Classical Music Home

Welcome to Naxos Records

Keyword Search
 Classical Music Home > Naxos Album Reviews

Album Reviews

See latest reviews of other albums...

Barry Forshaw
Classical CD Choice, March 2015

[This] disc includes two neglected masterworks: the First Symphony, filled with youthful energy, and the poetic and lyric Symphonie concertante for Cello and Orchestra. The soloist is the award-winning cellist Truls Mørk. A bracing conclusion to a splendid cycle. © 2015 Classical CD Choice, November 2013

ENESCU, G.: Symphony No. 2 / Chamber Symphony in E Major, Op. 33 (Lintu) ODE1196-2
ENESCU, G.: Symphony No. 3 / Concert Overture on popular Romanian themes (Tampere Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra, Lintu) ODE1197-2

None of the works here, the Chamber Symphony, Second or Third Symphony or Ouverture de Concert sur des Thèmes dans le Caractère Populaire Roumain, is heard often in concert halls or on recordings. But all should be…The Tampere Philharmonic plays Enescu’s music sensitively and with considerable involvement under Hannu Lintu…Enescu’s handling of the orchestra is entirely different, however, and the Third Symphony provides color, solemnity and grand scale throughout. The Second Symphony is also highly impressive…it is thematically interesting and formally very well crafted. Here Enescu shows great ability in handling sparser instrumentation and a more-streamlined approach to symphonic form… © 2013 Read complete review

Ronald E. Grames
Fanfare, January 2013

This is amazingly proficient music…the structure and development are masterful, the melodies attractive and varied.

The Chamber Symphony was written nearly forty years…later. Exuberance has given way to austerity, and extravagance to economy of means. It is by no means a less attractive or complex work, and it has an irresistible nostalgic charm in the right hands. In its organic development, and the brilliance of the flow of ideas, one can hear the distillation of the younger composer’s energy and virtuosity.

The Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra…is a fine ensemble with agile strings, strong woodwinds, and brass that is technically impressive…Finnish conductor Hannu Lintu leads them in performances notable for structural elucidation…

This new recording is recommended primarily for the quality of execution, though lucidity and precision are not its only virtues…Ondine’s promise of a new cycle of these brilliant symphonies is in itself gratifying. © 2013 Fanfare Read complete review

Barry Brenesal
Fanfare, November 2012

…Hannu Lintu and the Tampere Philharmonic offering the best performances of Enescu’s Second Symphony and Chamber Symphony No. 2 I have ever heard over the years. © 2012 Fanfare Read complete review

Barry Brenesal
Fanfare, November 2012

…this is the best version of both pieces that I’ve yet to hear. Hannu Lintu finds dynamics, points of accent, and a natural flow to the Chamber Symphony’s phrasing that breathe life into its stark lines. Yet the momentum never lags, and there’s a crispness to the Tampere musicians’ playing that prevents the work piece from sagging.

Lintu can’t do anything about the sharp drop in energy that comes between thematic statements in the Second Symphony, or the way the material often seems to move counter-intuitively to the composer’s own lyrical gift. But he does keep the textures clear, and the Tampere strings are a thing of great beauty. He also phrases and paces persuasively…this recording has good sound…

…fans of Enescu will surely want to add this to their collections. © 2012 Fanfare Read complete review

Roger Hecht
American Record Guide, November 2012

Lintu’s reading is very slow, but tension, intensity, and drama never lapse. I (Vivace ma non Troppo) begins with the sweeping energy of Strauss’s Ein Heldenleben. Lintu’s reading is serious, dramatic, and more Straussian than the other performances I know, constraining exuberance and romanticism in favor of toughness, power, and muscle. Textures are built from the bottom up, and the slow tempos reveal complexity, detail, and occasional portamento.

…a very compelling issue. © 2012 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Guy Rickards
Gramophone, October 2012

The Second Symphony (1912) is lush and Straussian, its increasingly opulent scoring placing it firmly in the pre-Great War period. Its three substantial movements form a beautifully coherent design…

The Tampere players seem to relish repertoire that sounds both familiar and unfamiliar. Hannu Lintu directs sympathetic performances…Ondine’s excellent sound is the finest that either work has received…This one’s recommended. © 2012 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

David Hurwitz, August 2012

Here’s an important, adventurous release. Lasting nearly an hour, it’s enormously complex and horrendously difficult to play. The idiom, ostensibly, is Richard Strauss on steroids. Enescu’s scoring is relentlessly opulent, but what makes the piece so difficult on first hearing is a combination of contrapuntal busyness and the composer’s desire to keep all aspects of the music—rhythm, tonality, timbre, dynamics—in an almost constant state of flux.

This doesn’t mean that the work isn’t worth hearing. Quite the contrary. It is music for the true connoisseur, and while it has been recorded a few times previously, you’d be hard pressed to find a better performance than this one. Hannu Lintu and the Tampere Philharmonic cope with the music’s challenges confidently. Most importantly, they play the music with remarkable clarity while keeping it up to tempo. The abundance of incident never sounds merely fussy, and the main melodic thread never vanishes amidst the thickets of notes.

…this isn’t music for casual listening, but it certainly belongs on the shelf of every serious collector. © 2012 Read complete review

Naxos Records, a member of the Naxos Music Group