Author Topic: Beethoven Symphonies on Record  (Read 31352 times)

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MN Dave

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies on Record
« Reply #20 on: February 09, 2010, 06:55:31 AM »
Yes, you and M, actually. What a pair! ;D

My pleasure. I want everyone to be able to enjoy the 9th as much as I do. :)

8)

It's my favorite symphony, so no problems with that here.

Franco

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies on Record
« Reply #21 on: February 09, 2010, 07:00:17 AM »
Aside form the Karajan 1970s set and the Bernstein/Vienna - the ones I am currently enjoying are Jarvi and Dausgaard

For me, the older sets are dramatic in a serious manner, whereas Dausgaard and Parvi are dramatic in a surprise way - which I think is more appropriate to these works.  I have felt that Beethoven has suffered from to much gravitas imposed on the music, I am aware of this especially in the symphonies, so I am happy that the newer recordings are taking a lighter more spirited approach.

I plan completing the sets of Dausgaard and Parvi discs, since they exemplify this approach.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2010, 08:39:15 AM by Franco »

George

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies on Record
« Reply #22 on: February 09, 2010, 07:10:59 AM »
Me too, Dave. If you go shopping for more 9ths, and like that stylistic grouping, let me suggest 2 excellent additions to you: Kletzki/Czech PO and Jochum/Concertgebouw.  Both from <>1968. Of your 3 mentioned, I particularly like the Wand. :)

Wand's RCA set is my favorite.

I also like Szell's and Barenboim's. They complement each other well, with Wand occupying a space (interpretivey) somewhere in between.

I also love HvK's 1963 set on DG.

Offline dirkronk

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies on Record
« Reply #23 on: February 09, 2010, 07:50:10 AM »
There is a 9th (which I haven't heard), but it wasn't released for Decca but for Westminster and later on CD from DG in their Westminster series, out of print now.



I think there was a box of all nine from Japanese Decca/Universal at one point. Not completely sure though.

I have the Monteux 9th on CD but also on original 2-LP vinyl. Got the set many years ago...but long after I'd becme a fan of the Monteux/LSO Beethovens (2, 4 & 7 in particular). As a result, I had VERY high hopes for the 9th, but was ultimately disappointed. It ain't Papa Monteux's best IMO. Interp aside, there's a kind of odd balance in the recording, and it was the gatefold album notes of the vinyl version that explained this to me. Apparently the recording set-up not only separated 1st and 2nd violins, but also seated the orchestra on a specially raked stage AND repositioned some of the instruments compared to a more "standard" orchestral layout. Don't recall how the singers/chorus were positioned. (Hey, I'm going by memory...ALWAYS an iffy thing. I can try digging my album off the shelves when I get home if anyone wants more specifics.)

If you want to sample Monteux's best in Beethoven, do go for the 2,4,5,7 set. And Drasko is absolutely right: it's the 2, 4 and 7 that are the top tier items here...the 4th and 7th being my own top choices among studio recordings of the stereo era. The LSO plays with real verve and the Decca recording engineers also did a splendid job. The recordings were originally done under contract for RCA and released in the US on the budget Victrola label LPs; honestly, if you can find r-e-a-l-l-y clean vinyl originals -- maroon label or even the later pink label from the "dynaflop" era -- those probably offer the best representation of the original analog sonics. Ownership later reverted to Decca, who released them on both London and Decca budget LPs and, during the past two decades or so, CDs. More recently, as in the last 10 years, high-ticket reissues on 180- or 200-gram vinyl have been available, with reproductions of the RCA Victrola original album covers; nice clean surfaces, but IMO not particularly preferable to originals for sonics. And most collectors will opt for the 2-CD pack anyway, I'm sure.

FWIW,

Dirk

Offline Peregrine

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies on Record
« Reply #24 on: February 09, 2010, 08:06:52 AM »
Wand's RCA set is my favorite.

Yep, mine as well I think. Beautifully recorded and played. Think I'll spin some of it when I get home later!
Yes, we have no bananas

Renfield

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies on Record
« Reply #25 on: February 09, 2010, 08:28:48 AM »

If I could suggest to Renfield to edit the title subject line of this forum thread Beethoven Symphonies on Record
 
It is confusing in that it sounds like you are asking for vinyl record versions of Beethoven Symphonies
(unless that is actually what you are seeking)

'On record' was intended to denote an open discussion of the recorded history of Beethoven's symphonies, vs. some sort of stylistic or historical/modern divide. LPs could even be brought up, within the context, as by dirkronk just now.

Making this, by design, more a discussion thread than a recommendation thread, though the concepts are intrinsically connected. :)

(In other words, it's perfectly fine to exchange recommendations - that's part of what we're all here for!

