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Sir C. Hubert H. PARRY (1848-1918)
An English Suite [24:33]
Felix MENDELSSOHN-BARTHOLDY (1809-1847)
String Symphony No. 10 in B minor, MWV N 10 [11:58]
Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)
Souvenir de Florence, Op. 70 [36:23]
Karl JENKINS (b.1944)
Palladio - Concerto Grosso for String Orchestra [3:51]
Deutsche Streicherphilharmonie/Michael Sanderling
rec. Siemensvilla, Berlin, 21-22 August 2011, 18-20 April 2009
GENUIN GEN13277 [76:52]

I started to play the opening Parry work on the disc before reading the CD booklet. I was astonished to discover that the orchestra consists of young German string players aged 11 to 19. On the whole they sound like a professional string orchestra. The young musicians qualify via auditions for participation in the orchestra and they meet several times a year for rehearsals and concert tours. After ten years with the orchestra, Michael Sanderling has now handed over the baton to his successor and current chief conductor Wolfgang Hentrich. The level of musicianship that Mr Sanderling achieves with these young people is truly amazing. Itís also very encouraging to hear his young, elite ensemble in such a varied programme of music. Clearly they enjoyed every minute of it. In these worrying times for music education in the UK the professional German orchestras should clearly have little concerns about where their future string players are going to come from. This is a fabulous ensemble.

The Parry English Suite is a lovely work and the opening Prelude is despatched with great ťlan and joy achieving a deep and fully satisfying tone. What is really remarkable is the professional poise flowing out of such young players. Only occasionally do you feel the conductor having to pull his orchestra back. The In Minuet Style movement and Pastoral are beautifully controlled and there is some fine delicate playing to be heard. The Air has some ravishing solo passages - they should be acknowledged in the booklet - and the final Frolic certainly lives up to its name.

The opening of the 14 year old Mendelssohnís String Symphony is as hushed and compelling as you could wish for and the following Allegro shows the virtuosity of the players off to perfection. Over and above this virtuosity the orchestra displays great elasticity in their phrasing and a wide dynamic range. Itís very apt that the genius of a young German composer is recorded so wonderfully well by a group of young Germans.

The enthusiastic start to the Souvenir de Florence is undermined by the rather stilted pause in the phrasing which I found irritating on repetition. It sounds overdone. The Adagio cantabile is superb with great atmosphere and yet more top quality work from the soloists. Forget their youth - this is the real thing without any mistake. The booklet notes refer to this as being a love duet and I can think of no better way of describing it. It also retains the intimacy of the original sextet version. The final two movements are played fearlessly, virtually without flaw and with fire and drive. The orchestra gets a wee bit carried away in the final bars but itís all tremendously exciting.

Palladio is one of those classic Karl Jenkins pieces that has an instant appeal. You canít get it out of your brain once youíve heard it and as an encore it brings this exceptional CD to a brilliant close.

The recording is full, deep and natural and captures everything with fidelity.

I have nothing but admiration and respect for this orchestra. They should be very proud of what they have achieved on this recording.

John Whitmore