Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Ludwig van Beethoven, Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Herbert von Karajan|
Beethoven: Egmont (complete incidental music, with narration) /Wellington's Victory/Military Marches
Genres: Jazz, Special Interest, Classical
Listen to Samples
Egmont is excellent, Wellington's Victory a knockout
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 11/16/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Even though it was written for a mechanical contraption, a complex version of a hurdy-gurdy, Wellington's Victory appears today as a sonic showpiece on most recordings, beginning with a famous version on Mercury where Antal Dorati's conducting was secondary to real field artillery in the battle scene. Here, Karajan takes the bold step of turning this literal warhorse into real music. The Berlin Phil. sounds thrilling and quite martial; the gunfire gimmickry is crackling but secondary. The sonics on this 1969 recording, along with everything else on the CD, are deep and wide-ranging.
Karajan's approach to the incidental music from Egmont is also martial, judging from the swift, on-rushing overture, which he plays for excitement from first to last. One misses the gravity and contrast of Klemperer's version, but this one is excellent on its own terms. Gundula Janowitz is pure-voiced and utterly accurate, as always, in the incidental songs. Singer and conductor are the equal to Szell's more celebrated account with the Vienna Phil. on Decca, and Karajan's conducting is more visceral. Where Szell's version outshines this one is in its stirring narration, especially in Egmont's heroic speech from the scaffold. Karajan employs an actor (Erich Schellows) for less than a hundred words; he has no chance to rise to the fever pitch of his ocunterpart on Decca.
The CD is filled out with seven marches performed by the orchestra's scintillating wind players, the longest (March for Military Music in D WoO 24) lasting over seven minutes long, the rest about a minute. But it's for the two major entries that this recording will be valued, and highly, by anyone who respects Karajan's Beethoven.
Best kept secrets in classical music
Gadgester | Mother Earth | 07/22/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Beethoven's Egmont (the complete work, not just the famous overture) and Battle Symphony (aka Wellington's Victory, aka Battle of Vittoria) are perhaps the best kept secrets in classical music. Egmont, in particular, features some highly original and beautiful music for solo voice (soprano) and orchestra. From the highly charged and Beethovenian-dramatic overture to the individual entr'actes to the two Lieders, the music is enjoyable and awe-inspiring. Karajan, at the height of his career at the time of this recording, brings out every magistical note of the piece.
I really love Wellington's Victory, even though it's got a low reputation among purists, perhaps just a tad higher than that enjoyed by Tchaikovasky's more popular 1812 Overture. But it's got lots of fun noise, innovative scoring, three popular tunes (including "The Bear Went Over the Mountain," aka Malbrouk), and is just thoroughly enjoyable as a light piece. Unfortunately, this Karajan recording sounds uninspired and rather boring. Instead, the one made by Marriner and his orchestra featured in Brillian Classics' Complete Beethoven set is a much better performance.
The other pieces, performed by the Berliner Philharmoniker's wind ensemble, are all the military marches composed by Beethoven. They're solid if nothing outstanding, hence none of them bears an opus number. (Beethoven reserved opus numbers only for his more serious works, with some exceptions -- some would argue the Battle Symphony [op. 91] is one such lapse but I beg to disagree!)"