Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Ludwig van Beethoven, Claudio Abbado, Berlin Philharmonic|
Beethoven - Die Symphonien (Symphonies 1-9) / Abbado, Berlin Philharmonic
Beyond argument, Claudio Abaddo's second Beethoven cycle puts his previous DG traversals of the nine symphonies in the shade. His Berlin Philharmonic musicians, for starters, play with more precision, fire, suppleness, and... more »
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Beyond argument, Claudio Abaddo's second Beethoven cycle puts his previous DG traversals of the nine symphonies in the shade. His Berlin Philharmonic musicians, for starters, play with more precision, fire, suppleness, and ensemble sophistication than the Vienna Philharmonic did for Abaddo's live 1980s DG cycle. More significant, Abaddo's interpretations turn nearly 180 degrees from a soft-grained, middle-of-the-road vantage point toward the fleet tempos and tart sonorities favored by such "historically informed" Beethovenians as Charles Mackerras, Nicholas Harnoncourt, and David Zinman. Like Zinman, Abaddo makes use of the much-discussed Barenreiter edition, featuring Jonathan Del Mar's textual revisions based on original sources. One might characterize Abaddo's remakes as the Zinman with better playing. Symphonies One and Two are cases in point. Both are jam-packed with crisp, fleet articulation and pungent accents. In similar fashion, the Third symphony's radical classicism hits home in a lean, driving performance redolent of the like-minded Kleiber-Concertgebouw and digital Karajan-Berlin recordings of the Eroica. Clarity, however, is often sacrificed for speed in the Fourth. If Abbado's new Fifth lacks the elemental thrust and surging bass line distinguishing Carlos Kleiber's and Gunter Wand's powerful readings, one hears important lines that often get lost in the mix, such as the cellos' countermelody underneath the finale's second theme. The remaining symphonies boast reams of prodigious, effortless orchestral execution, but they often fall short in dynamic thrust, dramatic momentum, and even humor when appropriate. The finale of the Seventh, for instance, goes too fast for the swirling music to really take shape, and ditto for the wacky last movement of the Eighth. Abaddo's excellent live Berlin Ninth on Sony is hardly superseded by the present lightweight, ill-balanced traversal, although Thomas Quasthoff's riveting declamation in the finale is gorgeous and meaningful. DG's excellent packaging includes an interview with the conductor and informative annotations. All told, an uneven cycle as a whole, but its finest moments easily stand among the best modern Beethoven symphony recordings. --Jed Distler
Clearing The Cobwebs
Rodney Hrvatin | Adelaide, South Australia Australia | 12/11/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If ever there was a doubt over Abbado's ability over ten years to clear the cobwebs created by Karajan with the Berlin Philharmonic then this is it. Whilst many people might greet this cycle with a cry of "ANOTHER Beethoven cycle???" they do it at their peril. Using the critically acclaimed new editions prepared by Jonathan Del Mar, Abbado puts together a cycle of rare insight and vision. Unlike John Eliot Gardiner who sacrifices beauty for speed, Abbado in this cycle not only adopts a faster approach to many of the symphonies than Karajan but still manages to pay as much attention to detail to the articulation and phrasing required in such complex works, with astoundingly clear results. At all times the Berliners deliver clear and highly skilled (would we expect anything less??) playing, responding well to Abbado's direction. Highlights are the 3rd, 5th, 7th and 9th symphonies, the latter receiving one of the freshest and most astounding performances in years. Take a chance and buy this set, it worth every cent and you will playing it for years to come. And not an original instrument in sight either....."
One of the best recordings I've ever heard of anything.
Barry Katz | Westport, CT USA | 12/05/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I purchased this set one week after having been priveledged to see Abbado and the Berliners perform Beethoven's 5th, 6th, and 7th at Carnegie Hall on two consecutive nights. The playing I heard those evenings was astounding - I don't think I've ever heard an orchestra remotely as good. The musicians played with utter committment and passion, from the concertmaster to the last music stand of the second violins - it took my breath away. Each of the string sections played so precisely together, it produced an intensely focused sound - which I found remarkable, especially in the lower strings - the cellos, and even double basses, where you don't frequently hear such nimble, tight playing - in other orchestras, anyway. And when was the last time you noticed exactly what the violas were doing? There was nothing these musicians could not do. At any dynamic,from a triple pianissimo to a tripple fore, and at any tempo, each note sounded with precise ensemble - whole massive runs of 32nd notes at some breakneck tempos, all executed with precise ensemble, clarity, and all of it beautifully phrased. And don't get me started on the beautiful solo playing by various members of the orchestra. All I can say is, "Lovely, lovely, lovely."Abbado produced a sound that was both powerful yet supple and transparent.Inner voices were allowed to shine through. This listener had the impression of having heard something quite fresh and new. He balanced gossamer-thin pianissimos against playing that was rhthymically intense and driving. At the climax of the 7th I found myself actually proprelled out of my seat - literally knocked off my chair.These new Deutche Grammophon recordings beautifully capture all that I heard live in New York on a night I won't soon forget. Each disk brings the performances vividly to life. The sound is clean, transparent, and well balanced. I can find nothing to fault this set. Even the packaging is handsome - sensible and well-designed. My advice - choose "overnight shipping.""
Most Amazing Beethoven Symphony Recordings
Daniel D. Kim | Vancouver, British Columbia Canada | 12/18/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"These are, as other people wrote, not ordinary Beethoven symphony recordings. There are many many recordings, but this set is superior to many. The score used for the recording is the newest version which I think is very accurate. If you know the symphonies well, you will find them different. There is a slight shift of the focus of the tone in this version because of the new edition. The overall impression is very fresh and clean. Compared to highly acclaimed Karajan's recordings of the 70's, there seems to be brighter and clean in the sounds in this one. Karajan's recordings have oil-painting like qualities. The sound is very thick and dark. The resulting sound is thoroughly modern. Abbado's recordings have water-colour painting like qualities. This was achieved in part by reducing the size of the orchestra. He is more classical in his approach."