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Beethoven: Symphonies 1-9 [DVD]  [NTSC]
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With this box containing all nine Beethoven Symphonies, MediciArts pays tribute to a consummate conductor, Claudio Abbado, and to his very special relationship, not only with the symphonic genius of Beethoven but also with the world class Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. When they performed and recorded all nine Beethoven Symphonies at the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome, 2001, the nationwide Italian newspaper La Repubbica simply called it 'The most wonderful symphonic cycle of the past decade.'
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Top Customer Reviews
They are vigorous, direct and rich in detail due to smaller string forces, giving a nod in the direction of period practice. Lighter and generally faster than earlier Abbado cycles but similar to the set he made for DGG in the late 90's. Slow movements flow nicely but there is plenty of pep elsewhere.
The 9th was recorded the previous year at the Philharmonie in Berlin and has a good quartet of soloists led by Karita Matilda and Thomas Moser.The finale is very well balanced, and like the rest of the set has an added intensity which wasn't present in Abbado's earlier sets.
The BPO are on top form with beautiful string tone and really lovely woodwind playing ; the Pastoral is gorgeous.
Camera shots are generally well chosen with the added option of a 'conductor camera' to show the maestro from the musicians perspective.
In all nearly seven hours of glorious music making,with both conductor and orchestra rising to the challenge and obviously enjoying it.
Please note that this review is the result of comparing the new Blu-ray set with the previous DVD set issued earlier. This review has therefore been completely re-written with that in mind and has replaced the earlier review which has now been deleted.
The new review:
Abbado has recorded this set of symphonies several times and this is his last set recorded in 2000-2001. It represents a considerable modification of his previous interpretations and this series reflects his thinking in the light of recent research into period performing practice. The set of performances is centred around the Del Mar edition which is the latest thinking on the subject and is based on Beethoven's final markings. It is generally thought to be Abbado's finest whole set.
As mentioned in the introductory paragraph above, Abbado uses the new score prepared by Jonathan Del Mar which incorporates `the very latest Beethoven research and represents a valuable supplement to the experience gained by Abbado over many years' (booklet quote). Although Abbado does not go as far as using authentic period styled instruments, he nevertheless often uses much reduced orchestral sizes, even in the Eroica, and avoids part doubling in the wind.
The speeds are generally fleeter without losing necessary gravitas in the slow movements. Speeds are kept constant and avoid the Romantic period type of fluctuations to be found in the recent set of Thielemann performances for example. The same can be said of phrasing. Textures are leaner but not acerbic as in some early examples of early instrument performance. Timpani are usually struck with semi-hard sticks which could be said to be a fair compromise.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Nice Music but old recording . Audio but particulary video quality are not at the state of the art .Published on 19 Feb. 2014 by marco