Notes and Editorial Reviews
Symphonies: Nos. 1;
Alexander Rudin, cond; Musica Viva CO
FUGA LIBERA FUG564 (66:20) Live: Moscow
This very attractive live recording of Beethoven symphonies is performed by a group variously named Musica Viva, Musica Viva
Orchestra Moscow, and the Moscow State Academy Chamber Orchestra; the last is apparently an honorific, an indication of the status accorded this very accomplished group of young musicians under the direction (since 1988) of cellist Alexander Rudin.
The performance of the First Symphony doesn’t quite give the impression of the “shock of the new” that one feels with Paavo Järvi and his Bremen band on RCA, but that’s not necessarily a criticism. This performance is similar to, and comparable with, that of Harnoncourt and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe (Teldec/Warner): well-judged tempos, authoritative conducting, and sharply etched playing. The only minor blemish is the cut in the Scherzo after the Trio, a not uncommon practice.
The “Pastoral” is taken at a uniformly brisk clip until the last movement, but the tempos don’t compromise the integrity of the orchestral execution. Rubato in small, carefully managed bits helps to ease the pace in the first movement, and there is an almost beatific calm to the stroll by the brook. The dance in the third movement is very fast indeed, but the musicians play with a tremendous sense of
; the storm that follows is furious and brief. Rudin relaxes the momentum of the previous two movements in a respectful finale wherein the sense of thanksgiving is both heartfelt and celebratory.
The sound is little short of spectacular. Closely focused and yet spacious, full-bodied and detailed, it surpasses the Teldec production and is the equal of many two-channel SACD productions (including Järvi’s). The disc is packaged with a lavish catalog of available CDs, but no program booklet; the Fuga Libera Web site pictures only the CD and its contents. See musicaviva.ru for information about the artists.
For those seeking fresh-sounding, vital performances of these two particular works, I can’t recommend this CD too highly. Seek it out.
FANFARE: Christopher Abbot
Works on This Recording
Symphony no 1 in C major, Op. 21 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Written: 1800; Vienna, Austria
Date of Recording: 04/15/2008
Venue: Live State House Of Broadcasting And Sound Re
Length: 25 Minutes 5 Secs.
Symphony no 6 in F major, Op. 68 "Pastoral" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Date of Recording: 11/14/2007
Venue: Live Moscow's Conservatory Great Concert Hall
Length: 39 Minutes 59 Secs.
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