April 06, 2017

Artsfuse Praises Mendelssohn Symphonies

In this performance Manze and the NDRP play it brilliantly. Everything’s very lively. Rhythms snap. The lyrical writing sings. Inner voices – whether viola countermelodies or woodwind descants – speak with clarity and immediacy. All is invigorating.

Artsfuse praised our latest release of Mendelssohn – Symphonies Nos. 1 & 3 performed by Andrew Manze and NDR Radiophilharmonie. Mendelssohn’s warmly lyrical and evocative Scottish symphony is paired with his confident and precocious first symphony. His music positively brims with youthful spontaneity and exuberance, blending dreamy poetic flights with moments of affecting tenderness and serenity.  Read a glimpse of the review below.

The Pentatone disc’s most eyebrow-raising choice involves Manze’s quick tempo in the Scottish Symphony’s third movement. His pace is noticeably above what’s marked in the score. But there’s no sense of rushing through the drama – or the beauty – of what Mendelssohn wrote. In the end, it’s all very well (and expressively) thought out and executed.

Throughout, Manze’s interpretive gestures and liberties – holding back at certain structural points, driving the tempo a bit in spots – pay off. They all make musical sense but, equally important, help elucidate the score’s internal logic.

Jonathan Blumhofer