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Beethoven: 9 Symphonies / Bruggen, Orchestra Of The 18th C


Release Date: 01/28/2010 
Label:  Philips   Catalog #: 442156   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Eike Wilm SchulteAnthony Rolfe JohnsonJard Van NesLynne Dawson
Conductor:  Frans Brüggen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the 18th CenturyGulbenkian Foundation Chorus Lisbon
Number of Discs: 5 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 5 Hours 58 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Questing, iconoclastic, revelatory, monumental, and ultimately heaven-storming.

'Correctness', writes Alfred Brendel, 'tells us: this is how it has to be!... Boldness presents us with a surprising and overwhelming realisation: what we had thought impossible becomes true!' Such principles inform Frans Brüggen's questing, iconoclastic and revelatory Beethoven cycle, recorded between 1984 and 1992. Brüggen seems less pedantic in matters of textual fidelity than either Gardiner or Norrington, yet more assertive than Hogwood, revealing affinities with Harnoncourt's heroic musical dramaturgy. This enthrallingly logical, authentic traversal offers superbly engineered performances of patrician insight and substance.
Read more Brüggen's players employ gut strings, period woodwind, natural brass and hide-headed timpani (and bass drum in the Ninth Symphony) struck with hard sticks. First and second violins are seated antiphonally, the established practice in Beethoven's Vienna. Individual performances are calculated to astonish: leonine, alert and discursive, each is propelled with a determination reflecting the ferocity of Beethoven's creative vision. Tempi are brisk, though seldom controversial; expectations of a radical tempo for the Trio of the Scherzo in No. 7, for example, will be disappointed. Weber considered Beethoven 'ripe for the madhouse' after hearing this symphony, a maelstrom whose violence seems fearfully modernistic in Brüggen's hands. The Eroica, its defiant, inflammatory rhetoric all the more telling for divided violins and an eschewal of von Billow's unseemly trumpet emendations, is superb. Like Nos 1,2, 5,7 and 8, the Third was recorded live. Small lapses of ensemble and intonation seem trifling, given the galvanic authority of the whole experience. That audacious horn trio in the Scherzo, doubly challenging on valveless instruments, is played with jaw-dropping ease.

BrüggenBrüggen's ebullient accounts of Nos 1 and 2 are as venturesome as the rule-breaking dominant seventh chord which launches the First. The Fourth, its nebulous chromatic introduction seemingly incapable of spawning any emotional upswing, demonstrates another virtue of this set - every dramatic contrast is maximised, as with the cathartic arrival of the vigorous Allegro vivace first subject. The same pertains in fuller measure to the triumphant finale of the Fifth Symphony; argued, forged, and finally won amid consuming fervour.

The Pastoral, that most obviously programmatic of Beethoven symphonies, sounds a lone note of disappointment: pictorial realism is underplayed. Few would link the Eighth with the innovative aspirations of Nos 7 and 9, yet the momentum and power of Brüggen's reading here suggests otherwise. But if popular misconceptions remain to be shattered, the most testing encounter awaits, in the extended musical, philosophical and humanistic pronouncements of the Choral Symphony. Brüggen succeeds, as far as anyone can, perhaps, in evincing the spirit, if not the precise letter of the Ninth, in this monumental and ultimately heaven-storming reading. Highly recommended, particularly to those seeking a valid alternative commentary.

-- Michael Jameson, BBC Music Magazine
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Works on This Recording

1.
Symphony no 1 in C major, Op. 21 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Frans Brüggen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the 18th Century
Period: Classical 
Written: 1800; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 05/1985 
Venue:  Live  Vredenburg, Utrecht, The Netherlands 
Length: 32 Minutes 0 Secs. 
2.
Symphony no 2 in D major, Op. 36 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Frans Brüggen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the 18th Century
Period: Classical 
Written: 1801-1802; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 06/1988 
Venue:  Live  Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, Netherlands 
Length: 32 Minutes 0 Secs. 
3.
Symphony no 3 in E flat major, Op. 55 "Eroica" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Frans Brüggen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the 18th Century
Period: Classical 
Written: 1803; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 11/1987 
Venue:  Live  Nijmegen, The Netherlands 
Length: 49 Minutes 16 Secs. 
4.
Symphony no 4 in B flat major, Op. 60 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Frans Brüggen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the 18th Century
Period: Classical 
Written: 1806; Vienna, Austria 
5.
Symphony no 5 in C minor, Op. 67 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Frans Brüggen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the 18th Century
Period: Classical 
Written: 1807-1808; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 07/1991 
Venue:  Live  Vredenburg, Utrecht, The Netherlands 
6.
Symphony no 6 in F major, Op. 68 "Pastoral" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Frans Brüggen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the 18th Century
Period: Classical 
Written: 1808; Vienna, Austria 
7.
Symphony no 7 in A major, Op. 92 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Frans Brüggen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the 18th Century
Period: Classical 
Written: 1811-1812; Vienna, Austria 
8.
Symphony no 8 in F major, Op. 93 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Frans Brüggen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the 18th Century
Period: Classical 
Written: 1812; Vienna, Austria 
9.
Symphony no 9 in D minor, Op. 125 "Choral" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Eike Wilm Schulte (Bass), Anthony Rolfe Johnson (Tenor), Jard Van Nes (Alto),
Lynne Dawson (Soprano)
Conductor:  Frans Brüggen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gulbenkian Foundation Chorus Lisbon,  Orchestra of the 18th Century
Period: Classical 
Written: 1822-1824; Vienna, Austria 
10.
Coriolan Overture in C minor, Op. 62 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Frans Brüggen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the 18th Century
Period: Classical 
Written: 1807; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 11/1991 
Venue:  Live  Vredenburg, Utrecht, The Netherlands 
11.
Egmont, Op. 84: Overture by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Frans Brüggen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the 18th Century
Period: Classical 
Written: 1810; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 11/1991 
Venue:  Live  Vredenburg, Utrecht, The Netherlands 

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