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Live at Carnegie Hall - Beethoven: Symphonies 5 & 7 / Gardiner, ORR

Beethoven / Gardiner / Orr
Release Date: 10/30/2012 
Label:  Soli Deo Gloria Records   Catalog #: 717   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

BEETHOVEN Symphonies Nos. 5 and 7 John Eliot Gardiner, cond; Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique SOLI DEO GLORIA 717 (72:19) Live: New York 11/16/2011

What is it about a live performance that is always thrilling in some respects? Is it the nervousness of the players? Is it that sudden rush of adrenaline that one gets when on stage? Is it the excitement of the audience—albeit an incredibly quiet one on that certain New York evening in Carnegie Hall when this was taped—that brings the sense of Read more expectation and an “in the moment” attitude? Perhaps it is all of these things: Luckily for us, it was all recorded for posterity to enjoy. I have owned John Eliot Gardiner’s recordings of the complete cycle of Beethoven symphonies for some time and am a fan of a lot of his work, whether I always agree with it or not (there is not an artist out there with whom one can always agree!), yet inevitably the first question that comes to many people’s minds when they see familiar repertoire recorded more than once, is why do it again when one has done it so well before? I think that the choice to record this concert live is reason enough. The recital begins with the Seventh Symphony; a wise choice as there is little which could successfully follow the Fifth Symphony’s triumphant conclusion. The dramatic opening of the Seventh is achieved beautifully as the soft and sustained woodwind lines are violently interrupted by the tutti orchestra: The textures are remarkably transparent and the articulation clean and crisp; the orchestral surges are palpable. The Allegretto movement has a wonderful sense of growth through its eight and a half minutes, the opening lending a sense of gravity—of magnitude—to the whole. The mood is lightened in the following Presto. The momentum, the drive throughout this movement matches perfectly the urgency, while the Assai meno presto sections that constantly interrupt the preceding A sections maintain that nervousness which is a hallmark of this movement. The lighthearted finale leads to a rousing conclusion.

The opening of the Fifth symphony is beautifully sculpted: There is never any sense that this moment is being overdramatized at the expense of the movement’s momentum. Perhaps my only quibble is with the oboist’s rushing through the gorgeous solo that occurs in the recapitulation: I would here prefer more of a sense of agony, almost of wailing. The second movement is very articulate and well balanced: There is never a moment when I can’t hear all of the lines of music going on at the same time. This is true, especially, of the third movement: It is almost like hearing it for the first time, so full of instrumental color is this reading, so spirited and jubilant is its buildup to the final pulsating chords, which liquidate the oft heard four-note motive of this work. The only thing missing here was the cheering of an admiring audience! As for the question which began it all: Why do it again when one has done it well already? The answer must surely be that great music, performed well, is always an exciting event. And always a bit different the second time around. With superb sound, excellent balance, informative booklet notes, and first-rate performances, what’s to question? Grab it while you can. This one’s a winner.

FANFARE: Scott Noriega
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Works on This Recording

Symphony no 5 in C minor, Op. 67 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique
Period: Classical 
Written: 1807-1808; Vienna, Austria 
Symphony no 7 in A major, Op. 92 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique
Period: Classical 
Written: 1811-1812; Vienna, Austria 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 I wish I had been at this concert! January 10, 2013 By Robert L. (Scarborough, ME) See All My Reviews "Gardiner and his orchestra gave a masterful rendering of these symphonies. I wish I had been at Carnegie to hear it live, I'm sure it would have created a life-long memory. Few groups play with the emphasis on accents that Gardiner asks of his band, but they make a convincing case for this interpretation. This recording is one of those pivotal recordings that should be heard by any student of the symphony and period instrument performances. It will put all other Beethoven performances in a new context. Perhaps a little controversial, but highly recommended and essential listening." Report Abuse
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