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The Beethoven Academy / Sperling, Cologne New Orchestra


Release Date: 08/26/2008 
Label:  Phoenix Edition   Catalog #: 107   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Ray M. WadeGerhild RombergerPeter LikaDaniel Borowski,   ... 
Conductor:  Christoph Spering
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chorus MusicusDas Neue Orchester
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Given the fame of the event involved, the sparsity of recordings reconstructing it is surprising. This double-disc set presents the music the audience would have heard on May 7, 1824, when a Beethoven "Akademie," really more of a benefit concert for the composer himself, was held in Vienna.

The concert included the world premiere of the "Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125," which featured the touching spectacle of the completely deaf Beethoven, billed as assistant conductor, beating time oblivious to the fact that the music had ended and the audience was applauding. One of the soloists plucked his sleeve and turned him around toward the crowd. The concert didn't go off without a hitch; Viennese censors
Read more protested the presentation of the mass text in a secular concert hall, which the presenters got around by billing the three movements of the "Missa Solemnis, Op. 123," as "Three Hymns." That terminology is retained on the cover of this release, which opens with the overture "Die Weihe des Hauses, Op. 124" (The Consecration of the House, written for the opening of a Viennese theater several years earlier).

The idea of putting these works together as they were heard in 1824 is a good one; the concert was notable in several ways, one of which was that the concept of art as a secular religion was indeed still new enough to be disturbing at the time to the powers that were. The performances by the Neue Orchester and Chorus Musicus of Cologne are historically informed, with period brasses and winds buzzing out from the texture. The "Missa Solemnis" selections are very strong, with a fine sense of the long line running all the way from the archaic "Et incarnatus" to the final fugue of the Credo.
,/br> The "Symphony No. 9" is more problematical, unorthodox principally in its extremely fast tempos; the opening movement loses its Wagnerian qualities, and the third movement is hard to hear as falling under the adagio rubric. The entire symphony clocks in at almost exactly an hour, with the finale, brisk but not outlandishly fast, dwarfing the other three movements in an unusual configuration, but not invalid on its face. The problem comes in the finale itself, where the fast tempo established in the first three movements is retained in the instrumental recitative at the beginning of the movement. This leads to an awkward moment when the bass enters with the same recitative material later on; he does not (luckily for him) keep to the initial tempo but rather takes it at a speed commensurate with what has just been going on in the orchestra. That doesn't quite work, and it might have been good to hear some justification for these procedures in the booklet essay instead of the rather abstract musings contained therein. Still, an intriguing item for those with large Beethoven collections. Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Missa solemnis in D major, Op. 123: Kyrie by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Ray M. Wade (Tenor), Gerhild Romberger (Mezzo Soprano), Peter Lika (Bass),
Daniel Borowski (Bass), Claudia Barainsky (Soprano)
Conductor:  Christoph Spering
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chorus Musicus,  Das Neue Orchester
Period: Classical 
Written: 1823; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 10 Minutes 34 Secs. 
2.
Missa solemnis in D major, Op. 123: Credo by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Peter Lika (Bass), Claudia Barainsky (Soprano), Daniel Borowski (Bass),
Gerhild Romberger (Mezzo Soprano), Ray M. Wade (Tenor)
Conductor:  Christoph Spering
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chorus Musicus,  Das Neue Orchester
Period: Classical 
Written: 1823; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 18 Minutes 45 Secs. 
3.
Missa solemnis in D major, Op. 123: Agnus Dei by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Claudia Barainsky (Soprano), Ray M. Wade (Tenor), Gerhild Romberger (Mezzo Soprano),
Peter Lika (Bass), Daniel Borowski (Bass)
Conductor:  Christoph Spering
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chorus Musicus,  Das Neue Orchester
Period: Classical 
Written: 1823; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 14 Minutes 53 Secs. 
4.
Die Weihe des Hauses, Op. 124 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Christoph Spering
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Das Neue Orchester
Period: Classical 
Written: 1822; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 10 Minutes 1 Secs. 
5.
Symphony no 9 in D minor, Op. 125 "Choral" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Claudia Barainsky (Soprano), Daniel Borowski (Bass), Gerhild Romberger (Mezzo Soprano),
Ray M. Wade (Tenor)
Conductor:  Christoph Spering
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chorus Musicus,  Das Neue Orchester
Period: Classical 
Written: 1822-1824; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 59 Minutes 36 Secs. 

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