Thursday, August 23, 2012

Sporh: Symphonies Nos 1 & 2

'Howard Shelley and his skilled orchestra are attentive to the music's lyrical charm and colourful wind scoring' --Daily Telegraph

'The playing is generous in energy and rhythmic impetus, not to mention elegant, and the lines are beautifully wrought. The performances make as good a case for Spohr’s music as do the annotations' --Fanfare, USA

'The Grand Concert Overture (1819) here receives its first recording. It is sonorous, spirited and beguiling … an enjoyable entrée into the symphonies recorded here as well as signalling the fine performances and sound to be found on this Hyperion release. These works show both ‘muscle’ and lyricism … Spohr’s construction and scoring is of a high order; the music trips lightly and curvaceously. The Second Symphony (1820) begins in dramatic fashion, the ‘introduction’ proving to be integral to the movement as a whole, its unhurried demeanour embracing dignity and lightness.

The movements that follow once again contain ideas that make immediate attraction – a warm-toned Larghetto, a scurrying scherzo and a mercurial finale … There are ten symphonies by Spohr. Maybe Hyperion intends to record the cyclethe label has previously championed Spohr's chamber music)? It would be welcome … His music is genuinely enjoyable and not without novelty and Howard Shelley and this fine orchestra certainly have its measure'

'The first two symphonies … are well worth an airing, and their finales in particular have a great deal of life … Howard Shelley's direction is highly effective' --Manchester Evening News

'Tout en souplesse, la lecture de Shelley supplante forcément celle d'Alfred Walter, par ses tempos plus amples et plus contrastés. En espérant que d'autres chefs donneront bientôt à ces musiques plus des rythmes et de relief, on trouvera ici une honnête version d'attente donc, accompagnée d'un superbe Caspar David Friedrich en couverture et d'un excellent texte de présentation' --Diapason

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