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Symphony No. 8 SACD

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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  • Orchestra: Royal Flemish Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Conductor: Philippe Herreweghe
  • Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Audio CD (14 Jan. 2008)
  • Please Note: Requires SACD-compatible hardware
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: SACD
  • Label: Pentatone
  • ASIN: B000WXR31Y
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 753,965 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Excellent performance, good sound quality
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Amazon.com: HASH(0x96bee8ac) out of 5 stars 4 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x96ac5dd4) out of 5 stars A good Eighth and even better Fifth make HIP Beethoven sound convincing 4 Jan. 2011
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I shy away from HIP versions of Beethoven, to the point of deploring their lack of passion and heroism, two qualities essential to Beethoven's greatest works. But then I was brought up short by Philippe Herreweghe's Missa Solemnis, which preserved the external traits of period performance (reduced forces, no vibrato, fast tempos, gut strings) without betraying the essence of that great work of spiritual aspiration. What could he do with an even more iconic piece, the fifth Sym.? The same externals are in place, although the microphone disguises how large or small the string body is; the prominence of winds isn't exaggerated but seems in natural balance with the whole orchestra.

Once again I have a positive report. In place of the superficial run through inflicted by Gardiner and Norrington (shudder), the far more musical Herreweghe captures the vitality and heroic intent of this symphony. He shortens the fermatas (held notes) in the opening motto, and the famous four notes are far from blows by the hammer of fate. Even so, nothing is raced along, and there's a coherent conception at work. Here, as in the second movement, one longs for more expression from the woodwind soloists -- since when is "authentic" the same as "bland"> -- but Herreweghe does as well, and in the same vein, as Osmo Vanska in his wildly praised HIP-flavored Beethoven cycle from Minnesota. the cellos and basses are too buzzy and thin at the beginning of the Scherzo; it would be advisable, in the name of building up their sound, is Herreweghe allowed some vibrato as a few other HIP conductors are starting to do. the Scherzo is rendered as a straightforward, vigorous march (no mysterious goblins as heard by E. M. Forster in his novel, "Howard's End"), and the blazing C major of the finale is quite martial, with clipped drums and fifes reminiscent of the battlefield. In all, an exciting, upbeat reading.

The Eighth Sym., a lighter work that suffers when too heavily trod upon -- even Furtwangler smothers it with significance -- has always been a showpiece for the HIP approach. Herreweghe, like Vanska, gives a quick, buoyant reading that is a touch impatient, the fault of strict timekeeping without expressive relief. You can revert to traditional readings that are just as ebullient but far more musical -- I'm thinking of the Aged Casals conducting the Marlboro Festival on Sony. As an overall picture, Herreweghe's Eighth is too slight and brisk. He's not in the flatlands of Gardiner, but there are no real ideas and therefore nothing memorable to hold on to.

For all my criticisms, I enjoyed this program and felt hopeful that the HIP fad, which shows no sign of abating, can merge with the kind of mature musicality that one turns to in the greatest music form Bach to the present day.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x96c2b8d0) out of 5 stars Splendid Beethoven/ravishing sound! 7 Oct. 2011
By Hal Owen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Maestro Philippe Herreweghe's recordings of the Beethove Symphonies 5 and 8 with Royal Flemish Phil. from Pentatone represent the completion of yet another SACD symphonic cycle but ..... these performances are, (IMO,) anything but routine. There is a freshness to the familiar in these recordings that I find most enjoyable - made even more so by the warm acoustics found in deSingel, Antwerp. As I'm not a professional reviewer, my music references may seem simplistic but I must say how I admire Maestro Herreweghe's choice of generally brisk tempos, observed repeats and a generally grand ensemble approach to this music. The, (unknown to me until this series,) playing of the R.F.P. is most accomplished made even more so by the splendid sound achieved by Pentatone's recording team of Andreas Neubronner and Ruge. Comparasions to such previously successful SACD Beethoven Symphonic cycles such as Paavo Jarvi's wonderful survey with The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen from RCA Red Seal suggest to me that some things in this ever changing world are truely eternal to include a continuing affection shared by so many talented younger musicians for the music of Beethoven. Hopefully these splendid Pentatone performances will bring you much enjoyment as well, no matter what your age.
HASH(0x96e795a0) out of 5 stars Superb SACD recording of the 8th Symphony; Very Enjoyable 5th Symphony 25 Jun. 2016
By JAC - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is an extremely enjoyable SACD.

In my experience PentaTone generally produces extremely high quality SACDs in terms of recording clarity and detail. Prior to starting my SACD collection I was unfamiliar with Philippe Herreweghe and the Royal Flemish Philharmonic (RFP) but after buying my first Herreweghe SACD (Beethoven’s 6th and 2nd Symphonies) I’ve bought many more and have found Herreweghe’s RFP SACDs to be consistently superb in terms of clarity, detail and musical performance.

Herreweghe’s performance of Beethoven’s 8th is among the most enjoyable I’ve heard. To my ear the pace and tempo of the performance is particularly important in performing the 8th and Herreweghe’s performance, which is brisk, gets it, in my opinion, just right. Herreweghe’s times are 8:32, 3:38, 4:20 and 7:00. By way of comparison, Haitink and the London Symphony Orchestra (SACD cycle) are 9:07, 3:54, 4:23 and 7:24; Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic (DG: Original Image Bit Processing: 439-005-2) are 9:01, 4:05, 6:01 and 7:11; and Christoph von Dohanyi and the Cleveland Orchestra (Telarc) are 9:31, 3:49, 5:12 and 7:42. To my ear each of these three performances are very enjoyable but Herreweghe just seems to set the ideal pace and tempo.

Beethoven is among the four composers I enjoy most and there are seemingly an infinite number of recordings of the 5th Symphony. While some reviewers mark down a performance of such a famous work to 4-stars for being something less than extraordinary that is not a bias I share and Herreweghe’s performance is extremely enjoyable and a welcome addition to my collection.
HASH(0x97089900) out of 5 stars Full of panache 1 May 2013
By John J. Puccio - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Herreweghe's Beethoven Fifth comes over with vigor, with verve, with energy in abundance, as he takes dashing tempos and accents the music at every opportunity with a theatrical panache that never sounds breathless or exhausting. He'll have your blood racing, almost in the way we think of Kleiber (DG) or Reiner (RCA) or the new Barenboim (Warner) doing it but without quite the voltage. OK, maybe it's more like Zinman (Arte Nova), actually, or possibly Norrington (Virgin), which is still saying a lot. Anyway, it is anything but conventional, and I liked it.

That said, I didn't care as much for the accompanying Symphony No. 8. While the Fifth is all restive excitement and emotion, the Eighth should be a relative island of repose, replacing the Fifth's spectacle with outright charm. However, Herreweghe seems determined to prove that the Eighth is not as lightweight as some people claim, and I found his reading a little heavy-handed.

John J. Puccio
Classical Candor
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