This is the first in a projected series of Grieg's orchestral works that comes into direct competition with the DG bargain set conducted by Neeme Jaarvi and his excellent Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra.
Ruud is a persuasive advocate of 'In Autumn' and here the Bergenstrings play with some marvellous alacrity, rather recalling Beecham's memorable RPO recording that still remains my perennial favourite in this work.
The Piano Concerto is expansive and very entertaining but I thought that the last ounce of grandeur was missing from proceedings. Ogawa is a fine pianist but at the end I was left slightly cold by her rather too matter of fact interpretation.
In the Symphony, Ruud is quite similar to the pioneering recording by Karsten Andersen on a long forgotten Decca LP with the same Bergen Orchestra. This must now be the most desirable performance of the work as it positively glows with touches of mastery and at the same time, naïvety. The BIS recording is also quite outstanding.
At 78 minutes, no one can complain of being short changed and this can be the sort of auspicious start to a new Grieg re-appraisal through his works.
Copyright © 2007, Gerald Fenech