<< -- 2 -- David Thompson Resplendent performance
For the Mendelssohn 'Italian', Stokowski employs a large orchestra,
as the matching 'widescreen' sound clearly emphasises. If you think this
sounds a little old fashioned for the more 'authentic' tastes of today,
then just play the very opening of the work [listen
-- track 1, 0:00-0:55], and your preconceived reservations are likely
to be instantly dispelled, in the sheer joyous energy that is unleashed.
The outer movements positively fizz along with a bouncing rhythmic energy
that is absolutely irresistible. The processional andante con moto
has the perfect blend of gravitas and grace, whilst the minuet, even, as
here, played by large forces, has a classical lightness and poise that reveal
Mendelssohn's symphonic roots in Haydn and Mozart. This is a lovely
performance, that mixes affection with virtuosity and drive. I defy you
not to enjoy it.
Brahms' Second Symphony is also a work bathed in the optimistic
light of summer sunshine, but where Mendelssohn positively races into the
enjoyment of the experience, Brahms, typically, takes his time to savour
it. There are few more magical paragraphs in all music than the opening
of this Symphony, where, out of the rapt expectancy of the first bars, the
sunlight emerges in the upper strings, and then burgeons in all its glory
in the first tutti, as one of Brahms' most captivating and smiling
movements is launched on its way [listen -- track 5,
1:12-2:12]. And Stokowski allows us to savour the experience to the
full. The exposition repeat is observed, which is welcome, since such practice
was the exception, rather than the rule, when this recording was made. Without
it, we are deprived of some important bars of transition, and Brahms'
formal scheme is seriously distorted.
Copyright © 22 May 2002
David Thompson, Eastwood, Essex, UK
& Vision home Recent reviews
Plot in Fiction >>