Brahms: Serenades – No 1 in D major, Op 11; No 2 in A major, Op 16

Reviewed on Wed 01 Mar, 2017

Jaime Martín chooses sensible speeds, possesses a keen ear, and elicits a thoroughly tasteful, poised and eager response from his colleagues.

Jaime Martín masterminds most pleasing accounts of both of Brahms's youthful serenades with the Gävle Symphony Orchestra (of which he has been Artistic Director and Principal Conductor since 2013). The favourable impression left by the Spanish flautist/conductor's 2015 Tritó release of Schubert 'Great' C major Symphony is replicated by the present characterful, lucid and glowingly affectionate pair of performances. Martín chooses sensible speeds, possesses a keen ear, and elicits a thoroughly tasteful, poised and eager response from his colleagues. In the First Serenade I'm happy to report that the second-movement scherzo's joyous trio melody beams exactly as it should, while the Gävle SO's personable winds and lower strings excel in the rather more intimate Second Serenade. Featuring admirably warm-toned and detailed engineering from the superlative Take5 production team of Ingo Petry and Marion Schwebel, this Ondine newcomer comfortably joins my own shortlist for this particular coupling, namely Kertész, Haitink, Boult, Bertini, Joeres and – the most sparky of all – Riccardo Chailly and the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig on Decca (reviewed by yours truly on 11 March 2015). Most enjoyable!
–Andrew Achenbach