Aureole etc.




Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line




Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Some items
to consider


New App by the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra for iOS and Android!

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 


REVIEW


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
Atoll
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample
 

alternatively
CD: AmazonUK AmazonUS
Download: Classicsonline


Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911)
Symphony No. 1 in D (1898) [55:25]
Bamberg Symphony Orchestra/Jonathan Nott
rec. Joseph-Keilberth-Saal, Bamberg, December 2005, January 2006
TUDOR 7147 [55:25] 
Experience Classicsonline


Even more than in these same forces' account of the Mahler Fifth (see review), what we have here is an excellent interpretation undertaken by a fair-to-middling orchestra.
 

Interpretively, Jonathan Nott's approach to Mahler recalls that of Jascha Horenstein - the highest compliment I can pay. It's not that Nott adheres to the Horenstein paradigm in every detail, although he does so, intentionally or otherwise, on a surprising number of points. But his way of playing the music has a similar sort of integrity, in that word's root sense of "wholeness": the conductor lays out each passage with an eye, or ear, on movement-long coherence, rather than playing up moment-by-moment effects. Paradoxically, the clear structural framework allows Nott the scope to hone and highlight a surprising amount of detail. 

Nott's no-nonsense musicality particularly benefits the symphony's latter two movements, which get pulled about mercilessly in some other performances. Thus, the third movement's klezmer episodes pick up speed, but the conductor treats the change as an adjustment to the established pulse rather than a sudden, unrelated forward "kick," so that the movement is all of a piece. Similarly, the opening of the Finale, which can suffer abrupt Punch-and-Judy shifts between the ominous brass calls and the turbulent violin runs, emerges the more powerfully for maintaining a steady forward impulse. It's good, too, to hear the brasses' piano version of the big motivic fanfare (8:08) stepping strictly in tempo - played thus, it neither breaks the momentum nor diminishes the power of the forte statement shortly thereafter at 9:32. 

In the opening movement, Nott doesn't go out of his way to disturb the "standard" interpretation, but he finds room for nice touches within it. The exposition's unfolding is easy and relaxed, perhaps too laid-back for some. The initial pianissimo statement sounds a bit withdrawn - I'll discuss that further in a bit - but registers more strongly and clearly on the exposition repeat. It's good actually to hear the descending string figure at 5:36 as it moves from the violins down to the violas and cellos, where it usually disappears. The flute soloist actually finds expression in the little repeated motif at the start of the development, and the timpani strokes shortly thereafter are ominous. At 11:27, where usually either the oboe or the violins are subordinated, both motifs register clearly. 

Lean, rustic basses launch the Scherzo, playing off incisive upper strings. The woodwinds are nicely poised and evenly balanced in the opening theme; the control is good at the Vorwärts marking.  It's in the Trio that Nott diverges most conspicuously from the Horenstein model, emulating Bernstein (Sony), Païta (Lodia), and Segerstam (Chandos), among others, in inflecting and punctuating the theme with a "Viennese," bar-by-bar rubato. He does so without disturbing the ongoing line - the music still moves forward with direction and purpose. The playing is shapely, though the theme's dotted figure starts out double-dotted, and the oboe keeps going that way for a while. The "seizing" of the original tempo at 6:48 is effective, and the Vorwärts again launches with good control, though the brasses sound a bit scrambled towards the close. 

As indicated in my review of Nott's Mahler Fifth, the Bamberg Symphony has improved since their early-stereo outings for Vox, producing a focused, powerful ensemble sound in tutti. But the playing, while always capable, sometimes lacks presence and character. The strings have trouble maintaining intensity when playing quietly, a flaw underlined by Nott's otherwise commendable attention to the softer dynamics. The Finale's melting second theme, for example, is pale here - the tone gradually fills out, but the demeanour remains reticent until the final few bars. Even the brasses aren't immune: in the first movement, the trumpet at 4:08 and 6:17 and the muted horns at 9:56 are unduly bashful - as is, for that matter, the third movement's famous bass solo - and the trombone at 2:13 of the Scherzo is clear, but hardly commanding. Note that such passages are the exception, not the rule - generally the playing is full of life and color - but they're a let-down. 

No complaints about the sound quality. Even in plain frontal stereo, the sense of "presence" and attack is most convincing, without the occasional harsh edge that bothered me in the Fifth. The big brass chords reproduce with marvelous depth, and there's a rousing impact in the big bass thwacks. Still, with Horenstein's sonically refurbished mono recording (Vox) theoretically still available - the Unicorn stereo remake with the LSO may well be in permanent digital limbo, alas - the general collector might as well go for the original.

Stephen Francis Vasta 

see also Review by Dan Morgan


 

 
 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
.
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Comment
Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips


Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools




Return to Review Index

Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.