Notes and Editorial Reviews
No composer’s reputation has been as inflated into myth as that of Ludwig van Beethoven, and there are good grounds for this. As the ultimate definer of classical music, he perfected the models of his predecessors Haydn and Mozart with a hitherto unknown intellectual and artistic consistency, with the consequence that he wrote fewer works than these two, but his were longer and weightier and crowned by the nine symphonies. At the same time, his intense musical language (often disturbing for his contemporaries) heralded the age of Romanticism. This release of his complete symphonies features the interpretation of the WDR Sinfonieorchester and conductor Jukka-Pekka Saraste, who has established himself as one of the outstanding conductors of his generation, demonstrating remarkable musical depth and integrity. “Everything he tackles… is a success, regardless of whether it is Beethoven, Brahms, Schoenberg, or Stravinsky.” (Kolner Stadt-Anzeiger)
Unlike his more radical contemporaries, Saraste builds a profile of the composer as a reluctant revolutionary, with a dense, post-Wagnerian body of sound built up from the solid foundations of a well-defined bass section. The instincts remain sound: this is thick-set if sometimes muscle-bound Beethoven of a kind more familiar half a century ago, voiced with a lively and relaxed directorial intelligence.