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Beethoven: Symphonies 7 & 8 / Abbado, Vienna Philharmonic

Abbado / Wiener Philharmoniker
Release Date: 06/03/2014 
Label:  Decca   Catalog #: 002069402  
Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews



BEETHOVEN Symphonies: No. 7; No. 8. The Creatures of Prometheus: Overture Claudio Abbado, cond; Vienna PO ELOQUENCE 480 5952 (73:06)


These performances originate from the dawn of Claudio Abbado’s recording career, and as such comprise a crucial addition to his Beethoven discography. Symphony No. 7 and the Prometheus Overture date from 1966, No. 8 from 1968. They join the cycle with this Read more orchestra recorded for DG from 1986 to 1989, and the cycles with the Berlin Philharmonic in 2000 and 2001, also from DG, to give a sense of the evolution of Abbado’s interpretations.


These performances are very much of their time: weighty and full-bodied; the thread that connects them with their later brethren is Abbado’s concern for the long, singing line and his attention to inner-voice detail. In the Seventh, tempos are very much on the deliberate side, especially in the first two movements; the repeat in the first-movement Vivace section is cut, which in this case is a mercy. The jolly Presto is paced more like an Allegro, as beautifully as it is phrased, while the Allegro vivace finale is actually taken at an appropriate tempo and sounds splendid.


The performance of the Eighth, on the other hand, is a delight, marred only slightly by the cut of the repeat after the Trio in the Menuetto. Tempos are well judged even by today’s standard, and the light-hearted joy of this symphonic gem comes through in every movement. The overture makes for a decidedly welcome encore. The characteristically bright-hued and vivid Decca sound has been faithfully captured in these transfers, with very little noise of tape hiss.


This disc will be most welcome to devotees of Claudio Abbado, but it can be a valuable addition to anyone’s Beethoven collection. (And incidentally, the program notes are by Fanfare ’s own Ray Tuttle—further incentive!)


FANFARE: Christopher Abbot
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Works on This Recording

1.
Symphony no 7 in A major, Op. 92 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1811-1812; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 05/1966 
Venue:  Sofiensaal, Vienna, Austria 
2.
Symphony no 8 in F major, Op. 93 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1812; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 11/1968 
Venue:  Sofiensaal, Vienna, Austria 
3.
Creatures of Prometheus, Op. 43: Overture by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1800-1801; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 05/1966 
Venue:  Sofiensaal, Vienna, Austria 

Sound Samples

Symphony No.7 in A, Op.92: 1. Poco sostenuto - Vivace
Symphony No.7 in A, Op.92: 2. Allegretto
Symphony No.7 in A, Op.92: 3. Presto - Assai meno presto
Symphony No.7 in A, Op.92: 4. Allegro con brio
Symphony No.8 in F, Op.93: 1. Allegro vivace e con brio
Symphony No.8 in F, Op.93: 2. Allegretto scherzando
Symphony No.8 in F, Op.93: 3. Tempo di menuetto
Symphony No.8 in F, Op.93: 4. Allegro vivace
The Creatures of Prometheus, Op.43: Overture

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