Magazine article Gramophone

Mendelssohn * Widmann: Mendelssohn Symphonies-No 1

Magazine article Gramophone

Mendelssohn * Widmann: Mendelssohn Symphonies-No 1

Article excerpt

Mendelssohn * Widmann

Mendelssohn Symphonies--No 1, Op 11; No 4, 'Italian'. Op 90 Widmann Ad absurdum (a) (a) Sergei Nakariakov tpt Irish Chamber Orchestra / Jorg Widmann Orfeo (F) C914 161A (72' * DDD)

The teenage Mendelssohn laid down a gauntlet with his First Symphony (a decade earlier, Schubert had done the same with the Fourth): to seize the urgency of C minor without indulging Romantic anachronism or succumbing to the bluster of a precocious answer to Beethoven's Fifth. Jorg Widmann meets the challenge with vigour and in some style. The overture-like gestures of the outer movements are swifter and more agile than his full-symphonic competitors, and the Irish Chamber Orchestra are more sweetly blended than the period-style Netherlands Symphony Orchestra. Having begun with a mellifluous pair of clarinets, the Andante moves on with a tension and seriousness of purpose that eludes recent and more placid recordings.

With a composer's instinct for the telling idea, Widmann uncovers some magic in Mendelssohn's transition back from hymn-like Trio to off-beat Minuet. …

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