Christian Tetzlaff’s effortless virtuosity, purity of intonation, and slight emotional reticence perfectly suits Sibelius, making this the finest available collection of the Finnish composer’s music for violin and orchestra. In the concerto, Tetzlaff’s relative coolness makes the music sound more like Sibelius and less like a violin concerto, which is all to the good. That doesn’t mean he lacks anything in sheer technique: indeed, his first-movement cadenza impresses as one of the most impressively concentrated and musically satisfying on disc. Tetzlaff’s slow movement sings but avoids panting and heaving, while the finale realizes the music’s gentle melancholy as well as its more thrusting elements. He’s nicely accompanied by Thomas Dausgaard, whose gentle support perfectly suits the overall interpretation.
There's a tendency on the part of some performers to play Beethoven's First and Second Piano Concertos as if they were really by Mozart–all elegance, poise, and refinement. Happily, Boris Berezovsky finds the Beethovenian fire burning beneath the Mozartian surface. Right from his vibrant entrance in Concerto No. 1, Berezovsky plays with fierce energy (despite his generally light touch) and a clearly discernible enjoyment. This is matched Thomas Dausgaard's equally electric reading of the orchestral part, which in many ways reminds me of the classic Szell/Fleisher recording. Of course the small-scale sound of the 38-member Swedish Chamber Orchestra cannot possibly equal the full sonority of the Cleveland Orchestra in its heyday, but it's remarkable how Szell's clear textures and crisp articulation match Dausgaard's, who, by the way, is using the new Barenreiter editions. Berezovsky seems to be of like mind with Fleisher, at least terms of his singing tone and mercurial style.
Starting the second half of our great Beethoven series, Boris Berezovsky returns with the Fourth Piano Concerto and Beethoven's own version of the Violin Concerto arranged with the piano as the solo instrument. Boris's earlier contributions to the series have been very well received indeed, and the Russian virtuoso has more up his sleeve. The works on this seventh volume in this series originates from a particularly fruitful time in Beethoven"s career as a composer, around the same time as his fourth and fifth symphony and the Razumovsky quartets. He continues to expand the formal boundaries for the concerto, and the result is of course some of the most fantastic music ever written.
Kullervo represents not only the confident first step in Sibelius's symphonic odyssey, it is also a viscerally exciting experience on its own terms. It is little wonder that the first performance in 1892 was such a triumph for the young composer. This recording from Thomas Dausgaard and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra in an unmissable acquisition for anyone who knows only the numbered symphonies.
Thomas Dausgaard's recordings with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra of three of Franz Schubert's middle symphonies are displays of authentic period practice in state-of-the-art reproduction, and it's a winning combination. The watchword here is clarity, because these symphonies are models of Classical form and precision, with orchestral writing that is utterly transparent and ideally balanced, so the music is only enhanced by the spacious multichannel recording and direct stream digital processing. The Swedish Chamber Orchestra offers pristine string sonorities, and the winds have the distinctive and slightly pungent timbres of the 18th and early 19th century instruments Schubert knew. Dausgaard's interpretations are clearheaded and meticulous, and it's obvious that his musicians respond to his cogent direction with energy and enthusiasm. BIS recorded these performances on different occasions between 2009 and 2011 in the Örebro Concert Hall in Sweden, so in spite of the breaks between sessions, there is consistently superb sound quality, thanks to the first-rate engineering team and the unchanging venue. Highly recommended.
Thomas Dausgaard and the Seattle Symphony bring you electric and superbly played performances of Nielsen’s early symphonies. Dausgaard has championed the music of his countryman throughout his career, and this album features the Danish composer’s ecstatic First Symphony and the strong-willed Second Symphony. The live concert recordings capture the vitality and energy shared by the orchestra and their new Music Director, all in the spectacular acoustics of Benaroya Hall.