Review by: David Hurwitz
Artistic Quality: 7
Sound Quality: 9
Herbert Blomstedt has taken a cue from the period instrument folks in his recent Mozart and Beethoven, and the results here are mixed. The performance of the G Minor Symphony is gorgeous, with swift tempos and very clean articulation that never precludes characterful phrasing. There’s plenty of bite in the quick movements, and a real current of energy that’s powerfully sustained. I do disagree, however, with the generous observance of repeats in the Andante. For me, at twelve minutes (and this at a relatively rapid tempo), it still overshadows the other movements and risks turning dull. That one caveat aside, this really is a terrific interpretation otherwise, magnificently played.
I wish the same were true of the “Jupiter” Symphony. Here we find the same general approach, but for some reason the music lacks grandeur and exactly the rhythmic bite we find so welcome in the companion work. The orchestra sounds small, perhaps because of the still “modern,” cautious treatment of the trumpets and drums, and a finale that curiously refuses to culminate in the blaze of contrapuntal splendor that Mozart clearly intended. The sonics in either case are excellent, and it’s good to see Blomstedt reconsidering music he knows so well at this late stage in his life, but the fact remains that this disc is only half wonderful.
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Recording Details:Reference Recording: Szell (Sony)
- MOZART, WOLFGANG AMADEUS:Symphonies Nos. 40 and 41 "Jupiter"