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Reviews: Beethoven: Complete Symphonies - Vänskä

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Reviews: 1

Review by Chopi February 25, 2011 (6 of 7 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
I begun listening to Beethoven's music when I was very young. The first music that I almost remember by heart is the Pastoral. So, for me, this set of Symphonies, the greatest ever composed, is indispensable; and should I have enough money, I would probably acquire all the possible editions. But, since I am not rich, I have to think quite well which ones I'm going to buy... as surely does everyone reading this lines.
So, although I begun at 7 with Von Karajan playing this marvellous music, the classic set I cherish the more is the one of the great George Szell with the Cleveland Orchestra. Amazing...
Then, I discovered the "Original Instruments Community", and having heard those renditions of Hogwood, Norrington, Goodman and Gardiner, I chosed the last one where, although remaining faithfull to historical practice, I found a truly beautiful romantic approach that suits the music quite well in balance with the harsh sounds of the old instruments. I perceive here a great sense of struggle, which I love...
Then I've heard Mr. Barenboim leading the superb Berlin Staastskapelle in a rendition modelled under Furtwängler's mantle. And I like it a lot... as I do like Herbert Blomstedt's version with the Staatskapelle Dresden in the classic style.
The late Sir Charles Mackerras gave us two oustanding editions, following the Norman del Mar New Critical Edition, that are beautiful both of them.
And here comes Vänskä with the Minnesota Orchestra playing also the Norman del Mar Ed., that I think, has the best of all possible worlds, except for the bass singer in the Ninth which I don't like.
His orchestra is amazing, with great unity in the divided strings that suits this music so well (as, I think, suits every music for orchestra... I really don't know why conductors prefer strong volume over the subtle sound of divided violins), and virtuoso wind playing of the first rank.
Although I like pretty much Vänskä approach, I ask myself if it is so important to show how tight he can hold the orchestra, showing a pianissimo in the Third that makes the music almost dissapear, nuance that no one needs, I think... But nobody is perfect, and there it is, a SACD box that will stand in time as one of the best ever made.
(And then comes Järvi with the Bremen German Chamber Philharmonic... but that is another story...)

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