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Reviews: Beethoven: Symphony No. 7 - Fischer

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Reviews: 2

Review by JJ May 20, 2008 (5 of 6 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
By uniting four composers from the same era, conductor Ivan Fischer demonstrates that around the time of Beethoven’s Symphony N°7 other works performed the same year are just as exciting. “Willelm Wilms”, says Fischer, “perpetuated the tradition of Hayden and Mozart while incorporating some innovative moments. His fourth symphony, composed a few years earlier, was published at the time that Beethoven was working on his masterpiece. The most popular composer of the period was undoubtedly Rossini. He created a vocal style that was completely new and that influenced a large number of other musicians. The nature of the slow movement of the Concerto for Clarinet by Weber, for example, is closer to opera than instrumental music.” Ivan Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra, by their communicative passion, give this atypical recording a unique character that is both fascinating and jubilatory. Everything here is about sonic euphoria, mirroring a seventh symphony that is grandiose and thrilling. In a pure DSD recording essential to the listening experience, this Super Audio CD will delight curious music lovers as much as demanding audiophiles.

Jean-Jacques Millo
Translation Lawrence Schulman

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Review by Chris August 10, 2009 (7 of 15 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
In my latest review of Mahler´s 4th, also on Channel Classics, I really slipped into both ”deep Zen Mood and babble mode!”

I will try to be a bit more brief and to the point, in this review.

Once again , Magic has happened!

A new recording of this standard repertoire work has made me almost re-discover Beethoven´s 7th!

I have used several of my old recordings on both LP and SACD for comparison and come to one clear conclusion :

My old reference ,Karajan and his Berliners , good as they undoubtedly are, are simply de-throned!

I have both the classic 60s recording on LP and SACD and it is undoubtedly still a very good
Recording of Beeethoven´s 7th .

But in comparison to this newcomer it is simply no longer my reference .

What seems, especially unbelievable, is that a musician of Karajan´s calibre could miss something as essential as divided first and second violins!

Both Vänska and Fisher score clearly over Karajan in that respect.

I can live with his omission of repeats and I even think he was absolutely right to omit them in the Pastoral.
You can after all, only happily enjoy your arrival in the countryside, once!

Even the much acclaimed Kleiber, which I have only on Lp, is beaten by the BFO and Ivan Fisher.

And the less said about the sound on my DGG LP,the better.


What about the only modern SACD competition I have in my collection ,the Minnesota orchestra and Vänska ?

Sorry,but they are simply not in the same league!

Everything I have said earlier about the ones I reviewed in that series still stands.

Both this one and the others in that series are good ,even very good .

But only until you get to hear a world class orchestra, the BFO play the same work!!

The BFO and Fisher sweep the floor with a provincial orchestra playing very well, but NOWHERE NEAR the perfection and TONAL BEAUTY the BFO are capable of!

The BFO are simply in a class of their own, again!

Karajan and his Berliners are in the same league musically and on a purely technical performance standard level , but without divided strings and sometimes a bit wiry ,but still very coherent sound,even they are also beaten.


Where Vänska and his Minnesota band,actually a couple of times, even had me thinking along the lines of Ravel and others….
You know,Beethoven not really being that good an orchestrator, being deaf and all that, the BFO instead had me really enjoying the SHEER BEAUTY of Beethoven´s music.

With the BFO and Fisher you will hear both Beethoven´s dramatic and rythmic qualities in full force ,and also his lyrical and melodic greatness!

There is a lot of that incomparable flow here as well.

My only slight, wish would have been for an even faster tempo in the last movement!

Karajan and the BPO live, is still my reference there.

And although very good, BIS´s Minnesota recording is clearly of the multimiked kind.

Many mikes in a not ideal acoustic.

Every note clearly audible, but ultimately, a bit dry, multimiked and even a bit boxy.

To take but one obvious example:

There seems to be no real space for those wonderfully beautiful deep string chords in the second movement ”allegretto” to expand and really ”sing out” in Minnesota, as they do so well in Budapest´s Palace of Arts.
I´m sure Celi.. would have loved that!

With Channel Classics you will hear a truly stunning large orchestra playing a truly great work sublimely well in an equally stunning acoustic without any obvious spotlighting or other synthetic distractions in a State of the Art recording !

Once again then, Channel has produced an SACD that IMO can stand as a NEW REFERENCE .

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