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MUSIC REVIEW : Bavarians Play Brahms, Beethoven

Offbeat and contemporary repertory is the particular province of the Bavarian Radio Symphony, Sir Colin Davis, told a reporter last week. “We have a very large repertory, but it is not the standard one,” Davis said.

Nevertheless, the ensemble from Munich, under Davis, played a standard program at its second appearance in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion Tuesday night. The agenda: Brahms’ Third Symphony and Beethoven’s Fifth.

After a strident, weirdly unfocused run-through of the opening Allegro, Davis and his Muncheners gave glowing, autumnal readings to the inner movements before making climactic noises in the finale. Despite moments of genuine musical cohesion, the impression this orchestra leaves is of provincial achievement. Certainly, many of the sounds emerging from brass and woodwinds do not meet an international standard.

Beethoven’s C-minor Symphony elicited a fine and successful ensemble effort. Davis’ compelling musical perspective kept all elements in balance, contrasts between movements remained sharp, and the triumph of the conclusion had been thoroughly prepared.

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