NDR Radiophonie / Andrew Manze, cond.
PENTATONE SACD 5186614 TT: 74:12
BUY NOW FROM Presto Music
Schubert - The Symphonies
Swedish Chamber Orchestra / Thomas Dausgaard, cond.
BIS SACD 2514 (4 disks) TT: 4 hours 59:40
BUY NOW FROM ArkivMusic
Brahms: Symphonies Nos 1–4, Tragic Overture, Double Concerto & Serenade No. 2
Gordon Nikolitch, violin. Tim Hugh, celli. London Symphony Orchestra / Bernard Haitink, cond.
LSO LIVE SACD LSO 0570 (4 disks) TT: 59:29 / 74:47 / 69:06 / 41:20
BUY NOW FROM Presto Music
For most of his career British conductor Andrew Manze (b. 1965) specialized in early music and was music director of the English Consort. In 2014 he became music director of the NDR Radio Orchestra. He also is a violinist and has made many recordings as soloist on that instrument. For Pentatone he has already recorded with the NDR Orchestra all of the Mendelssohn symphonies, and now has started a Beethoven symphony cycle. This first disk offers Symphonies 5 and 7; recordings made January 2019 (Symphony No. 5) and March 2019 in NDR studios in Hanover.
Both symphonies have been recorded countless times by just about every conductor you can think of and there are some truly exciting performances available. Unfortunately Manze's new interpretations are not among them. These are rather relaxed, routine performances. Engineers have provided a pleasant, somewhat distant, stereo with ambient sound from the rear speakers. For the audio-minded, surely the SACD versions of Beethoven symphonies to acquire are the Tacet issues with Wojciech Rajski and the Polish Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra, recorded in imaginative true multi-channel audio. And don't overlook the magnificent Leopold Stokowski London Symphony1974 version of the Eroica now issued in the original quadraphonic sound on Dutton/Epoch(REVIEW).
The music world was saddened last year by the death of Dutch conductor Bernard Haitink (b. 1929). He was music director of of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the London Philharmonic, Staatskapelle Dresden, and the Chicago Symphony. He also was music director of the Glyndebourne Opera and the Royal Opera House, and often appeared as a guest conductor with other leading orchestras. He made countless recordings of standard repertory including the complete symphonies of Beethoven, Brahms, Schumann, Bruckner and Mahler, sometimes in multiple versions. His Brahms recordings with the London Symphony were made May 2003 (Tragic Overture, Double Concerto, Symphonies Nos. 1 and Serenade No. 2), and June 2004 (Symphonies Nos. 2 and 4), all in the Barbican Hall in London. They were issued on the LSO label some years ago, and have been discontinued. Now these fine performances are available again in this boxed set, at a a budget price. A welcome return to the catalog indeed!
R.E.B. (September 2022)