- Symphony No. 5 in C minor ("Fate"), Op. 67
- Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92
Lately anointed as a rising star among young maestros, Gustavo Dudamel followed up his victory in the 2005 Gustav Mahler Conducting Competition by broadening his renown with a high-profile, last-minute substitution for an ailing Neeme Järvi at the London Proms. Now, at age 25, comes the Venezuelan conductor's debut recording, and the venerable repertoire he's chosen shows a bold willingness to place his Beethoven interpretations alongside some of the greatest recordings ever made. Dudamel has been music director of Venezuela's Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra since 1999 -- well before he began to attract international attention -- and he seems to have achieved a striking rapport with these musicians. Even if the ensemble won't erase the Berlin Philharmonic from your memory, their responsiveness to Dudamel is striking; they're able to play almost inaudibly in some of the most breathtaking moments of this recording of the Fifth Symphony -- for example, the closing trio of the Scherzo movement -- but they also succeed in building to exciting and sonorous climaxes in both symphonies. Dudamel's version of the Seventh Symphony is in many ways the more satisfying of the two; his youthful vigor gives the work's irrepressible rhythmic energy a run for its money, with an especially furious approach to the finale, but he also makes ample space to showcase the orchestra's fine wind soloists in the symphony's more relaxed moments. With a calling card like this recording in his pocket, Dudamel is perfectly poised to make the leap from promising newcomer to permanent fixture on the classical scene.
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Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 5 & 7 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Subtlety, nuance, and elegance may not be the strong points of this recording of Beethoven's tried and true symphonies 5 and 7, but DGG has jumped the gun for capturing and signing one of the more exciting young conductors on the scene today by introducing him with known works played by his own youth ensemble, the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela. What this recording lacks in the line of the grand old men of the podium it makes up for in the spirit and obvious musicality that makes Dudamel infectious. For the recording of these symphonies it is a highly respectable rendering: as an introduction to the conductor Gustavo Dudamel it does not even begin to suggest the prodigious gifts of this young dynamo! This listener had the extreme fortune to be present when Dudamel recently mounted the podium before the Los Angeles Philharmonic in the Disney Hall to lavish his rapt audience with his charismatic persona, his complete commitment to the music, his oneness with the orchestra (not an easy assignment for a novice in front of one of the world's finest orchestras), and the thrill of hearing difficult works as though they had just been written. Opening with Kodály's 'Dances of Galanta', Dudamel found every detail of this richly orchestrated score a reason for discovery. It is the first time this listener has every appreciated the piece as a completely original work. He then collaborated with guest soloist Yefim Bronfman in the quintessential Rachmaninov 3rd, revealing orchestral facets too often hidden in routine performances. He then turned to Bartók's challenging 'Concerto for Orchestra' to prove his mettle. The orchestra fully embraced his precise conducting technique, his penchant for passionate music making, and his attention to metric details that can throw even the most seasoned of conductors. It was an astonishing experience and one that captured not only the minds and hearts of the orchestra but those of the audience as well. Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the innately musical, powerful presence and career opening of the humble but brilliant Gustavo Dudamel! Grady Harp