Magazine article Gramophone

Brahms

Magazine article Gramophone

Brahms

Article excerpt

Brahms

Serenades--No 1, Op 11; No 2, Op 16

Gavle Symphony Orchestra / Jaime Martin

Ondine (F) ODE1291-2 (73' * DDD)

First impressions are wholly positive. Without sounding uncultivated, the Gavle Symphony Orchestra catch nicely the outdoorsy good humour of the D major First Serenade's opening melody, shared to an earthier degree by the second theme of the Scherzo, as if it belonged to Nielsen or Stenhammar. I like the Gavle strings' trenchant leap into the development section, and they maintain a fine control of those oscillating figures that in serene altitude are now more associated with Bruckner, and in the bass, Dvofak. Only when turning to the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and Claudio Abbado in that Scherzo do other aspects of the music shyly emerge: hesitant, interior qualities, a burr to the violas' phrases which question and counter the silvery legato of the violins and flutes.

Jaime Martin is not seeking (or at least does not find) hidden depths in the Adagio, which flows in unaffected fashion at a tempo that makes better sense of the double-dotted lilt to the accompaniment than the thickly insistent tread of Abbado's first recording with the Berlin Philharmonic. The Stockholm Philharmonic and Andrew Davis show that the movement can work its magic at an even swifter tempo if the playing is truly quiet and tender.

Ondine's recording, made in the orchestra's own distinctive, flat-domed hall, allows plenty of air around music whose horn-led ebullience is rarely stilled for long. …

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