... I did notice, that Haenchen’s interpretation of the First Symphony, though exceptionally well paced, transparent in texture, and powerful at the right moments—tends towards a trait I would best describe as “delicacy.” By this I mean that, in the soft passages especially, Haenchen phrases the music almost as if it were a Debussy nocturne, which may or may not be what the composer felt but it’s not how I feel the music. This put aside, his tempos and rhythmic accents are very well judged and the playing of the orchestra nearly flawless. The horns’ outburst at the end of the first movement is absolutely splendid, and I can remember a time, back in the 1970s, when it was only Georg Solti’s Chicago Symphony and Herbert von Karajan’s Berlin Philharmonic whose horns were always flawless in every performance. Symphony orchestras have come a very long way in the past 32 years. We’re now at a point where even little-known orchestras can compete in a technical level with the Chicago Symphony and in fact nearly every “name” orchestra in the world. ...
The Eighth Symphony, performed three years later, gets off to a good start.
The opening of the second part of the Eighth is played with tremendous feeling and depth of emotion—this is one of the best portions of either symphony.
Lynn René Bayley