Concerto in A minor for violin, cello and orchestra, Op.102
Symphony No.2 in D, Op.73
Gordan Nikolitch (violin) & Tim Hugh (cello)
London Symphony Orchestra
Recorded 17-18 May 2003 at the Barbican Hall, London
CD No: LSO LIVE LSO0043 Duration: 75 minutes Reviewed: January 2004
LSO Live Haitink Brahms 2
Reviewed by Colin Anderson
The first LSO Live release of 2004, the LSOs centenary year. If not ground-breaking in terms of repertoire, or in developing Bernard Haitinks discography (this issue begins his third recorded Brahms symphony cycle), its a fine achievement, excellently recorded (albeit with a little reverberation added, it seems) and presents an equable balance between the two soloists and orchestra in the concerto. Both LSO principals are splendid in this striding, sometimes visceral account, which also unashamedly retreats to some glorious moments of sweet beauty. Theres a real sense of teamwork here, very appropriate to a work born out of reconciliation
Haitinks view of Brahmss nominally pastoral symphony is a familiar one. As in Amsterdam, but not in Boston, he omits the exposition repeat, and conducts through the first movement with an indivisibility, and an expressional breadth, that leaves one in no doubt as to Brahmss symphonic mastery. Its not a tight performance though; rather, its one that eschews diversionary tactics, breathes naturally and places faith in the score, which is revealed through sympathetic orchestral playing and lucid, long-viewed conducting, which all seems perfectly reasonable!
No applause greets either performance, as is LSO Lives policy, which seems both understandable, especially as two concerts have been utilised (maybe a patch or two, also), and also a little contrary.
Nevertheless, this is a distinguished release, the Double Concerto alone worth the CDs modest price.