But I nonetheless wanted as broad a subject line as possible.)


Hi Renfield!

Are these the same performances that were offered on Naxos as part of the Tocanini Concert Edition and/or on RCA Gold Seal as part of the Arturo Toscanini collection? If so, how do the transfers compare?

Can I also ask how these performances compare to his later ones on RCA?

Hi George.

Regarding the Naxos series, I believe they are. And though I've not heard the Naxos versions myself, I have gathered from hearsay that the Music & Arts release has the best remastering this cycle has been afforded so far.

I'm not sure if RCA has ever released these, but I'm pretty certain they released the 1952 cycle in four (?) volumes, as part of the Arturo Toscanini Collection. Which would lead me to expect they didn't also release the 1939 cycle in the same series.


Performance-wise, Toscanini's conducting is noticeably more confident here, than in 1952: it sounds less like being pushed to '11', and more like a skillful etching of the dynamics of the symphonies (especially the earlier ones) that involves impact, but does not obsessively revolve around it. Frankly, and even though I also love the 1952 cycle, I think Toscanini was starting to get a little old for what he was trying to achieve, by that point. But, I'll hasten to add, you can only tell by comparing him to himself! ;)

The 1939 Eroica, for instance, blows the 1952 out of the water. And even though both Pastorals are great, the earlier one feels a little more balanced, even if it's possibly a bit faster than the 1952 version. The 1939 9th is also much happier, '9thier' than in 1952.

Holden is right about the 7th, though: in neither cycle does it work as well as the rest; most especially when we have that staggering Toscanini concert with the NYPO on Naxos Historical that I've recommended in the past, to compare it with.

(For the record, I was happy to confirm my suspicion that Vänskä would come close to that one, stylistically. But not quite 'up there'.)



All this with the proviso of highly restricted sound, very good for 1939, but so very far away from 1952. :(

George

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies on Record
« Reply #26 on: February 09, 2010, 09:44:17 AM »
Hi George.

Regarding the Naxos series, I believe they are. And though I've not heard the Naxos versions myself, I have gathered from hearsay that the Music & Arts release has the best remastering this cycle has been afforded so far.

Given that Ward Marston mastered the 1939 performances for RCA, I would be very surprised if the Music and Arts masterings were better. Perhaps they found a better source?

Quote
I'm not sure if RCA has ever released these, but I'm pretty certain they released the 1952 cycle in four (?) volumes, as part of the Arturo Toscanini Collection. Which would lead me to expect they didn't also release the 1939 cycle in the same series.


I think they did. It was a multi volume set. My two Beethoven CDs from that set are numbered volume 25 and 26 or something like that.

Quote
Performance-wise, Toscanini's conducting is noticeably more confident here, tha an in 1952: it sounds less like being pushed to '11

Yes, I hear that as well and though I like the few 1939 performances I have heard from Toscanini, I still prefer Szell for this style of conducting

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies on Record
« Reply #27 on: February 09, 2010, 09:50:58 AM »
Yes, I hear that as well and though I like the few 1939 performances I have heard from Toscanini, I still prefer Szell for this style of conducting




Sarge

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Mahler, you ought to go see it.
he was as f*cked-up as you are."
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Scarpia

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies on Record
« Reply #28 on: February 10, 2010, 08:32:31 AM »
I don't see any mention of Vanska.  His SACD cycle is available for a very reasonable price, in excerpts it seems lively, but perhaps too light for my taste.  Any comments?

DavidW

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies on Record
« Reply #29 on: February 10, 2010, 08:44:49 AM »
I don't see any mention of Vanska.  His SACD cycle is available for a very reasonable price, in excerpts it seems lively, but perhaps too light for my taste.  Any comments?

I've heard the 9th, thought at the time that it was a little dry but well played.  But maybe I'm too picky.

Renfield

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies on Record
« Reply #30 on: February 10, 2010, 09:43:08 AM »
I don't see any mention of Vanska.  His SACD cycle is available for a very reasonable price, in excerpts it seems lively, but perhaps too light for my taste.  Any comments?

Interestingly, of all the contemporary Beethoven cycles I have and have heard, it's Vänskä that I have felt most approaches Toscanini purely in terms of rhythmic articulation, even if the former opts for a more dynamically 'reserved' sound.

And indeed, even that to a lesser degree than one might expect, doing a side-by-side comparison.

:'(

;)


Much like this post, Vänskä's Beethoven is of the 'less is more' school. But no one modern beats his ear for rhythm, IMO.

Edit: That I've heard. Maybe Järvi does, for all the excitement about him!

