimilar pieces which, to be honest,
offer far more varied and stimulating
listening than many an 'integrated'
(e.g. one-composer) CD programme.
These pieces are arranged
in chronological sequence, so we get
an informative, and most satisfying,
stylistic progression across some one
hundred years. Mozart's Serenade - complete
with obbligato timpani, the only
non-string instrument you'll hear on
the disc - is one of his most delightful.
The Mendelssohn 'symphony' shows the
teenage composer at his most inventive
and precocious. The Dvořák
is one music's timeless divertissements,
brimful of some of the composer's most
memorable tunes. And the Italian
Serenade is one of Wolf's most exuberant,
The ADD recordings
from Austrian Radio give us plenty of
noise from audience and musicians alike
- coughs, splutters, squeaking chairs,
shuffling bottoms, page turns, applause
and enthusiastic shouting, the lot -
not to mention a fair amount of tape
hiss. But we also get a most agreeable
middle-row concert ambience, which allows
detail and atmosphere in equal measure.
By the time you're only a minute or
two into the disc, you come to understand
the respect and admiration which Sándor
Végh commanded among his musicians.
The Camerata Academica's playing is
incisively articulated, beautifully
phrased, and communicates warmth and
enjoyment in abundance. Their singing
- violins and cellos in the gorgeous
opening theme of the Dvořák
- and their dancing - those prancing
lines in the Wolf! - are equally enchanting.
Don't take my comments
about noise too much to heart.
The spontaneity of this music-making
is its greatest strength: no studio
recording could ever give you what you've
Peter J Lawson