Beethoven 1 & 5 – Paavo Järvi

0 of 5 stars

Symphony No.1 in C, Op.21
Symphony No.5 in C minor, Op.67

The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen
Paavo Järvi

Recorded 27 August to 1 September 2006 in Funkhaus Köpenick, Berlin

Reviewed by: Colin Anderson

Reviewed: October 2008
CD No: RCA RED SEAL 88697 33835 2 [CD/SACD]
Duration: 55 minutes

The third volume of Paavo Järvi’s Beethoven symphony cycle from Bremen builds favourably on the first one, which coupled the ‘Eroica’ and No.8. (The second pairs numbers 4 and 7.) If the sound from the modern-instrument but historically-informed Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen seems at first overly lean it is also vivid and bracing.

That’s also how Paavo Järvi sees Beethoven’s Fifth (placed first on the disc) – pushing forward, clipped, but not anti-expressive, as the time-taken oboe soliloquy in the first movement makes clear. The second movement is a decided quick march – but not rushed, there is time for expression. The scherzo keeps up the momentum (terrific horns). If one now begins to feel that relentlessness is setting in (maybe just as well that Järvi doesn’t observe the dubious repeat), then the finale (with repeat) is magnificent in its breadth of tempo and shining detail, not least from the then newly introduced piccolo, trombones and contrabassoon, to complete a gutsy, unvarnished, often-unstoppable but not brazen account of Beethoven 5 that in its freshness could well prove a fine antidote to the jaded palate.

Coupled to an ultimately exhilarating Fifth, the ‘kick’ to its closing bars supremely well-timed that would no doubt cue a concerted cheer from an audience, is a First Symphony that has an easeful flow for the Introduction (not really ‘slow’ anymore) and the (expected) upbeat sense of tempo (rather too much in the second movement, ‘con moto’ with a vengeance!). But there’s no doubting the zest and deftness of the playing, trumpets and drums to the fore and with woodwinds chattering merrily. The scherzo is incisively accented, and the finale, after the momentous summoning chord, scampers eagerly along.

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