BBC Music Magazine Disc of the Month
July 2006, BBC Proms, Royal Albert Hall: Thomas Zehetmair and Northern Sinfonia perform Schumann’s Fourth Symphony (in the original 1841 version) and Brahms’ Violin Concerto, a bold and brilliant move by the orchestra’s Music Director, conducting from his violin. This recording re-creates that programme, which received rapturous reception and unanimous acclaim. Zehetmair and Northern Sinfonia have forged one of Europe’s most dynamic musical relationships. The pairing of one of the most significant violinists of his generation with the award winning chamber orchestra from Tyneside has secured them their growing international reputation.
This is the second in an ongoing series of recordings made at Norman Foster’s spectacular The Sage Gateshead with Northern Sinfonia, inaugurated last autumn with the Gramophone Editor’s Choice release of Mozart Piano Concertos Nos. 9 and 23 (AV 2100), with Imogen Cooper directing from the keyboard.
“…Zehetmair emphasises the Concerto's strong relationship to Brahms's chamber music: the interpretation achieves a level of intimacy between soloist and orchestra that is almost unrivalled elsewhere. The opening tutti sets the tone for the whole work. Observing Brahms's marking of Allegro non troppo, the tempo is fast and flowing yet captures far more subtlety, expressivity of line and a wider dynamic range than the similarly purposeful but rather dry approach taken by Harnoncourt and the Concertgebouw accompanying Gidon Kremer on Warner Classics. The coupling of Schumann Fourth Symphony, performed here in its original 1841 version, is equally compelling. ...Zehetmair strongly confirms that performing the work with reduced instrumental forces results in a far greater clarity of texture.” ***** BBC Music Magazine