Don Juan lacks the opening sweep and timpani attack of Paavo Järvi’s fairly recent NHK account (RCA Red Seal), and although there are some glowing sounds and considered detailing later, as well as personable solo contributions from the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester, this rather staid performance can’t compete with the Estonian maestro in Tokyo or such back-catalogue spectres such as Szell, Reiner and Kempe.
More eventful is Tod und Verklärung. Sorrow at meeting the ‘final curtain’ is well-suggested during the opening minutes. But the struggle with Death is a little muted – although the ear alights on aspects of scoring sometimes glossed over, not least from the right-positioned second violins, they and the firsts impressing a notable sheen – although happy reminiscences from the soon-to-be dear-departed and some rallying against it are finely conveyed (timpani dull, however) and the Transfiguration itself lacks the last degree of transcendency.
What makes this release something of a catch though is the Sechs Lieder, Opus 68, glorious songs seductively sung by Louise Alder with a depth of expression and colourful range of characterisation and timbre (never shrieking) that is both beguiling and touching, as well as dramatically operatic in the final (extended) number, Elektra-like. The booklet includes texts and translations. Linn CKD 640.