Le Concert des Nations, Jordi Savall
Alia Vox AVSA9916
I was shocked when opened the booklet for this CD – after, I should point out, having been blown away by the drama and energy of the opening movement of one of my favourite Beethoven symphonies! – to discover that this is actually a recording from 1994. 22 years later, as I say, it still has the ability to make one sit up and take note, whether it be the brilliance of the woodwind tone, the shimmering tremolo strings with cutting cross-accents driving the music forward like some sort of life-bringing juggernaut that refuses to be ignored; perhaps for the first time, I heard what my university lecturers meant by the shock value of “Eroica”, and Savall does all of this without milking each of the many dramatic moments. Of course he does more than just let Beethoven’s genie out of the bottle, but perhaps I also appreciated for the first time what a conductor does in terms of “interpreting” a symphony and, I confess I loved it – and you’ll hear no complaints from me about the short duration of the CD as a whole; by the end, I was mentally exhausted!