One of the most grown-up review sites around

2019
51,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here

     
  
 

 

International mailing


  Founder: Len Mullenger             Editor in Chief: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider

TROUBADISC

Reger Violin Sonatas
Renate Eggebrecht violin

Brahms Symphony 3
Dvorak Symphony 8
Vivaldi
9 cello sonatas
Dussek
Piano Music

Clara Schumann
piano concerto

Asmik Grigorian

Breathtaking Performance
controversial staging
Review Westbrook
Review Hedley
Every lover of Salome should see this recording
Mullenger interpretation

Vraiment magnifique!


Quite splendid


Winning performances


Mahler Symphony 8
a magnificent disc


a huge talent


A wonderful disc


Weinberg Symphonies 2 & 21
A handsome tribute!


Roth’s finest Mahler yet


Mahler 9 Blomstedt
Distinguished performance

 


Support us financially by purchasing this from

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)
Symphony No. 3 in in F major, Op.90 (1883) [38:59]
Antonin DVOŘÁK (1841-1904)
Symphony No. 8 in G major, Op.88 (1889) [36:57]
Bamberg Symphony Orchestra / Jakub Hrůša
rec. 2018, Joseph-Keilberth-Saal, Bamberg, Germany
TUDOR 1743 SACD [38:59+36:57]

Describing Brahms’s sublime Third Symphony is a tricky prospect. It seems the most varied of the four, with some of the angst of the first and fourth symphonies alongside sunny lyricism associated with the second. It is a superbly integrated work whose opening evinces a kind of impetuous power – the two chords that both set the scene for and present the muscular first theme. Well do I remember a performance in London many decades ago, where the gestures of the great Bernard Haitink left no doubt about how he wanted these pages to be played. The opening of the symphony in this performance under Czech conductor Jakub Hrůša seems short on drive, especially when compared to such a performance as that one, or indeed that by Riccardo Chailly on Decca. There are, of course, many ways of approaching such a masterpiece, but here there is too little contrast between the opening and the second subject group, though the second subject is beautifully played and is almost balletic as presented here. The exposition is, quite rightly, repeated, after which the development section is rather more forthright, and with a real sense of mystery where required. With the recapitulation, however, we are back to the mood and ambience of the opening, and Hrůša’s decision to move the tempo forward doesn’t really add much excitement to the passage.

The slow movement is very successful, with the conductor well in command of the music’s changing moods. The opening of the Scherzo, however, is disappointing. Most people will want something with rather more yearning than this: that could be achieved, I think, simply by making more of the crescendo and decrescendo markings in the score. The finale tells a similar story: the fast music at the opening goes well, but Hrůša seems unconcerned to maintain tension in the calmer passages. Many listeners might react well to this, and it is clearly how the conductor feels the work. For this listener an important element in the music is too often absent. If you feel the same way, Chailly is only one of many recommendable performances.

The Dvořák, happily, receives a totally successful and satisfying performance. This symphony, too, traverses many moods, but the smiling, cheerful side is frequently in evidence. Hrůša brings this out very successfully, but he does not short-change the listener when it comes to the more dramatic passages, of which there are many. He plays the opening bars more slowly than the tempo he adopts for the main body of the movement. (In spite of the fact that Dvořák marks only two short passages to be played a little more slowly, and all the rest is Allegro con brio, I have never heard it done any other way.) Hrůša is rather freer with the music’s pulse than some other conductors. He encourages the orchestra to quite assertive playing in the faster passages, and brings out quite markedly the violence that creeps into the development section. The opening of the slow movement is unusually serious and contemplative, but the contrast is beautifully achieved when the sun comes out at the three-minute mark. A lovely solo from the leader embellishes this moment, and events the second time around are even more successfully managed. The scherzo sometimes seems to play itself, so natural and unassuming is Dvořák’s inspiration, but that only masks the skill and insight of the players, and that is very much the case here. If the first statement of the main theme of the finale seems a little matter of fact from the cellos, the remainder of the movement does not lack the energy required, and the long passage before the final coda, where Dvořák, as so often, seems unwilling to let go of his themes and to bid them farewell is highly expressive and satisfying.

The Bamberg Symphony Orchestra has made many fine recordings with its previous Music Director, Jonathan Nott, an outstanding Mahler series in particular. The orchestra has historical Czech connections, and is obviously in very fine shape with its new conductor, Jakub Hrůša. Both works are beautifully recorded, with few signs of the audience’s presence in the Dvořák. There is a booklet in three languages, but French readers will be disappointed that the fascinating interview with the conductor appears only in German and English.

William Hedley



We are currently offering in excess of 51,000 reviews


Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Nimbus Podcast


Obtain 10% discount



Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Postmaster
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger