Conductor Antony Beaumont argues convincingly in the liner notes of this album for a smaller orchestra with a very limited string section. He employs only 23 string-players throughout. The result is a much leaner but better-balanced sound than I’ve heard previously in performances of either symphony, where the string sections were more than twice as large… To my way of thinking, this is the best release yet of Weill’s symphonies, especially the problematic first, and a notable success for Beaumont.
This disc is marked by a sense of urgency and top-quality playing. Beaumont and the musicians of Bremen have Symphony No. 1 (1920) tossing and turning. Adverse criticism both kept it from view until a posthumous premiere in 1957and turned Weill towards populism and the Song Symphony (1924) is a bridge work between the contrasting symphonies that combines intellectual harmonic rigor, dancing rhythms and juvenile melodic appeal. The performers give a freshly inspiring account of this rarely heard but wonderfully entertaining work.
Kurt Weill is remembered more for his work on Broadway than as a composer of ambitious concert music who once studied with Schoenberg. This is a pity because both of these symphonies reveal a fertile imagination and a composer who found unexpected relevance within symphonic form… Beaumont keeps Weill’s structural disjoints marvellously jagged, while working the orchestra up to a frenzy.
Classic FM Magazine
Antony Beaumaont’s Bremen players on Chandos are similarly well groomed. This conductor makes more of the symphony’s dynamic markings, as in the introduction to the first movement; and, with the assistance of a more transparent recording, his more animated reading brings us closer to the heart of this haunting work.
The engineering is clean, with a light resonance in stereo, and possesses an extra degree of presence that really brings out the solo winds and brass in surround sound. To my way of thinking, this is the best release yet of Weill’s symphonies, especially the problematic First, and a notable success for Beaumont.
This new, beautifully recorded SACD issue should do a lot to attract newcomers or the Weill-shy…Beaumont brings an energy and lyricism to the first symphony that draws out the subtleties I haven’t heard before. So we have an excellent recording all around in great sound well worth your consideration.
American Record Guide
One of the virtues of Beaumont’s approach is its emphasis on linear transparency, endowing the work with a continuity so that the grating major/minor superimposition of the initial ‘motto’ can be perceived as a continually unifying factor. It helps that Beaumont is so attuned to the music’s restless ambivalence – from desperation, via exultation, to stoic defiance, and bringing these into more cohesive an accord that Alsop’s heavy-handedness could hope to achieve.
International Record Review
Antony Beaumont has gone back to the original y sources for these works to iron out textural problems that have always dogged the scores, so there is something authoritative about these performances beyond the fact that they are very fine indeed. For under Beaumont’s direction, the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen brings out all the music’s vitality and freshness, with its clean-cut rhythms and mask-like ability to flit between serious and humorous. The recording , which comes courtesy of Radio Bremen , has ideal immediacy and warmth.
Both are given incisive, pungent performances from the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen under conductor-musicologist Antony Beaumont. Quodlibet… is exquisitely played and provides some light relief from the determined intensity of Weill’s other two works.
This disc is marked by a sense of urgency and top quality playing.. The performers give a freshly inspiring account of this rarely heard but wonderfully entertaining work.
This new, beautifully recorded SACD issue should do a lot to attract newcomers or the Weill-shy, and it has done a lot for me in reassessing his symphonies… Beaumont brings an energy and lyricism to the first symphony that draws out subtleties I haven’t heard before… So we have an excellent recording all around in great sound well worth your consideration, even if you have just purchased the Naxos.
American Record Guide
Antony Beaumont… makes more of the Symphony’s dynamic markings, as in the introduction to the first movement; and, with the assistance of a more transparent recording, his more animated reading brings us closer to the heart of this haunting work.
Fono Forum (Germany)
I bought this as a lossless (16/44.1) FLAC download. Initially sad I couldn't get 24/96, I was stunned when I listened. The recording is quite close and immediate but with wide dynamic range, plenty of space and separation within and around the orchestra. Alsop is good, but these performances are more intense and sonically much more dramatic. It's a long time since I heard the old Bertini/BBCSO recording but I don't think it could compete with this. No.2 now seems a greater symphony both in musical and historical terms, relating to the Austro-German tradition but thrillingly original too.
Indeed it's hard to think of another work quite like it. Don't miss this! (Come on Chandos, how about a high-res version?)