[ Harmonia Mundi / CD ]
Release Date: Friday 28 February 2020
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Two symphonies "on the theme of natureˮ! Valid though this expression is, it nevertheless calls for quotation marks: far from being a prefiguration of the famous Pastoral, the Symphonie 'Portrait musical de la nature' represented a highly convincing attempt by its composer to extricate himself from programme music , 23 years before Beethoven's masterpiece! It is exciting to hear these two works recorded together for the first time by a period-instrument orchestra directed by its concertmaster, Bernhard Forck.
"Freshness and vitality are the two words which spring to mind. Concertmaster Bernhard Forck pushes the work along with a driving impetuosity which has all the burgeoning energy of springtime. In the case of the peasants' merrymaking, it is almost too energetic, with the music chasing itself at a frantic pace and the famous rustic band interjection sounding not so much stumbling under a surfeit of alcohol and as having injected itself with the 19th century equivalent of Speed." MusicWeb Recommended May 2020
"The orchestra is small, just over 30 players, and for much of the time remarkably quiet. But with the outburst of the fourth movement they make a tremendous noise, with ear-splitting brass. Tempos tend to be on the fast side, but not disconcertingly so, and there is an agreeable sense of flexibility, the more striking since there is no conductor…you will certainly notice things that you haven't heard before" BBC Music
Knecht, Justin: Le Portrait musical de la Nature ou Grande Symphonie
Beethoven: Symphony No. 6 in F major, Op. 68 'Pastoral'