Magazine article Gramophone

Mendelssohn * Schumann: Mendelssohn Symphony No 3

Magazine article Gramophone

Mendelssohn * Schumann: Mendelssohn Symphony No 3

Article excerpt

Mendelssohn * Schumann [G]

Mendelssohn Symphony No 3, 'Scottish', Op 56.

The Hebrides (Fingal's Cave), Op 26

Schumann Piano Concerto, Op 54 (a)

(a) Maria Joao Pires pf London Symphony Orchestra / Sir John Eliot Gardiner

LSO Live [S] (2) ([SACD] + [BR]) LS00765

(79' * DDD/DSD * DTS-HD MA 5.0 & LPCM stereo 24 bit/192kHz)

Recorded live at the Barbican, London, January 21,2014. Video also available to stream (rent for 3.99 [pounds sterling]) or download (buy for 8.99 [pounds sterling] or, in HD, for 10.99 [pounds sterling]) at digitaltheatre.com

Two discs here, the first a Blu-ray with visuals, the second a hybrid SACD. In terms of sound, the balance is realistic on both, with much internal clarity and a battling edge to Mendelssohn's dramatic tutti. Sir John Eliot Gardiner's Hebrides Overture must be one of the most thrilling ever recorded, adding volleys of sea-spray to well-navigated execution, achieving en route some breathtaking pianissimos (ie from around 4'50", and the clarinet at 7'22" just before the coda). Ebb and flow is of the essence in this proto-Wagnerian masterpiece and there's plenty of it here, with vivid accellerandos and a subtle use of vibrato. So nice when scholarship sits comfortably on the sidelines and doesn't compromise the narrative.

The Schumann Concerto with Maria Joao Pires is conceptually similar to the version she made with Claudio Abbado chosen tempi are near identical--except that here orchestral textures are maybe just a little lighter. …

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