Magazine article Gramophone

Mendelssohn: Symphonies-No 3, 'Scottish'

Magazine article Gramophone

Mendelssohn: Symphonies-No 3, 'Scottish'

Article excerpt

Mendelssohn Symphonies--No 3, 'Scottish', Op 56; No 4, 'Italian', Op 90 Freiburg Baroque Orchestra / Pablo Heras-Casado Harmonia Mundi [F] HMC90 2228 (68' * DDD)

By chance, while reviewing Pablo Heras-Casado's new Mendelssohn disc, I happened to catch a broadcast of him conducting the San Francisco Symphony in the Scottish Symphony. The interpretation was naturally fairly similar: a straight-down-the-middle approach, not setting out to score points off the music. Nevertheless, the comparison between that and this new disc demonstrated the point of recording these ever-popular works on period instruments, bringing to them a pared-back sound world, with bouncy string basses and gently gurgling woodwinds. The broadcast, with a full-fat band, also seemed (at least on the kitchen radio) more outgoing. There's a sense here, especially in the Scottish, that he's holding back; and yes, come the more contrapuntally involved or more descriptive passages, it's as if he's suddenly let the players off the leash and the whole thing shifts into a higher gear.

Heras-Casado and his musicians spin an atmosphere in the Scottish that would make Walter Scott proud--you could imagine them being the Fort William Baroque Orchestra rather than the Freiburg. …

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