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Serenade in D Major/Symphony No. 4 (Wand, Ndr So)

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Audio CD (2 Feb. 2002)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Red Seal
  • ASIN: B00005U8U1
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 742,872 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By A Customer on 14 Feb. 2002
Format: Audio CD
This is a delectable recording, full of vigour and lightness, yet sparing us the extremes of the so-called "authentic" movement. Even when judged by Wand's own famously exacting standards, this is a splendid addition to the catalogue.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x92086408) out of 5 stars 2 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x927d37d4) out of 5 stars A delightful "Posthorn" Serenade from Wand in his eighties 18 Jan. 2009
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
In 2001, when Gunter Wand was an astonishing 89, he led this live concert from Hamburg with his home orchestra, the North German Radio. Wand was a benign (so far as I know) conservative like Josef Krips, happy if his wrld was circumscribed by Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, and Bruckner, who remained the taples of his repertoire.

A lifelong devotion to Mozart shows through in this genial, quick-moving, sunny reading of the "posthorn" Serenade. The posthorn soloist is fine, the first oboe a bit less so, but everyone's in high spirits. There's not a hint of dullness anywhere, making Wand's one of the best versions outside the period-performance litany. Smiles all around.

The Beethoven Fourth is a graceful disc-mate, and it, too, feels very genial and light. The Adagio opening (its mood and harmony straight out of Fidelio) moves fairly briskly, giving way to a medium pace in the Allegro that offers little contrast, but in place of drama we get an assured touch. The slow movement is flowing and lyrical, the Scherzo lively if not quite the Allegro vivace Beethoven calls for. The composer doesn't want the Finale to be too fast, and Wand complies. Yet throughout there's a feeling of affection and good humor. In an ideal performance one would want more sharp contrasts and not quite so much mezzo forte, but this Fourth is very apealing.

When the Gramophone, one of Wand's biggest champtions, described him as "one of the last surviving examples of the well-schooled German Kapellmeister," they meant it as a compliment. This autumnal CD shows that the compliment was well deserved.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x91e169cc) out of 5 stars Accompanying this B Major opus is the wonderful Mozart symphonic Serenade #9 17 Sept. 2014
By NUC MED TECH - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
09-17-2014 With the addition of this Beethoven 4th Symphony, I now need only the 9th Symphony to complete my cycle of the Beethoven Symphonies, as recorded by Gunther and the Orchestra of the NDR. Accompanying this B Major opus is the wonderful Mozart symphonic Serenade #9, the Posthorn, also led by Maestro Wand. This great German artist was recording right up to a few years before his death at the age of 92. I have a pair of DVD's demonstrating his artistry in the last 2 Symphonies of Anton Bruckner, and it finally dawned on me a few months ago that, during the filming of those performances in Hamburg with the NDR, that the grand old man of Classical Music stood for the entire length of these magnum opuses, notably the over 80 minute #8, in c-minor. WOW, WOW, and more WOW!! I hope to merely be breathing at age 92, let alone working.
The Serenade was written in the Summer of 1779, when Wolfgang Amadeus was 23 years old, full of talent and becoming well known outside of the provincial city of his birth, Salzburg. He had made numerous visits to Vienna but his base of operation remained that small city/town in Western Austria. So, what exactly is a serenade? Well, it's sort of a sophisticated piece of "elevator music," and considered, in the composer's day, as "background music, heard casually over dinner, conversation or other superficial social activity. These are the kind of activities that Beethoven loathed and would likely avoid if it were not the price to pay for financial sustenance, which the Bonn Master had just as much a need for as Amadeus did. Even so, there is nothing trivial about this material.
I particularly was impressed by the bold and rich percussion, adding to the full-blooded, savory and rhythmic treatment that Wand gives it The music is festive, bright, rich and even possesses a regal flair. The Serenade runs a satisfyingly sufficient 38:10 and has 7 sections and thus provides just about all of the generally accepted tempi. the 2nd movement menuetto is maybe the best of all the parts, complete with a gracious landler idea as a highlight.
Contrast is key in this work as Amadeus shifts between musical thoughts smoothly and competently. In order to appreciate this work as intended, one must understand, from the very first notes, that this is the lighter side of the product and avoid the temptation to judge it harshly for not containing an essentially serious core.
The Symphony in B Major of Beethoven gets the proper weight and it's unique result is clearly heard in the totality of the score, as richly Beethoven as he ever wrote. Coming in between what many listeners think are his best symphonies, the Eroica and the legendary 5th in c-minor, the occasionally referred to "fate" Symphony, it has gotten squished by many devotees of Classical Music. However, this is a troublesome opinion and the 4th is a terrific work, in need of only more concert hall exposure and recordings as well. Wand's opening introduction runs out to the 02:32 mark and when he slams the baton down hard at exactly the 02:38 point, it is a bit too much, even for a huge fan of his----Me. I would of preferred a slightly soft contrast and less of a dynamic emphasis. Still, this is no great flaw and the music is off and running from here on out, filled to overflowing with sheer, raw energy and mighty ideas, he quickly shifts gears amongst the raid progression of thoughts, all emphasizing the joyous celebration of a happy composer, and, of the 4th were all one knew about the man, one might be inclined to think him a carefree, happy-go-lucky gentleman. But, of curse, we know this is not the case, as, for instance, he began to detect his hearing loss nearly 5-7 years earlier, in about 1795-1799. Yet, being the great figure he was, and the towering creating force he was, his music never betrayed this lack of hearing. Clearly, this malady would have sidelined any other composer and ended many a careers in the concert halls of Europe, but not with Beethoven. His special talents, coupled with his 1005% steadfastness and persistent defiance of his personality would not allow for his surrender under any terms. And, had Ludwig van been a poet, novelist of painter or sculpture of comparable rank, he would of found a way to both write while blinded or molded materials with only one hand, the other one lost through a trauma or illness, such as a gangrene infected limb. My point is this. Beethoven is a great figure in cultural history not just because of the beauty, complexity and appeal of his music, but also due to his strong personal constitution. "Never say die," was his motto, and he not only talked the talk, but he truly "walked the walk." I am at a loss to find his match in the world of the arts, although Smetana lost his daughters and wife at tender ages, and then he went blind, wasting away in an asylum. How sad, you say? Well, perhaps but still these men persisted, proving beyond doubt that they were mortal and were subject out all sorts of dangers and trials.
Wand's Beethoven 4th is presented eye to eye, toe to toe and man to man, and never do we hear any sobbing regret or self-pity emerging from this disc. The NDR sounds as good as ever and they play like an orchestra possessed for their Music Director, well into his later 80's as these works were recorded in concert performances in April8 through the 10th of 2001!! Live at 89!! Wow! That should have been the title of these presentations for those fortunate folks in the Musikhalle of Hamburg on those nights. How I envy them, and I feel blessed to have a copy of these feats of determination, desire and skill. Somewhere, and I DO believe it is in Heaven, the composer is smiling broadly.
Not matter how many 4th you own, treat yourself today with a purchase of this splendid RCA disk without a second thought. I promise you complete satisfaction and therefore, happy listening, and God bless all, Tony.
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