Magazine article Gramophone

Giuseppe Sinopoli

Magazine article Gramophone

Giuseppe Sinopoli

Article excerpt

Giuseppe Sinopoli 'Edition Staatskapelle Dresden, Vol 35' Liszt Orpheus, S98 Schumann Symphony No 4, Op 120 Sinopoli Pour un livre a Venise--Hommage a Costanzo Porta. Lou Salome Symphonic Fragment (a). Tombeau d'Armor III (b) R Strauss Ein Heldenleben Wagner Rienzi Overture Weber Oberon--Overture Staatskapelle Dresden / Giuseppe Sinopoli, (b) Sylvain Cambreling, (a) Peter Ruzicka Profil (F) (2) PH07053 042' * DDD) Recorded live 1993-2004

Until a heart attack felled him in 2001, Giuseppe Sinopoli had been a loving and assiduous curator of the 'Dresden sound'. Instantly recognisable from the horn solos of the Oberon Overture, as softly piercing as dawn light, or the trumpet-call to launch Rienzi, the Staatskapelle is the hero of the set, not excluding the glinting, Bergian textures of the conductor's own music.

Sinopoli's parallel study of archaeology could transfer itself too readily to the podium. London audiences in the 1980s puzzled over Philharmonia Orchestra concerts more like luxuriously published excavation reports, with every layer of detail scrupulously tagged and annotated. At any rate that was my experience, on the single occasion I saw him live, in Mahler's Eighth Symphony, and one borne out by many of his DG recordings. It was clear to see and hear how he was probing for a deeper meaning but what he found beneath the always beautifully turned surface was less obvious. Perhaps, like Busoni, he expected his listeners to do their own work and meet him halfway.

Compared to their studio-made counterparts, the well-chosen Romantic classics are very much live performances: more charged with tension and adrenalin in Weber, Liszt and Schumann, more emphatic in Strauss. Challenges of orchestral balance are less obviously investigated and eccentrically solved by the radio microphones than by DG's engineers. The playing is always assured while occasionally lacking the last degree of polish at moments of high stress and transition--and arguably all the better for it. …

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