MusicWeb International reviews more Classical recordings than any one else.

2020
53,555 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



£11 post-free anywhere
Normal service resumed


TROUBADISC

100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas


 

Recordings of the Month

June


Beethoven String Quartets


Produzioni Armoniche


Seven Symphonic Poems


Shostakovich VC1 Baiba Skride
Tchaikovsky Symph 5 Nelsons


Vivaldi Violin Concertos

 

May


Beethoven Piano Concertos


Stradal Transcriptions


LOSY Note d’oro


Scarlatti Sonatas Vol 2



Support us financially by purchasing this from

Josef SUK (1874-1935)
Symphony No. 2 in C minor, Op.27 'Asrael' (1905-06)
Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra/Jakub Hruša
rec. live, 18-20 October 2018, Philharmonie im Gasteig, Munich
BR KLASSIK 900188 [62:43]

This is Jakub Hruša’s second record of the Asrael Symphony, his earlier having been recorded with the Tokyo Metropolitan Orchestra for Exton in 2015. Since then he has chalked up a number of further performances, in places as geographically widely-spaced as Melbourne and Cleveland, and whilst his conception has not changed significantly in the three years that separate the Tokyo recording and this latest one with the Bavarian Symphony, it’s very noticeable that his Bavarian tempi are in every movement more relaxed than those he took in Japan.

Partly this is an interpretative readjustment possibly as a result of his German orchestra’s greater familiarity with the repertoire. It was decades ago, of course, but this after all is the same orchestra that Rafael Kubelík directed in this work with such exceptional results. In fact, in some ways, not least the opening slow movement of part one and in the finale of the symphony, I am most reminded of Kubelík’s lineage, though Hrůša himself is a conducting student of the School of Bělohlávek, whose own recordings are also identifiably independent in conception.

Hruša has a fruitful recording contract with his Bamberg orchestra but the Bavarians provide some real trenchancy in the brass, especially the low brass, and in the layered strings. The high winds are also excellently balanced here, and the bass drum resounds like the Last Judgement in the Andante sostenuto, a movement made all the more visceral by virtue of the conductor’s steady tempo. The succeeding Andante is also steady; Talich is slower in the famous first recording of the work but most others take the music a notch faster. But the Mahlerian-Moravian calls are aptly in place, and in the final panel of the first part, the conductor negotiates a potentially tricky change from the vivace to the andante sostenuto panel with great perception. The gauzy nostalgia here is touching and emotively affecting.

The refined solo voices in the Adagio opening of the second part – in particular the solo violin - and the control of dynamics ensure that tension never saps and the eloquent balance between the winds and strings in the finale – again at that trademark measured but also moving tempo – brings the work to a vivid end. Mackerras and Svetlanov in their own very different ways concur with Hrůša’s tempo choices in this final part of the symphony.

Which leads one to the wholly changed landscape for purchasers of this symphony. For many years choice was as good as non-existent but since the 1990s the heat has been on. In addition to those mentioned above Neumann, Netopil (whom I don’t recommend), Petrenko, Botstein, Ashkenazy and others have appeared, not to omit historical retrievals directed by Ančerl (on SWR) and Waldhans on Orchestral Concert. Amongst all these Hruša’s reading scores highly because of its consistent pacing, its orchestral finesse and excellent recording.

Jonathan Woolf

Previous review: Michael Cookson



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