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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The sound of the Revolution, 28 July 2012
This review is from: Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 5 & 1 (Audio CD)
Though often viewed as looking back to the age of Haydn and Mozart, Beethovens's First Symphony is in fact a revolutionary work, albeit on a smaller scale than the Eroica. Starting with the famous 'dissonant' dominant seventh chord on C, the piece leaves no doubt about its author's iconoclastic intentions. Paavo Järvi offers an ideal reading of the piece. The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen is a chamber orchestra playing on modern instruments in a historically informed playing style. They offer an ideal compromise between beauty of tone and incisiveness of rhythm: just listen to the colourful, nicely prominent winds (as in the hymn-like tune immediately before the recapitulation of the first movement), and the incisive timpani (as in the Coda of the first movement and after bar 30 of the Finale). No wonder that a contemporary critic complained that the `Harmonie' (winds and timpani) was too dominant. All in all, a performance that makes one realise what was so new and special about the piece.
Similarly, Järvi's modest forces offer optimal impact and clarity in the Fifth. The first movement is lively and dramatic - not perhaps the traditional grand idea of Fate knocking on the door, but greatly impressive because every detail of the score can be heard, and there are so many things that enliven the textures: listen for instance to the wind crescendi at bars 34 and 36, or the anapaestic interjections from the winds at bars 182 and following in the development. The Andante con moto flows by at an ideal pace and with the utmost clarity. The Scherzo is distinguished by a magnificently articulated fugato from the strings in the Trio, and by a superb transition to the Finale. As Beethoven demands, that transition remains truly pianissimo until the last few bars and then shocks the listener with a truly grand crescendo. In the Finale itself, the addition of double bassoon and trombones give added weight to the sound, and the many veru audible interjections from the piccolo (as at bars 134 and 142-3, letter D) are a special delight. This is a tremendously exciting performance.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous classical music, 6 Sep 2010
This review is from: Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 5 & 1 (Audio CD)
I purchased this CD after seeing both the orchestra and conductor at the BBC Proms. I was blown away by their professionalism and by the enthusiasm of the conductor. The CD is as good as the performance I saw and I would thoroughly recommend it to any Beethoven lovers.
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Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 5 & 1
Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 5 & 1 by Paavo Järvi (Audio CD - 2008)
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