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Beethoven: The Nine Symphonies / Peter Maag


Release Date: 11/19/1996 
Label:  Arts Music   Catalog #: 47370   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Amanda HalmgrinsonRuthild EngertZeger VandersteeneFriedemann Kunder
Conductor:  Peter Maag
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Padua and Veneto OrchestraAthestis Chorus
Number of Discs: 5 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 6 Hours 9 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

There is great personality and humanity in these performances. They recall those of Jochum perhaps most of all, though with a touch more vigor in the early works. Indeed, Maag does as well by Symphonies 1, 2, and 4 as just about anyone, getting surprisingly fine playing from the Orchestra di Padova e del Veneto. In the Eroica, firm timpani and careful sculpting of bass lines give the music an extra dollop of grandeur. The gaunt opening of the funeral march, with the basses really grinding out their drum rhythms, is especially memorable. Symphony No. 5 could use a more vigorous contribution from the trombones in the finale and on the whole it comes across as lightweight, while the Sixth begins slowly but builds in interest and energy as it Read more goes. The scherzo, storm, and finale form an impressively unbroken dramatic arch.

Symphony No. 7 once again benefits from Maag's careful attention to phrasing and excellent top to bottom balances. It's not as rhythmically disciplined or volcanic as the best versions, but the music dances as it must and the energy never flags. The Eighth benefits from Maag's skill as a Mozartean, and shares the same virtues as the early symphonies. This brings us to the Ninth: it begins a little bit unsteadily but it gathers momentum and interest as it goes. The scherzo sounds terrific at a fast and light tempo. Maag treats the Adagio as the late Romantic transcendental experience that Furtwängler made so familiar, and with just as much success, while the finale features enthusiastic contributions from the chorus (not the most disciplined but always musical and full of spirit) and excellent balances between voices and instruments. The soloists, none well known, are OK, and the rush to the finish line is truly uplifting.

The sonics vary with the recording venue (these are all live performances), and range from mostly excellent to a touch booming and reverberant, though they are never less then good. Maag was one of those conductors, rather like Sandor Vegh, whose personal warmth and conviction communicated itself through all of his late work, and for that reason alone he's almost always interesting and worth hearing. Though inevitably not a first recommendation, these surprisingly fine readings will appeal to collectors who seek out "interpretations"--that is, carefully considered personal viewpoints that reveal as much of the artist as of the composer while serving both equally well, and I can certainly recommend them accordingly.

--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday
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Works on This Recording

1.
Symphony no 1 in C major, Op. 21 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Peter Maag
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Padua and Veneto Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1800; Vienna, Austria 
2.
Symphony no 2 in D major, Op. 36 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Peter Maag
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Padua and Veneto Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1801-1802; Vienna, Austria 
3.
Symphony no 3 in E flat major, Op. 55 "Eroica" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Peter Maag
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Padua and Veneto Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1803; Vienna, Austria 
4.
Symphony no 4 in B flat major, Op. 60 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Peter Maag
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Padua and Veneto Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1806; Vienna, Austria 
5.
Symphony no 5 in C minor, Op. 67 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Peter Maag
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Padua and Veneto Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1807-1808; Vienna, Austria 
6.
Symphony no 6 in F major, Op. 68 "Pastoral" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Peter Maag
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Padua and Veneto Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1808; Vienna, Austria 
7.
Symphony no 7 in A major, Op. 92 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Peter Maag
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Padua and Veneto Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1811-1812; Vienna, Austria 
8.
Symphony no 8 in F major, Op. 93 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Peter Maag
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Padua and Veneto Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1812; Vienna, Austria 
9.
Symphony no 9 in D minor, Op. 125 "Choral" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Amanda Halmgrinson (Soprano), Ruthild Engert (Mezzo Soprano), Zeger Vandersteene (Tenor),
Friedemann Kunder (Bass)
Conductor:  Peter Maag
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Athestis Chorus,  Padua and Veneto Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1822-1824; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 72 Minutes 34 Secs. 

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