Notes and Editorial Reviews
The long-awaited completion of Abbado's cycle lives up to the excellence of the first instalment with crisp, vibrant playing from the Berlin Philharmonic and friends
Not so long ago recordings of Hindemith's Kammermusiken were few and far between; now there are at least five available versions of each concerto (eight of Nos 2 and 4), while the present issue completes the fourth integral survey. As with RCA and Teldec, EMI omit - wrongly in my view - the Kleine Kammermusik for wind quintet that partnered No 1 in 1922, though as it has no fewer than nine versions in the catalogue, this is perhaps of less concern than it was once.
As with the first volume (12/96), Abbado's approach differs to that of Chailly
or Stenz. Abbado places less emphasis on the music's (for the mid-1920s) radical aspects much as the composer might have done after 1945. There is an impressive solidity to the Berliners' playing, but they can be light and flexible as occasion demands, for instance in No 3, the Cello Concerto. Georg Faust here is scarcely less persuasive than Harrell (Decca) or Stirling (RCA), and preferable to Bylsma (Teldec) and Geringas. Lars Vogt is a revelation in No 2 (Piano Concerto), shading the decision over both Brautigam (Decca) and Wiget (RCA), and streets ahead of van Blerk on Teldec. Wolfram Christ (violist in No 5 on the first volume) is excellent, not discomfited by the competition; nor is organist Wayne Marshall, though I would have preferred a smaller-sounding organ. Haselbock is still my preferred choice for No 7.
EMI's sound is splendid, bright and crystal clear. Both this and the Gramophone Award- winning Decca sets are excellent, but if pressed I would now plump for Abbado's as market leader.'
Guy Rickards, Gramophone, 5/2000
Works on This Recording
Featured Sound Samples
Kammermusik no 2: IV. Finale
Kammermusik no 3: IV. Mäßig bewegte Halbe. Munter aber immer gemächlich
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