Schumann’s Manfred (“dramatic poem with music in three parts”) exists, even if only the overture is ever performed. Recordings were rare until last year but have been amended by accounts from Andrey Boreyko (Arthaus DVD) and Bruno Weil (Preiser SACD). Perhaps just a few performances of the whole thing would suffice to yearn again for the narrative-romantic conciseness of just the overture. But until then, fine readings like that of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra under Pablo Heras-Casado (standing in for an injured John Eliot Gardiner) wake a lust for more. It is hard to say whether Gardiner’s Manfred Overture would have sounded less brawny, thundering, dynamically nuanced, cohesive than Heras-Casado’s… Gardiner’s HIP-credentials notwithstanding, the last I heard him conduct the BRSO (Shostakovich, Bartók, Dvořák in 2008), he coaxed as silky romantic a sound out of them as I’ve ever heard. If anything was missing from the young Spanish conductor with hair to put Dudamel’s to shame, it was any element of surprise.
|K.Szymanowski, Symphonies No 1 & 4, Concert Overture,|
J.K.Broja / Wit / Warsaw PO