Janáček: Sinfonietta; Capriccio; Suite from 'The Cunning Little Vixen'

Reviewed on Wed 31 Dec, 2014

Edward Gardner’s collaboration with the Chandos label continues apace, now with the Bergen Philharmonic rather than the BBC Symphony and CBSO of earlier releases. The Norwegian forces are certainly competitive with those orchestras, although they don’t quite manage the tonal opulence in the strings. Gardner is on fine form, bringing his trademark combination of clarity and propulsion. The Sinfonietta opens boisterously (the brass a little coarse) but goes on to a range of varied and delicately balanced orchestral colours. Jean-Efflam Bavouzet is another shining light on the Chandos roster. The sheer dexterity of his left hand results in an exceptionally lithe and nimble reading of the Capriccio, wholly free of the stodginess that can weigh down other recordings. The Cunning Little Vixen Suite is suitably pastoral, but Gardner also instils an almost symphonic sense of direction and form, his orchestral textures as clear as ever. Recommended.
–Gavin Dixon