Brahms: Symphony No 1; Martinu: Symphony No 4
Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart des SWR/Klaus Tennstedt, ICA Classics ICAC 5090 ****
Klaus Tennstedt abandoned his career in the German Democratic Republic in 1971, when he defected to the West. He secured a post at the Kiel Opera; by the end of the decade he held positions in Hamburg, Minnesota and London, and was developing a major recording career. The live performances recorded here capture Tennstedt at work with Stuttgart’s radio orchestra. The 1973 performance of Martinu’s Fourth Symphony is deft, aerated in the fast movements, impressively expansive in the slow movement. Brahms’s First Symphony is more lithe than Tennstedt’s later studio version, though still grandly imposing in the German manner. A fascinating insight into Tennstedt before he was swept up by fame.