Another contributory factor to the disc’s success is
the recording quality, which demonstrates an inviting warmth missing
from most more recent issues. It nevertheless also has the ability to
capture the ferocity of the string’s bite at the opening of the last
movement, does not obscure detail and demonstrates an admirable sense
of perspective. There are many moments of beauty throughout the performance:
the marvellous phrasing of the second subject of the first movement
by the solo flute; the creamy balance of the chords which open the slow
movement; the sense of space breathed by this same movement; the sprightly
rhythms of the Scherzo. Only the Trio is slightly laboured and a little
literal, but that is not enough to withdraw any part of the recommendation.
Over and over again passages which can sound routine in other hands
are revealed as gripping here. This performance would make an ideal
partner to the much more recent and just as musical account by the Budapest
Festival Orchestra under Iván Fischer on Philips 464 640-2. review
Can there ever be a surfeit of recordings of Romeo
and Juliet? Certainly the catalogue has never been short of them.
Gaetano Delogu’s live account with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra
on Supraphon SU3256-2, coupled with Tchaikovsky’s cruelly underrated
First Symphony is tremendously exciting, while Sian Edwards provides
a reading which is resilient to multiple playings with the Royal Liverpool
Philharmonic Orchestra (EMI Eminence CD-EMX2152).
Muti brings an Italianate passion to this fiery music.
The real pianissimo and beautiful voicing of the opening leads to sweeping
string articulation and moments of real tragedy as well as eroticism.
Muti follows the ebb and flow of the musical narrative perfectly. If
the ‘heartbeat’ of the timpani near the end of the piece could be clearer,
the final chord has a real drama and finality about it which seems to
sum up the intensity of the reading overall.
Overall this disc represents a marvellous bargain.
Buy it before EMI delete it.