On his first release for record label Ondine, Robert Trevino conducts the Malmo Symphony Orchestra, of which he is Principal Conductor, in recordings made last year at the much-admired 'Malmo Live' concert hall during the MSO's sold-out Beethoven Festival.
Already the symphony cycle is causing a stir, having been well reviewed on BBC Radio 3's In Tune and featuring on Gramophone magazine's Editor's Podcast.
For the fast-rising young American maestro and his orchestra, recording all nine symphonies in such a short space of time was both a deliberate artistic approach a and a mammoth undertaking. "To traverse these great masterpieces in such close proximity - and to play them with the absolute focus and intensity they demand - is both immeasurably enriching and an immense physical and spiritual task," says Trevino, "But by doing it that way you play the music at white heat, the journey that Beethoven takes you on is presented with no barriers and you undertake it in such a way that it becomes one great arc from beginning to end. You live it in that way, so do your audience, and it is an unforgettable experience."
Asked if there is room for 'another Beethoven cycle', even in this year when the world celebrates the composer's 250th birthday, Trevino is clear in his answer. "Every artist can find new things in this music, and the listener can hear new things in every recording. The possibilities are infinite. If someone says that they never want to hear a new Beethoven cycle again, then they should stop listening to Beethoven, and I don't want to live in that world! Because we need this music to speak to us anew, to reflect our world of today to us, to reflect our own selves back to us. To me that is vital, and this set is a snapshot of right now. Of me and the orchestra and the listener and how we perceive the world, for this moment."
"And just at this moment, the world also needs hope, and comfort, and empathy and, yes, an ode to joy and freedom."
Listen to Robert Trevino talking to Gramophone Editor Martin Cullingford on the Gramophone Podcast https://bit.ly/2MPjmHb