WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Beethoven: The Symphonies / Blomstedt, Staatskapelle Dresden

Beethoven / Skd / Blomstedt
Release Date: 10/14/2008 
Label:  Berlin Classics   Catalog #: 184442  
Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Marga SchimlTheo AdamHelena DösePeter Schreier
Conductor:  Herbert Blomstedt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden StaatskapelleDresden State Opera Chorus
Number of Discs: 5 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

"The Blomstedt Beethoven cycle with the Staatskapelle Dresden has been available in many different versions – for many years as a super-budget box when Brilliant Classics licensed the recordings. Elsewhere, I bemoaned that Brilliant chose the Kurt Masur/Leipzig recordings for their “Complete Beethoven” box, instead of them, but perhaps Brilliant’s licence had already run out and the rights gone back to Berlin Classics/Edel – the successor to the GDR’s “VEB Schallplatten” (“People Owned Company – Records”). It would make sense, because Berlin Classics has now issued these recordings themselves, in a neat slim cardboard box at just a little more than the price that Brilliant asked for theirs. It has higher production value thanks to a Read more fine little booklet with good liner-notes and a short biography of Herbert Blomstedt in English and German, but no text for the last movement of the Ninth.

This Beethoven cycle is the epitome of everything that is good about “Kapellmeisterdom”. Significantly broader than Karajan’s (Blomstedt also ignores the exposition repeats), they are ‘old-Europe’ readings, steeped in the long tradition of the wonderful sounding Dresden Staatskapelle. Even if it sounds nonsensical, I find these very well recorded readings – made between 1975 and 1980 in Dresden’s St. Luke’s church – ‘spectacularly solid’ and even. There simply isn’t a weak spot in the lot – and while no single symphony might make anyone’s first choice, as a whole this is one of the ‘standard’ cycles to compete with the very best, more famous ones. By the way, I am trying to avoid the word “interpretation”, because it might insinuate the injection of overt personality on the part of Blomstedt, which is wholly absent in a way comparable to Günter Wand.

In the Seventh Symphony, Blomstedt doesn’t nearly reach the intensely driven, propulsive mood that Karajan does, but how glorious shineth its slow movement! The Fifth Symphony doesn’t start very alertly, but the immense power he packs into the work without any sense of exaggeration is terrific.

The long arch that reaches from the first to the last note in the Ninth Symphony keeps you gently smiling throughout even if you’ve listened to the work a couple too many times to still be astounded by its grandeur and original novelty. Peter Schreier and Theo Adam are ‘good enough’ and neither Helena Doese nor Marga Schiml leave room for many complaints. Throughout the set, the star is the Dresden Staatskapelle, which sound marvelous. The only qualm about sound I have is the choir, which sounds slightly veiled, and Schreier who is less to my taste here than with Karajan a few years before.

Given the price tag of the set on Brilliant, Berlin Classics’ asking price makes it no worse a deal, considering the somewhat increased production value. It is one of the finest ‘standard’ symphony sets and in its presentable, space-saving box ideal as an introduction to the symphonies – as good a first cycle as there are, without interpretive kinks leaving the listener unbiased for further exploration of more individual readings. Of its type and style of interpretation, the only modern cycle that competes is Barenboim’s (Warner) whose Beethoven of dark varnished oak is more individual, but equally rich and often as expansive."

-- Jens F Laurson, MusicWeb International
Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Symphony no 1 in C major, Op. 21 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Herbert Blomstedt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle
Period: Classical 
Written: 1800; Vienna, Austria 
2.
Symphony no 2 in D major, Op. 36 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Herbert Blomstedt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle
Period: Classical 
Written: 1801-1802; Vienna, Austria 
3.
Symphony no 3 in E flat major, Op. 55 "Eroica" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Herbert Blomstedt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle
Period: Classical 
Written: 1803; Vienna, Austria 
4.
Symphony no 4 in B flat major, Op. 60 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Herbert Blomstedt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle
Period: Classical 
Written: 1806; Vienna, Austria 
5.
Symphony no 5 in C minor, Op. 67 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Herbert Blomstedt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle
Period: Classical 
Written: 1807-1808; Vienna, Austria 
6.
Symphony no 6 in F major, Op. 68 "Pastoral" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Herbert Blomstedt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle
Period: Classical 
Written: 1808; Vienna, Austria 
7.
Symphony no 7 in A major, Op. 92 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Herbert Blomstedt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle
Period: Classical 
Written: 1811-1812; Vienna, Austria 
8.
Symphony no 8 in F major, Op. 93 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Herbert Blomstedt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle
Period: Classical 
Written: 1812; Vienna, Austria 
9.
Symphony no 9 in D minor, Op. 125 "Choral" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Marga Schiml (Mezzo Soprano), Theo Adam (Bass), Helena Döse (Soprano),
Peter Schreier (Tenor)
Conductor:  Herbert Blomstedt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle,  Dresden State Opera Chorus
Period: Classical 
Written: 1822-1824; Vienna, Austria 

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title
Review This Title Share on Facebook




YOU MUST BE A SUBSCRIBER TO LISTEN - TRY IT FREE!
Listen to all your favorite classical music for only $20/month.
Sign up for your monthly subscription service and get unlimited access to the most comprehensive digital catalog of classical music in the world - new releases. bestsellers, advanced releases and more.
Aleady a subscriber? Sign In