Scarpia

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies on Record
« Reply #31 on: February 10, 2010, 09:52:43 AM »
:'(

;)


Much like this post, Vänskä's Beethoven is of the 'less is more' school. But no one modern beats his ear for rhythm, IMO.

Edit: That I've heard. Maybe Järvi does, for all the excitement about him!

Sorry, when I search for Vanska it does not find Vänskä.

Offline Bunny

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies on Record
« Reply #32 on: February 10, 2010, 10:01:50 AM »
Sorry, when I search for Vanska it does not find Vänskä.

It does on Google.  Try Osmo Vänskä; or Osmo Vanska.  They both show the same person.

Renfield

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies on Record
« Reply #33 on: February 10, 2010, 11:03:05 AM »
Sorry, when I search for Vanska it does not find Vänskä.

It's him you should apologise to, for looking him up under the wrong name. :P

Besides the joke, though, all forum search engines I've ever used have been a pain in the backside over things like that.

Scarpia

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies on Record
« Reply #34 on: February 10, 2010, 01:43:50 PM »
I must say, stuck at home in the Blizzard, I've had a bit of a revelation.  Last week I listened to Beethoven Symphony No. 3 By Immerseel and his HIP band.  Although I've enjoyed other selections form this set, I was bored by the Eroica.  Today, I put on Barenboim's recording with the Staatskapel Berlin.  What a difference!  Immerseel's funeral march clocks in at just over 13 minutes, it left me wondering when it would end.  Barenboim's is just over 18 minutes, and I was savoring every generously performed note of it.  The impression from the other three movements was similar.  Immerseel's band was straining just to play the notes, and imposing a strictly defined aesthetic on this music, while Barenboim and his superb ensemble were finding exquisite insights in every bar.  There were certainly liberties and indulgences taken, but I was, by and large, convinced.

I am a serious devotee of HIP, I think we need to know what composers expected to hear when they created their music.  But we can't be limited by that.   Full modern orchestra with a creative conductor can find things in the music that even the composer didn't imagine could be realized. 

And I will be looking for more recordings by Barenboim and the Staatskapelle Berlin.

Offline MichaelRabin

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies on Record
« Reply #35 on: February 10, 2010, 02:35:11 PM »

So I can't recommend a full set of the LvB symphonies. I've heard and bought many and this is what I've kept.

Andre Cluytens - BPO

Holden - there is only the Cluytens 6th around on Testament. Is it one of the greatest 6th around - besides B Walter and K Bohm?



Scarpia

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies on Record
« Reply #36 on: February 10, 2010, 02:54:45 PM »
there is only the Cluytens 6th around on Testament. Is it one of the greatest 6th around - besides B Walter and K Bohm?

All the Cluytens Beethoven symphonies are available.



They are very good.
http://www.amazon.com/Beethoven-9-Symphonies-Box-Set/dp/B000FOTHC8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1265842170&sr=8-1

Offline Holden

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies on Record
« Reply #37 on: February 11, 2010, 12:28:19 AM »


This is a separate recording to the one from the complete set he recorded for EMI between 1958 and 1960. I've heard it and it is as good as the one he recorded for the complete cycle but is not necessarily superior or inferior in any way. It was played with the BPO  in 1957 and was probably what inspired them to ask him to record the complete set of 9. Cluytens was very consistent as a conductor and this performance doesn't vary much from the one recorded for EMI. Both can be considered to be among the 'great' LvB 6ths along with Bruno Walter's recordings.
Cheers

Holden

Offline Tyson

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies on Record
« Reply #38 on: February 11, 2010, 01:04:01 PM »
Mackerras' most recent cycle remains my favorite.  Although, the DSD remastering of the Szell set with Cleveland has been a revelation.  In previous releases it sounded intense, but lacking in finesse and "feeling".  That is now rectified.  The new remastering reveals a greater dynamic range (ie, real pianissimo's), and a range of color and shading that were never even hinted at before.  If you liked Szell before, I bet you will love the latest iteration.
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DarkAngel

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies on Record
« Reply #39 on: February 11, 2010, 01:27:23 PM »
Mackerras' most recent cycle remains my favorite.  Although, the DSD remastering of the Szell set with Cleveland has been a revelation.  In previous releases it sounded intense, but lacking in finesse and "feeling".  That is now rectified.  The new remastering reveals a greater dynamic range (ie, real pianissimo's), and a range of color and shading that were never even hinted at before.  If you liked Szell before, I bet you will love the latest iteration.

Tyson I have the highest regard for MacKerras/SCO/Hyperion set............but I wish the 9th was also done with SCO, the switch to another orchestra leaves me wondering what if............