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  PentaTone Classics -
  PTC 5186 313
  Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 3 - Herreweghe
  Beethoven: Symphony No. 1 in C Op. 21, Symphony No. 3 in E flat Op. 55 "Eroica"

Royal Flemish Philharmonic
Philippe Herreweghe (conductor)
Track listing:
  Classical - Orchestral
Recording type:
Recording info:

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Reviews: 1
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Site review by Polly Nomial June 4, 2008
This disc in many ways is more of the same (cf Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 5 & 8 - Herreweghe) from Herreweghe. Once again, he draws wonderfully beautiful and lithe sounds from his mix of modern and "period" instruments. And as before, the tempi chosen are fairly safe which allow his players to exhibit a great deal of flair. Indeed, much of the music is transformed into a performance in the tradition of Mozart and Haydn's Parisian travels.

This approach works fairly well in the first symphony, with each of the movements nearly morphing into dance movements that would have been familiar to Rameau. The finale in particular is glowing with a spirited and delicate touch that is really quite imaginative although lacking a little in the solid grounding of emotions that one can readily hear on many other accounts from all periods of recording history. The same approach though makes a complete travesty of the then (and still now in a gripping account) modernity that Beethoven so radically employed in the Eroica; this might have been (briefly) dedicated to a Frenchman but this performance must rank as one of the most lightweight and hence underwhelming on disc. There is nothing wrong with being fleet-of-foot for parts of the music but for the opening chords to tickle the ear like a Mozartian forte rather than the call to arms that was surely intended is the first of many misguided decisions that Herreweghe makes. The sense of emotional struggles so indelibly written into the heart of the score is almost completely ironed out leaving the listener mystified.

This cannot be recommended for any sensible reason since there are already fine discs of these works on SACD with similar levels of engineering excellence that, from a musical standpoint, take precedence.

(Performance rating for the orchestra: 4.5 stars, Herreweghe: approaching 0 in the Eroica!)

Copyright © 2008 John Broggio and

Works: 2  

Ludwig van Beethoven - Symphony No. 1 in C major, Op. 21
Ludwig van Beethoven - Symphony No. 3 in E flat major, Op. 55 "Eroica"