Many of the 19th century's composers who were known for their larger-scale, symphonic works also turned to the smaller, more intimate climate afforded by works for string orchestra. Among the most commonly performed are those of Tchaikovsky, Elgar, and Dvorák, but Grieg, Sibelius, and Janácek almost made valuable contributions to the literature. This Auris Subtilis album, celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Dresden Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra, features the latter three composers' works along with the well-known Dvorák Serenade. For flawlessness of technical execution and perfection of ensemble cohesiveness, the orchestra can hardly be improved upon. From the rustic setting of Grieg's "Holberg" Suite to the rhythmically vivacious Suite of the young Janácek, the orchestra plays with amazingly accurate intonation and absolute precision in matching articulation, phrasing, and dynamics. The interpretations are driven and exciting in fast movements and tenderly sentimental in the slow movements. One important aspect of this album, however, is quite lacking: sound quality. Whether it is the natural sound of the orchestra, the sound equipment used in the recording, or some combination of the two, the outcome is the same. Auris' sound is extremely digital to the point where the orchestra sounds synthetic. There's little to no depth or contour to the sound, no spaciousness, and no warmth. It's regrettable that a chamber orchestra with so many other magnificent qualities should fall short in such an avoidable way.
Review by Mike D. Brownell
|Aus Holbergs Zeit - Suite im alten Stil für Streicher, Op. 40|
|Serenade für Streichorchester, Op. 22|
|Suite für Streichorchester|