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A treasury of Tennstedt,
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This review is from: Klaus Tennstedt: The Great EMI Recordings (Audio CD)
Ralph Moore has written so much that there is very little to add, although I do not agree with everything he has said. It is fascinating to hear the "Tennstedt sound", which might almost be called the Mahler sound, brought to other great composers. His ability to make every voice in the orchestra clearly audible without any one of them dominating, is for me his sonic trademark.
The pick of the bunch is Mahler 1 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, so much more involving than his rather under-stated performance with the LPO; this also has the best recording quality. The two Bruckner symphonies come next, especially the Eighth, in which he brings out a lyricism and humanity which not all conductors find. The Brahms German Requiem is compelling despite very slow tempi in the first and last movements. The baritone Jorma Hynninen is very good, however Jessye Norman, a singer whom I admire, is not at her best here.
The Beethoven Third, Sixth and Eighth are first-class even if they do not erase memories of Klemperer in the Eroica and Boehm in the Pastoral. In fact there is very little that is not recommendable; I have to say I was not impressed by the "New World", which seems to lack its Czech quality, but maybe that is just me.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 5 Apr 2012 01:45:20 BDT
Gps Rogers says:
The Dvorak 9th is terrible. I couldn't work out why until I realised that low notes are, due to physics, lower in volume and Tennstedt has not compensated for this. I found the musical pulse was horribly distorted by the effect of this strange phenomenom.
In reply to an earlier post on 5 Apr 2012 08:54:43 BDT
Ralph Moore says:
Strange, then, that several previous reviewers here (including me!) and elsewhere, go out of their way to single out that New World as excellent. De gustibus etc., as ever.
In reply to an earlier post on 24 Apr 2012 19:03:29 BDT
Last edited by the author on 24 Apr 2012 19:42:34 BDT
Gps Rogers says:
Mr Moore, I am outgunned by your vastly superior knowledge and am interested to see in some other posts your acceptance of other peoples tastes so long as they precede your own.
Posted on 27 Feb 2013 23:24:48 GMT
I agree with you, MV, about the enthusiasm expressed for the "New World" by other reviewers here and at USA Amazon, an enthusiasm that seems out of proportion to its (genuine) merits. It is quite a fine performance, but as you rightly say, Czechness is not one of its hallmarks. In this quality alone it doesn't compare with the recorded performances by Talich and Harnoncourt (who, like me, has a Bohemian grandmother!), both of whom also hear and communicate far more of the complexity of this by no means optimistic or celebratory work than any other conductors in my experience. Nor in overall impact do I rate Tennstedt's recording nearly as highly as the two by Colin Davis (I am particularly fond of the LSO release, which is a bit less driven than the famous Concertgebouw recording and has an even profounder Largo), the hugely underappreciated one by Bruno Walter (with some of the finest first-chair woodwind playing ever heard on disc), and an amazing seventy-year-old recording by Leopold Stokowski, with the All-American Youth Orchestra, where it is almost literally true to say that no two bars in a row are conducted at the same tempo.
I might also mention an unusually lovely recording made by Kurt Masur with the NYP, neither a conductor nor an orchestra from whom or which one expects work of the highest calibre. I almost forgot to add Kubelik's recording with the Berlin; it is immeasurably more interesting than his vaunted yet near-prentice work with the Chicago, which Mercury Living Presence voluptuaries routinely treat as a sacred relic.
All in all, I am glad to have this recording, but when I compare Tennstedt's work in this symphony with what he gets out of the first movement of the Schumann 4th, I instantly know why the latter draws me ineluctably back and the former simply passes the time in a pleasing way.
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