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Symphony Nos 3 & 8 (Hybr) Hybrid SACD, SACD

Price: £22.37 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Audio CD (27 Jun 2006)
  • Please Note: Requires SACD-compatible hardware
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Hybrid SACD, SACD
  • Label: Bis
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 669,624 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Sceptic a la M. Teste on 7 Feb 2007
It is one of the ironies of musical history that the Eighth Symphony is frequenly overlooked and even termed a 'small work' as it comes between the Seventh and Ninth. Under any other circumstances it would never have been misperceived as such a mild and unassuming work. Nothing could be further than the reality! this is the most dynamic and compact of works. If I recall rightly it was Stravinsky's favourite work although whether he meant this or not is another question as he liked to be 'playful' in his opinions....

The outer movements are massive but they also take musical humour and irony to new heights. For example, the imperious, heavily accented octave figure that ends the exposition of the first movement and which is heard in the low strings [and goes on to play such a prominent part in the development] comes back in the finale as part of the recurring rondo 'group' [as opposed to rondo theme], but, it comes back on timpanis and basoons doubled [!] and with a distinctly different, downright comic rythm of unaccented quavers. The aspect of repeated rythmic figures is the entire point of the second movement where they are taken to imitate a metronome! - and around this mechanical artifice [years before Ligeti, a comic machine piece!] Beethoven weaves a transparent texture that could have been the soundtrack to A Midsummer's Night's Dream.

Enough! Regarding the performance, the clarity is remarkable. The first movement builds to the most powerful of climaxes in which the opening figure is played in the high violins and the low strings with an accent shift. I have never, ever, not even once, heard a recording in which you distinctly hear both voices until I listened to this recording. Even on period instrument orchestras I have not encountered such clarity.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Tomfrom66 on 6 Mar 2008
I recently compared this performance of the Eroica to the 1950's Otto Klemperer disc (EMI mono).

From a recording point of view, of course, it's totally unfair, but the performance has stood the test of time. Klemperer's tempi have been described as 'somewhat glacial', but I think the funeral march can stand it, indeed many 'period' performances make it sound perfunctuary to my ears.

But if you want a state-of-the-art recording plus performance to match, look no further than this one.

The other reviewer has said it all really: I felt, at last, that the Eighth has been lifted to the same stature as the Eroica.

I think its the 'bite' that that makes these performances stand out. I felt Beethoven himself was on the podium.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 12 reviews
25 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Same proficiency, same problem 29 Jun 2006
By Ryan Richards - Published on Amazon.com
After hearing Vanska's interpretations of Beethoven's Fourth and Fifth Symphonies last year, I got exactly what I expected with this follow-up effort. Vanska's claim to fame with his last disc was absolute orchestral precision à la George Szell, and he brings it to bear in this disc as well: very rarely, if ever, have I heard an orchestra so technically proficient and musically aware as the Minnesota Orchestra is here. Pianissimos are almost silent and fortissimos ring out. Every member of the orchestra hits each note dead-on and with lockstep precision. The music has well-judged tempi and a real sense of flow; many conductors fall into the trap of making Beethoven symphonies sound like a series of choppy episodes, but Vanska expertly molds everything into one coherent "big picture." So there's no lack of skill here. The problem I have with this CD is the same problem I had with Vanska's last Beethoven outing: no matter how intense the orchestra gets, it never sounds like Vanska is quite letting the reins go. There's an ever-so-slightly restrained quality to these interpretations, an overarching feel of politeness where none is needed. This isn't apparent when listening to this CD by itself, but compare this Eroica to Thomas Dausgaard's new Eroica on the Simax label to understand what sort of hell-for-leather fire a conductor can wring out of this symphony. Despite this small flaw, the technical proficiency and sense of musicality, the shaping of musical episodes, is beyond reproach with this CD, and so I give it a qualified, four-and-a-half-star recommendation. But it doesn't supplant my Szell, Dohnányi, and now Dausgaard recordings of one or both of these works.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Very Refreshing 29 May 2007
By MasterG - Published on Amazon.com
Anyone criticizing this recording because it doesn't have the fire or intensity of a Karajan or Furtwangler or whatever conductor is missing the point. Osmo Vanska was initially reluctant to put out a Beethoven cycle precisely because there were already so many great recordings out there and those recordings pretty much said it all. He only agreed to do his own Beethoven because he felt he could bring a fresh perspective to it. In that regard, he is highly successful, and the praise these recordings have earned is well-deserved.

The sound Vanska favors here is much leaner and technically clean than many other performances, and the dynamics seem to leap out at you when you least expect it. The musicality of these performances is helped immensely by a total commitment by the musicians of the excellent Minnesota Orchestra. The intensity in these recordings comes from within the sound rather from everyone just playing with a lush and romantic tone.

That being said, however, I have to admit I do miss some of the sonic weight and drive of other performances. Perhaps it has something to do with the recording - the winds usually sound kind of muted to me, which is not very characteristic of Orchestra Hall in which all the sections of the orchestra come through loud and clear.

In any case, if you're just looking for another version of these symphonies that sounds like everything else you're used to then you might as well not bother with this. But a more thoughtful and committed performance you'll not find.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Overpriced and Overrated 7 Aug 2009
By Scott E. Peterman - Published on Amazon.com
This is the only disc that I own in this cycle, and I shall not be purchasing any of the others. While these performances are good and well recorded, they simply do not approach, let alone surpass, the performance of these symphonies by Paavo Järvi conducting the Bremen German Chamber Philharmonic. If you think Vänskä and the Minnesota Orchestra are something special, wait until you hear Järvi and his Germans. Järvi is better recorded, better performed, and cheaper.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
High Performance Machine 14 Aug 2007
By Christopher OBrien - Published on Amazon.com
This orchestra as lead by one Osmo Vanska is upon first impressions on mean, lean fighting machine that performs this music much like a Ferrari would handle the road...with the utmost grace, flair and precision to be found anywhere. Technically, these folks nailed it; however there is a degree of warmth that I find myself longing for and can be found in the cycles of Blomstedt or Barenboim. I found those cycles to be transcendent and almost spiritual affairs if such a comment can be said about these proceedings. I put on the Barenboim, Blomstedt and now my Vanska in quick succession to compare and I found myself moved to a greater degree by the Barenboim and Blomstedt readings. That being said, and yes I do find these readings to be emotionally on the cool side, and a little too much for my tastes, these performances are incredibly exciting and will thrill the listener. I am sure that seeing these performances live under Vanska's baton must have been intense and exhilarating. I would like to have taken adrenaline levels immediately following the performance. But I do need my Beethoven to possess deeper undercurrents that are subliminal in their presence and are hinted at through the overall shape of the sound. Meaning that all the details are there with these performances but the shake your soul to the core experience is not. If you do have an SACD player, as do I, and you have some extra-money to burn then take a look at these readings because they are impressive, and the sound is absolutely superb. Just listen to the low strings in the mix. Incredible. Otherwise I would recommend dropping the money on Barenboim's complete cycle, which is absolutely, knock it out of the park, stunning.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Only 2nd to being there Live! 16 Nov 2006
By Michael Thompson - Published on Amazon.com
I was fortunate enough to be in attendance to the Minnesota Orchestra preformance of Beethoven's Symphony no 3, and this SACD is about as close as you can get. Absolutely unbeliveable sound quality. One of the must have SACD's for any collection.
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