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Beethoven: The Symphonies / Simon Rattle, Vienna Philharmonic

Beethoven / Rattle,Simon
Release Date: 10/09/2012 
Label:  Emi Classics   Catalog #: 15624   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Barbara BonneyThomas HampsonBirgit RemmertKurt Streit
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic OrchestraCity of Birmingham Symphony Chorus
Number of Discs: 5 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Last May, in a series of live concerts in the Golden Hall of Vienna's Musikverein, a journey unique in the Wiener Philharmoniker's long and distinguished history reached its conclusion. This thrilling set of symphonies is the fruit of that journey.

The Wiener Philharmoniker has been playing Beethoven since its foundation in 1842 (its first concert began with the Seventh Symphony) but rarely has it been invited to re-evaluate the mighty Nine, the cornerstone of its symphonic repertory, as assiduously or with such fervour as has been the case these last six years.

Sir Simon is a modernist with a sense of history; the Wiener Philharmoniker is an institution with an instinct for survival as a purveyor of bespoke
Read more performances of a repertory in which it has few rivals. 'It's a very intelligent, very curious orchestra full of wonderful musicians,' says Sir Simon, who won an historic agreement to keep together the same 'team' of musicians from the orchestra's extensive roster of personnel.

Concert 'cycles' of the Nine are far from common. In the first 150 years of its history, the orchestra gave four such cycles: under Weingartner in Vienna in 1918, with Furtwängler in London in 1948 and Schuricht in Lyons in 1956, and under Abbado in Paris, New York and Tokyo in 1987-8. There were also recorded cycles under Schmidt-Isserstedt, Böhm, Bernstein and Abbado. All were respectfully received, though none has gone down in history as a 'landmark' set. Landmark recorded cycles of the Nine can probably be numbered on the fingers of one hand: Weingartner's in the 1930s, Toscanini's and Klemperer's in the 1950s, Karajan's in the 1960s. Latterly, the authenticists moved in, the 'frontiersmen' as Sir Roger Norrington likes to call them. Grafting new ideas onto old root-stock has been Sir Simon's ambition and the orchestra's: a formidable undertaking by a formidable body of musicians. A new landmark beckons. '

Wit, humour, unpredictability, love, spirituality: such is the stuff of Beethoven's music as Rattle perceives it, though he is in no doubt that where the first eight symphonies inhabit one world, the Ninth, written much later, is something else. 'When we played the symphonies in sequence, it came as a huge shock.' It's a work which requires expanded forces, and a more flexible interpretative style. A pragmatist for whom listening, learning and experimenting is a way of life, Rattle was happy to oblige.

The recordings were made 'live' after numerous performances of individual symphonies and complete cycles in Tokyo, Berlin and Vienna. Rattle believes that a live performance has its own rhythm. The conductor 'channelling his unrelenting energy' was something audiences and the critics noticed in the Musikverein last May. Rattle left all landmark conductors behind him, as he unleashed then tamed, shaped, and painted the musical forces to be heard here...[Beethoven] certainly has his best advocate in Simon Rattle, claimed Austria's Standard after one of the recorded concerts last year.
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Works on This Recording

1.
Symphony no 1 in C major, Op. 21 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1800; Vienna, Austria 
2.
Symphony no 2 in D major, Op. 36 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1801-1802; Vienna, Austria 
3.
Symphony no 3 in E flat major, Op. 55 "Eroica" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1803; Vienna, Austria 
4.
Symphony no 4 in B flat major, Op. 60 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1806; Vienna, Austria 
5.
Symphony no 5 in C minor, Op. 67 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1807-1808; Vienna, Austria 
6.
Symphony no 6 in F major, Op. 68 "Pastoral" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1808; Vienna, Austria 
7.
Symphony no 7 in A major, Op. 92 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1811-1812; Vienna, Austria 
8.
Symphony no 8 in F major, Op. 93 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1812; Vienna, Austria 
9.
Symphony no 9 in D minor, Op. 125 "Choral" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Barbara Bonney (Soprano), Thomas Hampson (Baritone), Birgit Remmert (Contralto (Female alto)),
Kurt Streit (Tenor)
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  City of Birmingham Symphony Chorus
Period: Classical 
Written: 1822-1824; Vienna, Austria 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  2 Customer Reviews )
 An exiting interpretation April 18, 2014 By Alex Hansa (Yandina, Queensland) See All My Reviews "Simon Rattle is one of my favourite conductors. Here he extracts a wonderful interpretation of the Beethoven Symphonies. Sometimes the sound is very low only to build up the classic Beethoven crescendo. A very enjoyable set." Report Abuse
 Listening Pleasure November 7, 2012 By Linda R. (Hastings, Victoria) See All My Reviews "This is a superb set of discs. All the Beethoven symphonies in one place. Rattle's direction is tight and the resulting music is wonderful. The symphonies themselves bring back so many memories for me, from childhood onwards. We were raised with music of all types, played on stereos my father made. I curled up on the couch, turned the lights off, a few candles and I was transported to various times, places and people in my life." Report Abuse
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