Notes and Editorial Reviews
The continued popularity of the string quartet version of The Seven Last Words mystifies me. I mean, I understand why string quartets may like it, but that anyone would want to listen to this colorless approximation in preference to Haydn's glorious orchestral original is simply strange. As a result of this curious state of affairs, recordings of the orchestral version are very few and far between, which makes this newcomer most welcome. John Storgards has a clear view of the work: the introduction really sounds like one, aptly taken more swiftly than the ensuing sonatas, and he understands the importance of the fourth, central piece, based on the words "My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?" It's the high point of the work,
and of this performance.
The playing by the Tapiola Sinfonietta, an outstanding ensemble by any standard, is excellent--not just technically, but emotionally. There's real heart to the sound of the strings in the consoling final sonata, and the winds sing out their melodies with feeling. My only quibble, compared to Savall's equally superb performance on period instruments, is that the horns (and in the final earthquake, the trumpets) don't quite bite as they should. On the other hand, many listeners will prefer the warmer sound of modern strings and the immaculate intonation from the winds--and certainly Storgards holds nothing back, not in the earthquake, and not at any point before. The sound is excellent in the sonatas and a touch tubby in the finale--a case where period timpani clearly are preferable. This is an excellent rendition of a work that, while not neglected, deserves to be heard more often in this version.
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
Works on This Recording
Be the first to review this title