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
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
certainly lives up to its name.
The opening of the 14 year old Mendelssohnís String Symphony
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
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.
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
I have nothing but admiration and respect for this orchestra. They should
be very proud of what they have achieved on this recording.