Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Ludwig van Beethoven, Kurt Masur, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig|
Beethoven: The Nine Symphonies [Box Set]
Listen to Samples
Beethoven master Masur with his orshestra,but not their best
R. Lane | Tracy, CA USA | 05/17/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"German maestro Kurt Masur and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra have recorded the complete Beethoven Symphonies for Philips twice.The first traversal was made in the 1970's. That cycle also included some of the overtures, and became legendary from the day it was issued. I well remember how sad and dismayed many collectors were when Philips elected not to issue that set in the USA. It was only available in specialty stores in large cities for a premium price. While maestro Masur and his orchestra are not part of the period instrument movement, period "forces" were used. By period "forces" I mean that they attempted to only use as many of any individual instrument as would likely have been used in the composer's lifetime, or better yet exactly what the composer specified if the composer did so. Period "forces" were becoming quite popular and accepted in the 1970's, and Masur's first Beethoven Symphony cycle played a major role in that growing acceptance.Masur and his orchestra returned to the symphonies of Beethoven (minus the overtures this time) in 1990 and made a fresh traversal of the 9 for Philips again over the next 3 years. But there was much that was "new" about the second cycle. They were made withe "new" digital technology, not always a blessing in the 1980s but nearing maturity in the early 1990s. They used "new" critical editions of the scores by C.F. Peters that had been recently published then (the publisher, of course, was based in Leipzig). They were recorded in the "new" Gewandhaus (the concert auditorium from which the orchestra derives its name). In the intervening 20 years, Masur had become a much more international figure. He was appointed music director of the New York Philharmonic in 1991, right in the middle of the new Beethoven symphony cycle. With all the "newness", except perhaps the digital recording technology, there is lost a sense of familiarity. The orchestra and conductor are not as familiar with the score, and additionally the venue they are playing in. And conductor and orchestra are not as familiar with each other, given the maestro's commitments in other places. The boxed set being reveiwed here contains the recordings from teh second traversal, the "new" cycle. As such, the set is a great bargain, 5 disks for about $8 per disk. The older recordings are still available in the Phiips Duo series (Amazon asin #s B00000417D, B0000041EO, B0000041EP, and B0000041EN) with other Philips recordings of some of the other orchestral works.So which set is the better? I still think the earlier cycle is preferable. It is great to have the current set. Collectors interested n Masur's readings likely prefer a "classical" sound that does not modernize the music too much. And the newer scores lend themselves to this approach very well. But the earlier set produced some the same results just by reducing the size of the orchestra from the massive forces traditionally used by modern orchestras. The familiarity of conductor, orchestra, score, and venue work better together in the older recordings and make for a more all round pleasing experience."
Very Satisfying In The Traditional Mold
Timothy Dougal | Madison, Wi United States | 07/31/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I havent' heard Mazur's ealier set of Beethoven symphonies, but this set from the late 80's and early 90's is, overall, the most satisfying integral set I have heard, that is best out of seven sets, which includes famous conductors like Karajan, Hogwood, Szell, Harnoncourt,Jochum and Walter. The perfomances are in a traditional mold, avoiding very fast or very slow pacing, grand and often thrilling. The recording is very good with a few minor flaws. It's a terrific bargain, too!"