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“Readers who know the Tonhalle Orchestra only from likeable old records by Josef Krips, Otto Ackermann and Franz Lehar will be astonished at the brilliance and polish of these performances. David Zinman assumed the orchestra’s Music Directorship for the 1995-6 season and his skill as an orchestral trainer has consolidated a dramatic improvement in playing standards. I fondly remember attending recent Argo sessions for a Honegger collection (the planned CD is as yet unissued) and noting Zinman’s painstaking attention to details of phrasing. Here, as there, Chris Hazell was the producer, and the sound quality of these (1997) sessions is truly state-of-the-art. As to the performances, tempos are very fast, phrasing trimly tailored (sometimes even a trifle abrupt) and rubato kept well in check. In the Fifth Symphony, Zinman plays all three repeats (first movement, Scherzo and finale) and his handling of the Scherzo’s double-bass Trio (track 3, 1’37”) – where the players keep up the pace without slackening – deserves a round of applause. The Pastoral’s proto-minimalist first-movement development section flies off at a fair lick and the slimline peasants make merry with energy to spare…I would strongly recommend this CD to readers who know their Klemperers, their Toscaninis and their Furtwanglers backwards, who fancy investigating some scholarly emendations but who dislike period-instrument sonorities. Come to think of it, even the period-instrument brigade stand to learn a thing or two: Zinman’s performances offer further illumination of a route that Norrington, Gardiner, Bruggen, Hogwood, Harnoncourt and others have explored with! such fascinating results. They also provide a peach of a bargain…” GRAMOPHONE