, October 2011
A Beethovenian treat for Parisian audiences, magnificently played
It seems strange for an English orchestra to be filmed on a visit to France. But how lucky the Parisians were to experience this magnificent concert. It begins with the Coriolan overture, passion offset by delicate, liquid playing from the woodwind. Vladimir Jurowski imbues the Fourth Symphony with the same passion. After the mysterious, tentative whispers of the slow introduction, the first movement bowls along with a muscularity more readily associated with the odd-numbered symphonies; there’s an exhilarating snap to the syncopations. Mystery returns in the hushed playing of the strings and the timpani rolls—in B major, which must have been a shock in 1807—before the crescendo that heralds Jurowski’s mighty recapitulation…the finale follows without a break, the violins skittering along with an impressive precision, matched by Andrew Watts’s bassoon and complemented by Antony Pay’s lyrical clarinet.
The Seventh Symphony is even better. Jurowski keeps an iron grip on the dancing rhythm of the first-movement Vivace, screwing up the tension with the minor- and major-second clashes in the development section. The flowing tune in the Allegretto is lovingly phrased by the violas and cellos, while the fugato for all the strings is a model of clarity; and I loved the way Jurowski holds back briefly—both times—before the maggiore. As in the Fourth, the finale follows the third movement immediately. The horns are doubled: it’s hard to tell with the trumpets, but four players are listed...