Giuseppe Sinopoli projects Liszt's "Mephistopheles" with such unrelenting urgency that he could as well be fighting the devil in person. True, the recorded balance keeps the strings fairly close at hand (the actual sound image is not dissimilar to EMI's on their Masur/Leipzig Liszt series), but the playing itself has real drive and panache, frequently throwing caution to the winds in pursuit of maximum spontaneity (as regards tempo, Sinopoli beats Bernstein to the finishing post by no less than ten minutes). I am convinced that this is absolutely the right way to approach Liszt's orchestral music, although sticklers for executive precision will no doubt quibble over the odd patch of scrappy ensemble. Not that Sinopoli isRead more inattentive to the subtler aspects of Liszt's greatest orchestral work: 1457" into Faust's own portrait, he effects superb control at the soulful passage where the opening theme (played on lower strings) is merged with the second subject (on woodwinds). Both here and throughout the following two or three minutes (which witness a huge, Rheingold-style climax and a return to Faust's urgent striving) he keeps the argument moving. Gretchen is both responsive and transparent, especially at 854" where cellos and violins call to each other above a fluid woodwind accompaniment. The symphony's brief choral finale, where "woman's eternal soul leads us on high" and Vinson Cole is in good voice, finds Sinopoli favouring Wagnerian drama rather than pre-Mahlerian expansiveness. The chorus are excellent, the sound forward, forceful and prone to highlight whoever plays loudest (in that respect, it is very much a live production).
Vinson Cole (Tenor)
Dresden State Opera Chorus
Period: Romantic Written: 1854-1857; Weimar, Germany Date of Recording: 04/1995