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Beethoven: Symphonies 1 & 6 / Rudin, Musica Viva

Beethoven / Musica Viva Chamber Orch Moscow / Rudi
Release Date: 05/11/2010 
Label:  Fuga Libera   Catalog #: 564   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Alexander Rudin
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 6 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

BEETHOVEN Symphonies: Nos. 1; 1 6, “Pastoral 2” Alexander Rudin, cond; Musica Viva CO FUGA LIBERA FUG564 (66:20) Live: Moscow 2 11/14/2007; 1 4/15/2008

This very attractive live recording of Beethoven symphonies is performed by a group variously named Musica Viva, Musica Viva Read more Orchestra Moscow, and the Moscow State Academy Chamber Orchestra; the last is apparently an honorific, an indication of the status accorded this very accomplished group of young musicians under the direction (since 1988) of cellist Alexander Rudin.

The performance of the First Symphony doesn’t quite give the impression of the “shock of the new” that one feels with Paavo Järvi and his Bremen band on RCA, but that’s not necessarily a criticism. This performance is similar to, and comparable with, that of Harnoncourt and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe (Teldec/Warner): well-judged tempos, authoritative conducting, and sharply etched playing. The only minor blemish is the cut in the Scherzo after the Trio, a not uncommon practice.

The “Pastoral” is taken at a uniformly brisk clip until the last movement, but the tempos don’t compromise the integrity of the orchestral execution. Rubato in small, carefully managed bits helps to ease the pace in the first movement, and there is an almost beatific calm to the stroll by the brook. The dance in the third movement is very fast indeed, but the musicians play with a tremendous sense of brio ; the storm that follows is furious and brief. Rudin relaxes the momentum of the previous two movements in a respectful finale wherein the sense of thanksgiving is both heartfelt and celebratory.

The sound is little short of spectacular. Closely focused and yet spacious, full-bodied and detailed, it surpasses the Teldec production and is the equal of many two-channel SACD productions (including Järvi’s). The disc is packaged with a lavish catalog of available CDs, but no program booklet; the Fuga Libera Web site pictures only the CD and its contents. See musicaviva.ru for information about the artists.

For those seeking fresh-sounding, vital performances of these two particular works, I can’t recommend this CD too highly. Seek it out.

FANFARE: Christopher Abbot
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Works on This Recording

Symphony no 1 in C major, Op. 21 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Alexander Rudin
Period: Classical 
Written: 1800; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 04/15/2008 
Venue:  Live  State House Of Broadcasting And Sound Re 
Length: 25 Minutes 5 Secs. 
Symphony no 6 in F major, Op. 68 "Pastoral" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Alexander Rudin
Written: 1808 
Date of Recording: 11/14/2007 
Venue:  Live  Moscow's Conservatory Great Concert Hall 
Length: 39 Minutes 59 Secs. 

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