Review by Jonalogic February 28, 2013 (1 of 1 found this review helpful)
|Wand's Beethoven- as good as his Bruckner? Hell- yes!
Wand's Bruckner cycle is justly famed as one of the summits of the recorded repertoire - although, as reviewed elsewhere, I would recommend his earlier NDR rather than Berlin Phil recordings wherever possible. His only really credible modern rival as a Bruckner conductor, IMHO, would be Haitink. But that's just me.
Be that as it may, Wand's NDR Beethoven cycle - from which these fine readings of the great 5th and 6th come - has to face a veritable plethora of competition, in varying styles, vintages and playing practices. So, how does it stack up? Pretty well; these are without exception good middle-of-the road traditional readings in a well tried, big band style, notably free from affectation and conductor mischief. Echt Beethoven, in fact. Pure and unadulterated. If you want period practice or something rather leaner and more modern, I can recommend Jarvi on RCA.
Like the rest of the cycle, this Wand coupling is lucid, naturally phrased, insightful and well played. And - more surprisingly, perhaps, it's blessed with an extremely fine, open and natural recording. Just a hint of pcm top end in tutti mitigates against a truly five star sound.
Wand's reading of the 5th may not come across as incandescent or hair-raising as -say - Kleiber's, or the 6th as serene as Klemperer's or Walter's, but these are nevertheless damn fine readings in very good sound.
One moan to RCA here, though. Wand's Beethoven 1-6 are still available separately. So, what happened to nos 7-9? Yes, I know these are in the complete set, but have you checked out the asking price for this lately? Phew...
Parenthetically, I wonder if that set is the most expensive item featured on this site?
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