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Online review of Nagano's B6 CD

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  • Craig Schweickert
    Christophe Huss, former editor in chief of /RĂ©pertoire/ magazine and current music critic for /Le Devoir/, has posted a review of Kent Nagano s latest
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 3, 2005
      Christophe Huss, former editor in chief of Répertoire magazine and current music critic for Le Devoir, has posted a review of Kent Nagano's latest recording on the ClassicsTodayFrance website. I bring it to the group's attention mainly because it's the first review of the disc I've seen. The original review is linked to below; I've also appended a quick-and-dirty translation for those who don't speak French.

      More on Nagano's B9 in Montreal when work permits. It's been interesting to read others' comments on the concert.


      Symphony No. 6
      Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin
      Kent Nagano
      Harmonia Mundi  HMC 90 1901(CD)

      Recommended recordings: Wand (DVD TDK); Barenboim (DG deleted)

      Rating: 10/10 (interpretation), 10/10 (engineering)

      Kent Nagano has already hit hard in Bruckner with a reference recording of the first version of Symphony No. 3. In the Sixth, he strikes me as doing even better by adding shimmers, breakpoints, a life to the orchestral fabric and optimal phrasing — all pragmatically realized through carefully metered transitions.

      The first thing that strikes you when listening to this outstanding disc is the phenomenal work that the American conductor has accomplished in Berlin. In this instance, the DSO rivals the orchestras of Rattle and Barenboim, who dominate the capital’s musical life. Here you will find, in the best sense of the term, a “reading” of the score that deserves the greatest respect and whose deep reach makes every aspect of the polyphony and successive episodes seem astutely weighted and logical.

      The Sixth is a complex symphony that often sounds segmented and requires extreme concentration in its musical rendering. In this sense, the first movement is a test, and one that Kent Nagano passes with flying colours. We have here a work chiselled in its every detail, with well-established hierarchies and minutely gauged crescendos. There is also something new: Nagano proves himself capable of emotion, as the highly concentrated second movement shows (listen from the 5-minute mark on).

      The high point of the interpretation, which takes its place as a benchmark among separately available recordings, is the Finale, perhaps not doch nict zu schnell but truly effective. Less patient than Celibidache, Nagano builds a veritable steamroller of resounding power that leads to an exhilarating coda. Nagano leaves Berlin with his head held high. He has given this orchestra a luster, a personality and, above all, discipline that it now falls to Ingo Metzmacher to bring to fruition.

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