U.S. ACCLAIM FOR MARIN ALSOP’S NEW BRAHMS CD
Symphony No. 1; “Academic Festival” Overture;
Marin Alsop, London Philharmonic Orchestra
on SACD and DVD-A
“Brahms that flows and
sings” by Andrew Baer
Los Angeles Times, Sunday, March 6th, 2005
her debut Brahms CD, Marin Alsop offers a sumptuously lyrical
rendition of the composer's First Symphony and two overtures. Principal
conductor of the Bournemouth Symphony, lauded American music proponent
and a famous Leonard Bernstein protégée, Alsop blends Romantic symphonic
convention with the organic phrasing and transitions of a chamber musician.
She summons a bright, singing sound from the London Philharmonic,
and each gesture flows, yoga-like, into the next. Sturdy enough to serve
as a Brahms primer, this rendition of the symphony can feel a little sensitive
in slow spots for fans of Golden Age maestros. Relief exists in imposing
accounts of the "Academic Festival" and "Tragic" overtures.
Review by Bernard Holland
The New York Times, Sunday, March
on a grand scale in the United States, American conductors often need
to pave their way in Europe. Marin Alsop is among the latest to find a
good job abroad. Her career in America has been honorable, steady and
various: anchored by a long tenure at the Colorado Symphony (not the most
stable institution in recent years) and by visits to places like the Opera
Theater of St. Louis, where she conducted John Adams's "Nixon in
China" with great success last year.
it has been in Britain, during the last few years, that Ms. Alsop has
attracted attention. The Bournemouth Symphony took her on as principal
conductor in 2002, and British audiences and critics have taken notice
ever since. Here she records the Brahms First Symphony with the London
Philharmonic for Naxos.
is the piece that one more recording of it cannot really expect to say
anything startling about Brahms that hundreds of others have not already
said. So this is a recording, regardless of its original ambitions, that
announces an emerging conductor's credentials in the standard German repertory.
famous dirgelike opening, Ms. Alsop wants our ears to put Brahms's pounding
drums front and center. Elsewhere, she is not afraid of slow tempos at
the composer's more brooding moments, and even at his most songful ones.
Otherwise, we hear the Brahms symphony we know and love treated with
respect, an appropriate sense of drama and at times even a little impetuosity.
here are the "Tragic Overture" and the "Academic Festival
Overture." Both are well played by these excellent, hard-working
musicians. With so many music-director jobs changing hands at American
orchestras these days, Ms. Alsop will probably look westward out of the
corner of her eye while enjoying her European success.
Review by Andrew Druckenbrod
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Friday, March 11th, 2005
want another crack at listening to or deciphering the subtext of Brahms'
Symphony No. 1 after the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra's performance under
Charles Dutoit last weekend (see my review, www.post-gazette.com/pg/05066/467392.stm),
here's a worthy new addition.
Marin Alsop and the London Phil offer a fresh, rounded and energetic reading
of this monumental work.
The opening introduction sounds the equivalent of looking into a cloudy
crystal ball -- unclear yet definitely foreboding -- but Alsop marvelously
caresses the second theme. In fact, the entire reading harbors less of
an edge than we often hear, but is no less weighty. That's because the
substance the architect Brahms' comes from, managing the tempos and the
structural hypermeter of the piece, which Alsop does exceptionally, especially
in the drawing out of the horn melody of the fourth movement and in the
subtle acceleration of the end of its main theme.
disc also contains impressive interpretations of Brahms' "Tragic"
and "Academic" overtures.
Review by Melinda Bargreen
The Seattle Times, Thursday, March
fans will already have marked their calendars for the April 21-23 arrival
of the gifted Truls Mørk in Benaroya Hall.
there is another reason to cheer. Conductor Marin Alsop, a woman who is
making her mark in increasingly high places, will be there to lead the
cellist and the Seattle Symphony in performances of Dvorak and Tchaikovsky.
disc for the Naxos label, where she has been much featured, Alsop leads
the excellent London Philharmonic Orchestra in a disc of Brahms: the magisterial
Symphony No. 1, plus the "Tragic" Overture and the "Academic
Festival" Overture. These are deft, spirited performances that
bring out the grandeur of the music but also its complexities and inner