Notes and Editorial Reviews
Intensely revealing, exhilarating and refreshing interpretations of two oft-heard masterpieces.
Giuseppe Sinopoli makes an auspicious choice of repertory for this, his first recording with the orchestra of which he is now Principal Conductor... Sinopoli directs readings which in almost every bar call attention to unexpected points. Undoubtedly they will be controversial, both in the interpretative style and often in the very choice of speeds. What for me makes both performances intensely revealing, exhilarating and refreshing is the extraordinary intensity which compels attention from the very first note. Some may find the moulding of the great second subject theme on the cellos in the Unfinished too calculated. I
myself feel that he moulds too much in the very slow account of the third movement of the Italian, but there for me it is an exception to feel resistance. Elsewhere the glow of commitment alongside such playing as this is so intense that I relish to the full the new experience Sinopoli is providing...
Sinopoli's view of the Unfinished, from the menacing pianissimo of the opening motif onwards, makes the point strongly that this is a progress from darkness to light. The tragedy of the B minor first movement could hardly be contrasted more strongly against the ethereal glow of fulfilment in the second. The contrasting moods of the Italian Symphony are sharply etched too. In the first movement Sinopoli but unlike most rivals he sacrifices neither clarity, precision nor detail with delectable pointing in the rapid triplets and with subtle phrasing and shading of dynamic to match even Karajan (DG) at his slower speed. Both the middle two movements find Sinopoli adopting slow speeds and moulded phrasing, with the Pilgrims' March made weighty and melancholy in its beauty, the third movement bringing fairyland horn calls in the Trio. The final Saltarello is bitingly brilliant with Sinopoli at the end emphasizing in a final thrust Mendelssohn's refusal to allow the minor key to resolve into the major, leaving a bitter tang.
-- Edward Greenfield, Gramophone [4/1984]
reviewing the original release of this title, DG 410862
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