I had enthused about Jac van Steen's recent recording for MD&G featuring Dvořák's Sixth Symphony and the three "Nature, Life and Love" overtures so I was looking forward to this Tchaikovsky 5th when it arrived in the post. It would be safe to say that I was not disappointed as the performance is full of romantic inflexions and substantial frission although it does lack the biting intensity of some perennial favourites such as Mravinsky (DG), Maazel (Decca) and Muti (EMI).
The Hamlet Overture is also given a fine reading, again reminiscent of Maazel on his superb Decca Ovation disc paired with the equally colourful Manfred Symphony (now long deleted). Van Steen appears to be quite a gregarious personality to judge by his replies to the interview which make up the booklet notes and I am looking forward to more recordings from Dortmund with eager anticipation.
Copyright © 2011, Gerald Fenech.