CLASSICAL

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music -

CHARLES Mack­er­ras’s new Beethoven sym­phony cy­cle was recorded live at the 2006 Ed­in­burgh Fes­ti­val. Like Zin­man ( Arte Nova), Mack­er­ras’s Beethoven is brisk, in­vig­o­rat­ing, translu­cent and light on its feet. Where the lat­ter wins out over Zin­man’s slightly driven approach is with his more sub­tle in­flec­tions of phras­ing and dy­nam­ics. The Scot­tish Cham­ber Orches­tra re­sponds with el­e­gant, en­er­getic play­ing. Their lithe, grace­ful ac­counts of the more clas­si­cally pro­por­tioned sym­phonies ( No 1, 2, 4 and 8) ra­di­ate joy, while the third ( Eroica ) and fifth are suit­ably weighty and heroic. Thanks to the per­form­ers’ rhyth­mic verve, the sev­enth lives up to Wag­ner’s de­scrip­tion of it as the apoth­e­o­sis of the dance. The Pas­toral , by con­trast, of­fers a win­ning com­bi­na­tion of lyri­cism and earth­i­ness. The Phil­har­mo­nia Orches­tra re­place the SCO in the Choral sym­phony. Al­though they don’t al­ways match the stylish Scots, it is still a fine per­for­mance. In a crowded mar­ket­place this Mack­er­ras set eas­ily ranks along­side Zin­man, Harnon­court, Kara­jan ( the 1961- 62 DG cy­cle) and Gar­diner. Beethoven: The Sym­phonies Charles Mack­er­ras Hype­r­ion/ Se­lect

Murray Black

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