Proving it doesn't take a chamber-sized orchestra to achieve extreme textural clarity, Osmo Vänskä and the Minnesota Orchestra have in this 2007 BIS recording once again created model contemporary instrument performances of Beethoven's symphonies. In this coupling of the First and Sixth, Vänskä and his forces use Jonathan del Mar's Neue Urtext Edition for Bärenreiter, a decision that alters hundreds of details of articulation and phrasing. But more significant is the strength, agility, and lucidity Vänskä and the Minnesotans bring to the table. The First is graceful and airy, though with plenty of power, while the Sixth, despite the work's larger dimensions and heavier textures, remains clear and direct. As interpreters, Vänskä and the Minnesotans likewise tend toward the light side. While this may send some older listeners back to their bigger and brawnier Walter and Klemperer recordings, younger listeners may prove more accepting of a leaner and harder but less superhuman Beethoven. BIS' super audio sound is deep and detailed, with a wonderful feeling of air around the instruments.
AllMusic Review by James Leonard
|Symphony No. 1 in C major, Op. 21|
|Symphony No. 6 in F major ("Pastoral"), Op. 68|