Beethoven: Symphony No. 7 (MusicAeterna/Currentzis)
MusicAeterna/Teodor Currentzis (Sony Classical)
Symphony No. 7 in A major
Sony Classical 19439743772 39:07 mins
The Seventh, more than any other of Beethoven’s symphonies, has suffered in the past from generic interpretative tendency. The music’s profoundly rhythmic impetus and moto perpetuo inclinations appear to have created a centralised vision geared primarily towards Wagner’s ‘apotheosis of the dance’.
One of the main problems, by no means confined to performances on modern instruments, is that the internal detail of Beethoven’s exuberantly inventive orchestration, especially in moments of buoyant exhilaration, tends to become clouded, most notably in the massed strings. This is where Teodor Currentzis really comes into his own, revealing a panoply of ear-tweaking figurations and colourations. This is especially crucial in the finale, whose manic repetitions can easily become monochromatically grinding and frenetic rather than subtly nuanced. At a moderate tempo, Currentzis presents a radical viewpoint, which is more ramped-up Haydn than Tchaikovsky in embryo.
Throughout, rather than adopting a headlong interpretative profile, Currentzis inflects Beethoven’s indelible invention with an at times startling range of articulation that bristles with spontaneous relish. Rather than cossetting us in a warm bath of reassuring musical semantics, Currentzis offers up a bracing, tingling cold shower. Most crucially, by rejoicing freely in the music’s expressive profiling – the second movement Allegretto is revelatory in its multifaceted soundscaping and enhanced dynamic flexibility – the Symphony’s generic imaging appears to dissolve in front of our ears, to reveal pristine musical surfaces.