, September 2012
Poppen leads a very good performance of the “Little Russian” Symphony…the German Radio Philharmonic is a fine ensemble and plays with poise and precision, producing a clear, open texture with prominent winds. The strings seem a bit astringent, at least as recorded here. Winds and brass create a more consistently positive impression. In the “Little Russian,” the opening horn and bassoon solos are eloquently rendered, and the later exposed horn passages are also handled impressively. More eloquent and characterful wind playing can be heard in the second movement. Poppen’s tempos for this work are well chosen…The Scherzo is especially propulsive, and I like the way energy builds toward its peaks.
After a thoroughly creditable interpretation of the “Little Russian,” Poppen delivers an outstanding one of the elusive “Polish” Symphony, a work surprisingly difficult to bring off in performance
Poppen’s fleet, lithe, graceful treatment, on the other hand, is thoroughly persuasive. His tempo choices are unerring, and the transparent texture, prominent winds, and lively, committed, articulate playing of his orchestra are very satisfying. The first movement is urgent and energetic, building convincingly to exciting climaxes. The second-movement waltz has an appealing lilt and flow, while the third is appropriately graceful and elegiac, its lovely middle section eloquently shaped. The Scherzo is satisfyingly light and dance-like, while the finale is propulsive and exuberant, once again building at the end to genuine excitement rather than bombast. In Poppen’s hands, the “Polish” Symphony, often dismissed as Tchaikovsky’s weakest, emerges as a thoroughly convincing work.
The sound of the Oehms release is vivid, natural, clear, and free from harshness…
I recommend this release enthusiastically as a coupling of these two symphonies and as an alternative or supplement to any of the other recommended versions mentioned above. © 2012 Fanfare Read complete review