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Classical - Released January 1, 2006 | Archiv Produktion

Tension -- it's a wonderful thing. The tension between great pitching and great hitting is what keeps baseball interesting. The tension between will she or won't she is what keeps dating fascinating. And, of course, the tension between centrifugal force and gravitational force is what keeps the whole universe spinning. But as an interpretive point of view for Mozart's symphonies No. 40 and No. 41, tension is of doubtful value. Yet tension is pretty much all conductor Marc Minkowski has on his mind in these 2006 recordings with his Les Musiciens du Louvre. He pushes already too quick tempos forward to underline a point -- and his players seem not altogether willing to go with him. He pulls already too slow tempos back to round off a phrase -- and once again his players are not altogether willing to go with him. He drives the strings too hard -- and the players go out of tune. He forces the winds too often -- and the players go out of sync. Compared to either the overly refined Herbert von Karajan/Berlin Philharmonic performances or the acutely etiolated Christopher Hogwood/Academy of Ancient Music performances, Minkowski and Les Musiciens' performances may seem revelatory. Compared with the controlled passion of the Bruno Walter/New York Philharmonic performances or the commanding power of the Karl Böhm/Vienna Philharmonic performances, Minkowski and Les Musiciens sound merely too tense. Archiv's standard clean and close sound is oddly gray and strangely distant. © TiVo