Top critical review
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on 2 March 2013
It would be churlish to say that this disc did not have some good qualities but I find it rather disappointing. The playing and sound are just too suave. This these days seems to be the norm with many performances and recordings : there is little feeling of actually being there, little feeling of live music making. Jarvi is too careful. Listen to those usually exciting string trills in Poet and Peasant : they are so tame, and how he labours rests throughout all the overtures. The trombones in the coda to Morning, Noon, and Night in Vienna are too genteel . In contrast, Paul Paray on Mercury is thrilling. The opening of this overture has to be heard to be believed.
Paray wisely adds three good overtures by Auber whilst Jarvi gives us some very ordinary marches. It is a pity that he did not take the opportunity to record some more rare Suppe overtures instead. I am pleased that he has included two overtures that I have not encountered before, The Model and Isabella.
I think that I even prefer my Marco Polo disc of Suppe Overtures Volume 1, even though it is far less refined in every way. Probably the Paray collection is not easy to find, except in Mercury's Living Box set but it is worth trying to seek it out.
( Since I reviewed this disc a little while ago a very good review has appeared in the May 2013 issue of the Gramophone of the Jarvi disc. The reviewer, Andrew Lamb, does not persuade me to change my opinon, but I was glad to read what he had to say about Suppe Overtures.I quote:
''Mere contemplation of a new set of Suppe overtures is enough to set the spirits racing. What other composer created such a body of rousing, exhilarating and immensely tuneful pieces ?''
Recently I borrowed from a friend a disc of Neville Marriner's set of Suppe Overtures ( with the Academy of St Martin's in the Fields ) and these are indeed very good performances.. He includes three of the less well known overtures. Marriner whips up the excitement when needed and is sympathetic with the more gentle passages. I like the way he often brings out hidden brass parts, especially on the trombones.
However, I still prefer the Mercury disc, but Marriner is very good. )