BBC Music Magazine

Currentzis takes us to Seventh heaven

Julian Haylock delights in the conductor’s dynamic new Beethoven recording



Symphony No. 7 in A major Musicaeter­na/teodor Currentzis Sony Classical 1943974377­2 39:07 mins The Seventh, more than any other of Beethoven’s symphonies, has suffered in the past from generic interpreta­tive tendency. The music’s profoundly rhythmic impetus and moto perpetuo inclinatio­ns appear to have created a centralise­d vision geared primarily towards Wagner’s ‘apotheosis of the dance’.

One of the main problems, by no means confined to performanc­es on modern instrument­s, is that the internal detail of Beethoven’s exuberantl­y inventive orchestrat­ion, especially in moments of buoyant exhilarati­on, tends to become clouded, most notably in the massed strings. This is where Teodor Currentzis really comes into his own, revealing a panoply of ear-tweaking figuration­s and colouratio­ns. This is especially crucial in the finale, whose manic repetition­s can easily become monochroma­tically grinding and frenetic rather than subtly nuanced. At a moderate tempo, Currentzis presents a radical viewpoint, which is more ramped-up Haydn than Tchaikovsk­y in embryo.

Throughout, rather than adopting a headlong interpreta­tive profile, Currentzis inflects Beethoven’s indelible invention with an at times startling range of articulati­on that bristles with spontaneou­s relish. Rather than cossetting us in a warm bath of reassuring musical semantics, Currentzis offers up a bracing, tingling cold shower. Most crucially, by rejoicing freely in the music’s expressive profiling – the second movement Allegretto is revelatory in its multifacet­ed soundscapi­ng and enhanced dynamic flexibilit­y – the Symphony’s generic imaging appears to dissolve in front of our ears, to reveal pristine musical surfaces.


His articulati­on bristles with spontaneou­s relish

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 ??  ?? Built for Beethoven: Teodor Currentzis has come into his own
Built for Beethoven: Teodor Currentzis has come into his own
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