Site review by mwagner1962 January 12, 2008
|For the past year or so I have started to wonder if Paavo Järvi is sometimes a cold fish....I say this based on many of the Cincinnati Telarc recordings I own, some killer and some plain dull. I also have the recordings he did for Pentatone with this Bremen group. The Pentatone recordings were fine but still I had to wonder.
NOW, I went to my local store the other night to pick up my recently arrived SACD copy of the BIS Beethoven Sym's No. 1 & 6 with Vanska and Minnesota (I am a huge fan of the Minnesota Beethoven cycle). This RCA had arrived the very same day, so I thought ""what the heck, my local store has a great return policy" and bought the recording. I am sure glad I did, because what came out of the speakers simply blew me away!! For years I owned Beethoven cycles with Barenboim, Bernstein and Solti (all on redbook). To make a long story short, several culls of my massive redbook library saw the Bernstein and Barenboim go with the Solti staying.
This new Paavo Järvi recording caught me off guard...in a big way. Folks, this is not your grand daddy's Beethoven. This is fresh and sometimes raw, with a level of intensity and passion that would make Solti blush. While the Minnesota is cool, gorgeous, mature and sublime, the Järvi performance grabs you with both hands and takes you on a whirlwind ride of your life!! There is a level of excitement and passion like I have never heard. From subtle crescendos to delicate woodwinds to ripping strings, I can say that I have never enjoyed a Beethoven symphony like I did with this recording.
This cycle will in no way make me stop buying the BIS with Minnesota. Why? Because I now feel that when both cycles are complete, you will have two sets of Beethoven symphonies that offers a 180 degree opposite of the other....magnificent and sublime (Minnesota) and passionate and fiery (Bremen). This not mean that the Minnesota recordings lacks any passion, rather, the RCA SACD offers a totally different experience that makes for some fun comparative listening.
The RCA sound is simply superb...Based on some of the RCA SACD's I own (and which are not all that great) I actually wondered why, until I read the booklet and saw that the engineering team was Polyhymnia (the same WUNDER team responsible for the amazing Pentatone and Caro Mitis SACD's I love so much!!)
It is rare that any new SACD these days totally blows me away (and maybe this will change in the weeks and months to come) but I have to say that I can honestly give this SACD my highest recommendation!!!