It would be easy, I think, to pass over this release on the nod. But, performance-wise it’s very good. Set down as recently as October in Henry Wood Hall, London – albeit with rather edgy sound (the venue is dry but not this fortissimo-steely) – Rimma Sushanskaya opens this compact concert with the Egmont Overture, a piece easy to glide through: however, she is not open to charges of glibness. Then there are the Two Romances (Opuses 40 & 50), both rendered with style and feeling by Mathilde Milwidsky. As attractive as her playing is, the very-close balance afforded the violin is grating on the ear and out of proportion to the accompaniment.
Finally, the Fifth Symphony, powerfully delivered by the NSO – “one of the longest-established and most versatile professional freelance orchestras working in Britain today” – drilled by Sushanskaya for a reading that looks beyond the familiarity of the score – with force, dynamism and freshness. Some notable timpani-playing in the first movement had me thinking of Tristan Fry, but as there is no personnel listing in the booklet (graced by an erudite note from Robert Matthew-Walker) that’s a guess, and woodwind contributions in the Andante con moto are distinguished. To crown this worthwhile performance is a majestic/trenchant account of the Finale (its exposition repeat observed) – sure of victory without rushing fences and emphasising it once achieved. Guild GMCD7826.
Link to NSO film: