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Discussion: Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 1-9 - Haitink

Posts: 48
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Post by volund October 3, 2006 (1 of 48)
It is welcone news to me to learn from Polly Nomial's just posted review that that Hatink/LSO complete Beethoven set includes the Triple Concerto and the Leonore #3. The listings for the contents of this set at posted at towerrecords.com, cduniverse.com, and amazon.com do not list anything other than the Nine Symphonies as being contained in the six disc box. For this mistaken reason, I had declined purchasing the Haitink/LSO box, and was about to begin a purchase of the individual discs. Now I can save some money by buying the complete box.

Post by Polly Nomial October 3, 2006 (2 of 48)
It's actually Leonore #2 not #3 but in any case it's great!

Post by GhostInTheShell October 3, 2006 (3 of 48)
I'm also interested in this box set. How are the sonics? I purchased the LSO Live recording of Verdi's Falstaff and was rather disappointed.

Post by Polly Nomial October 3, 2006 (4 of 48)
The sonics are by far the best that LSO Live have managed in the Barbican to date. It is a very realistic impression of the hall and whilst not the Concertgebouw in terms of lustre it is now nowhere near so claustrophobic as the earlier LSO Live releases; the recording team have managed a step change in the quality for me.

Not wishing to give the wrong impression, as the recording is far from this state, but the recording could sound as anaemic as some transfers of pre-WWII recordings and I still wouldn't care as the performances are so great! That they are accompanied by perfectly good sound (if not demonstration quality) should make them (or at least a sample disc) a compulsory purchase for all classical music lovers.

Post by Ken_P October 3, 2006 (5 of 48)
Could someone here offer a detailed comparison of this set with the symphonies that Vanska/Minnesota has recorded for BIS? I absolutely love what Vanska has done and I've been reluctant to put out the money to check this set out. I know this set has received nothing but raves here and elsewhere, but I seem to have rather different tastes in performance than many of you so I want to be sure.

Post by Polly Nomial October 4, 2006 (6 of 48)
Ken

This isn't the detail that you're wanting but I hope this will help you. I have not got the 9th from Vanska yet but like you, I've enjoyed the other releases a great deal. They're not as "physical" as Haitink and the dynamic range coaxed out of the Minnesota players is wider so Vanska is more "modern" in approach with the extra wide dynamic range and lighter textures. Haitink on the other hand takes a more "traditional" approach and then applies the same techniques as Vanska but less at the extremes.

This means that Haitink has weighter playing & sound (and this does not have as much air as the BIS series) whereas Vanska is more fleet-of-foot. Both pace in a very similar way. The phrasing employed is more emotional from Haitink (perhaps due to the taping of concert performances) and more "objective"/"bland" (depending upon your point of view) with Vanska.

The Vanska set for me is like a pristine set of art shielded by security whereas you feel that Haitink's is a more roll-your-sleeves-up-get-stuck-in approach. To be perfecrly honest, I wouldn't want to be without either as my preferences for the recordings change almost daily; although there is an undeniable physicality to the LSO Live set that makes it tremendously exciting in a way that Vanska doesn't quite match.

Hope this helps.

PN

Post by pgmdir October 4, 2006 (7 of 48)
I've got two of the Minnesota Orchestra CD's, including the new #9. I only have the Haitink # 6 & #2 CD. At the risk of firing up the usual comments, I love the sound on the BIS CD's, although just a little less dynamic range would be easier to listen to.

Vanska's 9 is facinating. I will keep it and enjoy it, but I'm not sure that it would be a DID

I find the sound somewhat muddy (less air-- as PN comments)on the Haitink. I doubt that I will explore that set further. The two channel mix was better to my ears (such as they are).

Haitink's performance was surprisingly strong, however, especially in comparison to previous Phillips recordings.


Different strokes.....

Post by Windsurfer October 4, 2006 (8 of 48)
Ken_P said:

Could someone here offer a detailed comparison of this set with the symphonies that Vanska/Minnesota has recorded for BIS? I absolutely love what Vanska has done and I've been reluctant to put out the money to check this set out. I know this set has received nothing but raves here and elsewhere, but I seem to have rather different tastes in performance than many of you so I want to be sure.

Ken,

If you read my review of Vanska's Eroica, you know I am a huge admirer of that recording.

Nevertheless, there is a quality of the Haitink that absolutely trancends the Vanska. Let's say it is a revelatory experience - after hearing it one feels one now knows Beethoven as never before.

PN, in his answer to you refers to the "physicality" of the performance and I think that is what I am referring to as well. This "physicality" of Haitink's reading of the Eroica is a revelation. It leaves one thinking: "My God, this, these sounds, these timbres, these are what Beethoven really is all about!" It is really quite gripping, ...thrilling. Of course there is the matter of pacing, of phrasing, but these seem innately correct with both performances, it is simply the emotional wallop the Haitink carries, owing I think to the "physicality", as PN describes it, of the sound Haitink elicits from the LSO that leaves one's mouth pursed with an escape of breath that emits a long "whew".

It is quite an experience!

Post by pgmdir October 4, 2006 (9 of 48)
Windsurfer said:

Ken,

If you read my review of Vanska's Eroica, you know I am a huge admirer of that recording.

Nevertheless, there is a quality of the Haitink that absolutely trancends the Vanska. Let's say it is a revelatory experience - after hearing it one feels one now knows Beethoven as never before.

PN, in his answer to you refers to the "physicality" of the performance and I think that is what I am referring to as well. This "physicality" of Haitink's reading of the Eroica is a revelation. It leaves one thinking: "My God, this, these sounds, these timbres, these are what Beethoven really is all about!" It is really quite gripping, ...thrilling. Of course there is the matter of pacing, of phrasing, but these seem innately correct with both performances, it is simply the emotional wallop the Haitink carries, owing I think to the "physicality", as PN describes it, of the sound Haitink elicits from the LSO that leaves one's mouth pursed with an escape of breath that emits a long "whew".

It is quite an experience!

I don't know about Ken, but you and PN have convinced me to give Haitink's Eroica a try! Thanks for such strong, emotional reponses. I know that's the way I feel about certain performances, and I'd love to find an Eroica that would really get to me.

-Bill

Post by Windsurfer October 4, 2006 (10 of 48)
pgmdir said:

I don't know about Ken, but you and PN have convinced me to give Haitink's Eroica a try! Thanks for such strong, emotional reponses. I know that's the way I feel about certain performances, and I'd love to find an Eroica that would really get to me.

-Bill

Bill,

I read your assessment of the 2nd and 6th. I have listened to the 2nd twice now but haven't heard the sixth yet. The sound on that disc is similar to the sound on the Eroica, but the 2nd symphony recording does not seem as refined - I like to listen LOUD, and I had to turn the 2nd symphony down a bit to get satisfactory sound - Possibly, my amp might have been overloading a little or the recorded sound on the disc itself is a trifle coarse compared to the Eroica.

I need to listen a few more times to get the measure of that one...and while I am at it I want to finally hear that Pastorale. The Eroica however, is a real winner!

Bruce

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