This is one of my all time favourite pieces! Over the years, I must have heard dozens of records, CD's and radio broadcasts of this much loved work. This one is outstanding.
Tempi are flowing, the Orchestra makes a beautiful sound (without being 'cloying') and, best of all, the recording shows me new things about this piece. The string section is quite small but this gives clarity to the wind. The brass never overplay their contribution to the Storm and the timpani make a nice hard sound.
I've always felt that the Pastoral is the most difficult symphony in a any recorded cycle of the Beethoven Symphonies. It CAN sound trite and superficial or merely portentous. Any performance of this work walks a dangerous tightrope and it's too easy to fall either side. Jarvi and the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie hit the nail on the head each time!
I can only say that I totally agree with the reviewer above. These versions ranks among the finest I've ever heard. Originally I went to my library to check on Haitink's & LSO' new versions of Beethoven's nine symphonies, because of the good reviews they have received here on amazon, and there, by coincidence, I stumbled over Järvi & The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie and what great luck. I can to some extent easily follow the praising reviews of Haitink's versions, but honestly I prefer Järvi a hundred times more than Haintink concerning Beethoven's symphonies.
And why, well first of all with Järvi the music really comes to life and it is performed with such dedication and musicality that it is a sheer joy listening to it - you really get drawn into the music - so to speak. Next; because the orchestra isn't as big as usual, you get far more details, which completely reveals Beethoven's genius - it is almost like hearing them anew - I was really surprised. And dare I say, this is probably the way it was intended to sound - why else would Beethoven take upon him such dedication to write all these details if you can't hear them... so yes, things pops up that you've never noticed before and it is beautiful and it gives so much meaning on the whole. Take the fourth movement "der sturm" for instance - WHAT a precision, what drama - here it all makes sense and melts together beautifully - because this is definitely not detail over musicality - on the contrary! Haitink & LSO is sadly sloppy and kind of routine performance in comparison (in my humble opinion).
The same goes for their version of the 2. Symphony - this is honestly the first time this music dawns on me. The first movement here is realised in such a way that I have never heard it like this - and above all it is just so evidently and naturally performed - I can't wait to hear the rest of these series of Beethoven's symphonies, those are definitely the ones I'll invest in - long live Järvi & The Deutsche Philharmonie!
I purchased this disc after hearing their Beethoven Symphony No. 5 on a Prom broadcast and enjoyed the fresh springy interpretation. As one of my favourites is No. 6, I thought I would try their version. Paavo Jarvi's characteristic fast-paced rhythms were initially somewhat disconcerting- what I had always envisioned as a charming stroll through the countryside becomes a fitness jog and the peasants merrymaking becomes diffident, almost apologetic- but these are minor quibbles of taste. The playing is superb.
The playing is consistently invigorating and the orchestration stands out with startling transparency. However, unlike in some 'authentic-style' performances, these are affectionate and winning interpretations which deserve a place on one's shelves. This Beethoven series has been highly acclaimed and deserves it. My four star rating is intended as a caveat rather than as a criticism.
Paavo Järvi offers a definitive performance of Beethoven's Second Symphony. His rendition of the first movement is colourful and generates enormous tension. Järvi rightly gives us all the sforzandi, both in the introduction and in the main Allegro, and the climaxes in the development (listen to the horn signals at 7'23) and coda are thrilling. The Larghetto then flows at an ideal pace, and brings along warm and wonderfully atmospheric contributions from the winds (for example the second statement of the theme by clarinets, bassoons and horns at bar 9, 0'18"). The Scherzo is energetic, with a nicely sturdy Trio. And the Finale is energetic in the extreme, but it also exhibits extreme care for details as in the perfectly placed trills in the basses from bar 139 onwards. The Coda once again builds up tremendous tension (listen to the climax at 5'99!) before the ultimate release in the final bars. This is simply superb. Unfortunately, Järvi's Pastoral is a rather stiff and chilly affair. To be sure, the playing is hugely accomplished, and there is little or nothing that is palpably `wrong', but what is missing here is a sense of flexibility and freedom: The triplets from the clarinet near the end of the first movement are very strictly in tempo and sound inhibited, and in the Szene am Bach, in the duet between the flute and oboe in the development, the players are given no time to inflect their lines and let the sunshine in. This is a Pastoral for a cloudy day, then. For the real thing, better try Haitink's marvellous LSO recording.