Review by Edvin September 20, 2006 (2 of 2 found this review helpful)
|If I were to keep only one recording of the fifth symphony I would choose this. Does that mean that this is the best performance I have ever heard...I guess so. Or rather, I know so!
In the first movement the drama is less on the surface with fate knocking and all that rubbish. With Haitink it is about the inner lines and the tension within the parts. I said earlier that I admired Haitink in this new Beethoven cycle a lot because of the conductor´s handling of the dynamics and the inner tension and developement of not only a movement but the whole piece.
Bethoven 5. What to do? In the second movement we are used to hearing a proud portrait of a Napoleon like figure. Not here. Haitink downplays the pompous side of things and lets the music speak for itself. It is a swift movement with loads of attention to details. Lovely, so lovely. Scherzo, the repeating of the opening theme is like a smile, maybe tongue in cheek. I was utterly fascinated by the interplay in the trio section. Some very original sounds were displayed, Haitink pinpoints some chords and balances in an original way.
The finale is a tour de force. Not as glaring as some, again Haitink has his eye in the score and not so much in recorded history. I must say that I am amazed how the conductor sudenly has re-evaluated Beethoven so totally. I mean, he has recorded two cycles before and both were rather dull, or at least ordinary. But this is so special and so full of musical genius at work. Listen to all these subtle dynamic gradings, listen to how they contribute to making a whole.
I am happy when I listen to these performances. I am smiling and often caught off gaurd with a grin at some new discoveries, some new balances. I must say that this is the most natural way I have ever heard Beethoven being played.
No 1 is played in the same glorious tradition of the others. To be truthful and let my music critic fly I honestly think that this is the most musical Beethoven cycle ever recorded. Haitink has studied the scores anew and I must say that no cycle of these symphonies has even come close to making me appraise and re-appraise these works (oh I do wish my language was English).
Turn the volume up and revel in these performances. The sound is detailed and warm with a very wide dynamic range. What more can you ask for?
But the cover, arghhhhh...
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