Site review by akiralx March 13, 2007
|Sadly I canít sum up much enthusiasm for this release. The playing is excellent and the recording very present and transparent Ė but it rather highlights the small scale of the performances, particularly the major work.
Fast tempi are fine in the Eroica, as conductors like Scherchen and Bernstein showed in their old recordings, and even more traditional readings from nearer our own time, like the VPO ones from Abbado and Rattle, are as alert rhythmically, but here there is a distinct lack of drama which canít be entirely explained by the small orchestra.
Compare Harnoncourtís acclaimed recording with another chamber orchestra and frankly one is in a different world. Iíve heard quite a few versions of the Second symphony with more sweep and power than this, which canít really be right.
There are some nice woodwind touches in the Funeral March, but all in all this is a pretty pallid interpretation. Comparisons to Vanskaís fine version on BIS are inevitable and entirely to the disadvantage of this release.
The Eighth fares better, but many listeners will find the unremittingly hectic tempi rather wearing, especially with the timpani as closely balanced as here. One misses the charm of the work as shown in, say, Jochumís recently reissued version with the Concertbebouw on Philips. Also Jarviís practice of playing the last three movements virtually attacca is slightly odd.