Beethoven — The Symphonies - Frans Bruggen & Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century - 2012 (5 SACD-R, ISO)

Beethoven — The Symphonies – Frans Bruggen & Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century – 2012 (5 SACD-R, ISO)

Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven
Orchestra: Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century
Conductor: Frans Brüggen
Audio CD
Number of Discs: 5 SACD-R
Format: ISO
Bit Depth: 64(2.8 MHz/1 Bit)
Number of channels: 5.0, 2.0
Label: Glossa
Size: 18.22 GB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: yes
Server: datafile

Frans Brüggen & Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century
Ludwig van Beethoven — The Symphonies

DISC 1

Symphony no. 1 in C major (Opus 21, 1800)

01. Adagio molto – Allegro con brio
02. Andante
03. Menuetto: Allegro molto e vivace
04. Finale: Allegro molto e vivace

Symphony no. 3 in E flat major, ‘Eroica’ (Opus 55, 1804)

05. Allegro con brio
06. Marcia funebre: Adagio assai
07. Scherzo: Allegro vivace
08. Finale: Allegro molto

DISC 2

Symphony no. 2 in D major (Opus 36, 1802)

01. Adagio molto – Allegro con brio
02. Larghetto quasi andante
03. Scherzo: Allegro
04. Allegro molto

Symphony no. 4 in B flat major (Opus 60, 1806)

05. Adagio – Allegro vivace
06. Adagio
07. Allegro vivace
08. Allegro ma non troppo

DISC 3

Symphony no. 6 in F major (Opus 68, 1806-1808)

01. Allegro ma non troppo: ‘Erwachen heiterer Empfindungen bei der Ankunft auf dem Lande’
02. Andante molto mosso: ‘Szene am Bach
03. Allegro: ‘Lustiges Zusammensein der Landleute
04. Allegro: ‘Gewitter, Sturm
05. Allegretto: ‘Hirtensang, frohe und dankbare Gefühle nach dem Sturm’

Symphony no. 5 in C minor (Opus 67, 1808)

06. Allegro con brio
07. Andante con moto
08. Allegro
09. Allegro

DISC 4

Symphony no. 8 in F major (Opus 93, 1812)

01. Allegro vivace e con brio
02. Allegretto scherzando
03. Tempo di menuetto e trio
04. Allegro vivace

Symphony no. 7 in A major (Opus 92, 1812)

05. Poco sostenuto – Vivace
06. Allegretto
07. Presto – Assai meno presto
08. Allegro con brio

DISC 5

Symphony no. 9 in D minor (Opus 125, 1824)

01. Allegro ma non troppo, un poco maestoso
02. Molto vivace
03. Adagio molto e cantabile
04. Presto
05. ‘O Freunde, nicht diese Töne!’
06. Allegro assai: ‘Ode an die Freude
07. Alla marcia: Allegro vivace assai
08. Andante maestoso – Adagio non troppo ma divoto
09. Allegro energico, sempre ben marcato
10. Allegro ma non tanto

In Memoriam Frans Bruggen (30 October 1934 – 13 August 2014)

In an interview for the long defunct ABC Radio National program The Score (for which I was Producer at the time), Frans Brüggen said of Mozart symphonies: “There is no such thing as ‘interpretation’.” While this might at first sound a trifle odd, I think after all this time I can see what he meant. 
He wanted the composer to speak
 for himself. Brüggen established
 the Orchestra of the Eighteenth
 Century in a very specific
 manner. He recruited Europe’s
 leading specialists in historically 
informed performance practice 
to make his band. It is in fact a
 combination of expert practitioners
 who are also are researchers and avid collaborators. He wanted it to be (and it still is) a sort of permanent workshop, where 
the members are always working together and listening to each other in the search 
for authentic sonorities. The goal in all this pursuit of sound colours is to allow the music to reveal itself.

Previous cycles of Beethoven symphonies have had as their star not the composer, but the conductor. Herbert von Karajan’s cycles especially come to mind of course (as good
 as they are, they are completely different in intent and certainly in effect). The Dutch critic Roland de Beer, in his excellent essay, which accompanies this new set, explains that, since the early 1980s, Brüggen had searched libraries all over Europe for evidence of exactly how orchestral players “used” the music they were performing. His conclusion after many years was that Beethoven’s music is very far from the intimidating and granitic expression we had become used to. On the contrary, Brüggen wanted to show a composer full of subtlety and surprise. Why should it not be so? There’s far more to Schubert, for example, than the cliché of the misunderstood, shy genius he is sometimes portrayed as. So it is with Beethoven.

Listening to this outstanding 2011 cycle is revelatory. Not only is there far more in this music than I have ever heard before; it is indeed full of delightful surprises and wonderful subtlety. The colours of the woodwinds in the Pastoral symphony, for example, make for truly delightful effects. The storm crackles with a swirling, windblown energy. But there’s too much in this outstanding cycle to go into detail here. The Seventh is lyrical and rambunctious, the Fifth truly exciting, and the Ninth is rousing and inspiring. The recorded sound is up to Glossa’s usual standard of excellence. The real star of this cycle is not Frans Brüggen (as I’m sure he would agree), but Ludwig van Beethoven.

Review by by Phil Carrick on March 21, 2013

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