This recording is designed
to promote The
Sage as a venue - and it more than
fulfils this aim. This is a truly exciting
recording of excellent quality. Freshness
and life pervade these well-known works
and the sound quality can only be described
as stunning. The partnership between
Austrian-born director/soloist Zehetmair
and the resident orchestra is a vibrant
success; the acoustic is superb. Both
works are well known and substantial.
the disc is good value in terms of content
as well as quality.
The Brahms is
especially lovely - warm, full, rich
sound which typifies this composer's
best works. Its sound-world is strongly
reminiscent of the Second Symphony -
written in the same place - the mountain
resort of Portschach - in Carinthia)
only a year earlier.
Although this work
is already well represented in the recording
catalogue, I have very much liked this
particular performance. The work has
a strong role for the orchestra, as
well as the soloist, and the Northern
Sinfonia's playing is more than equal
to this. Zehetmair's contribution is
considerable; he has edited a revised
edition of the score, in addition to
adding his own cadenza.
This makes the concerto
a hard act to follow, but the Schumann
is also very good. A more measured work,
this is solid and steady but never heavy
or portentous. My only reservation is
that perhaps the brass is a little strident
in the first movement. Both oboe and
violin excel in the second movement.
The finale skilfully combines pace with
lightness of touch, reflecting well
on Zehetmair's abilities as a conductor
as well as soloist.
This disc is a fine
advertisement for the quality of playing
- and indeed the acoustic - to be heard
at The Sage. Were I still living in
the North of England, it would encourage
me to visit this splendid new concert
hall. As this is no longer so, I shall
be looking out for other recordings
from this talented combination.