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With their performances of arrangements of well-known, romantic Russian pieces, popular adaptations and waltzes, this professional orchestra gives us an insight into the spirited and highly entertaining world of a living musical culture.
The first instalment in Osmo Vänskä’s and Minnesota Orchestra’s Beethoven cycle was released in December 2004 and was immediately praised for the performances (‘as compelling as any, beautifully realized in every respect’)
Richter and Rostropovich devote themselves to their task with verve and freshness. The two early works are marked by the rich and full sound of the cello and an elegantly performed piano part, while the two Russian musicians foster a contemplative, introverted style in the A major Sonata.
It was clear from the start that Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, with its air of solemnity in the final chorus, which calls for brotherly love just as the New Year comes in
The orchestral antagonists – the Marlboro Festival Orchestra – weaves a chamber music-like, delicate and wonderfully transparent carpet of sound, upon which Beethoven’s characteristic woodwind instruments are bedded like roses.
In their tactful tone, warm exploitation of melody, and candid desire to please, the bulk of the violin sonatas certainly reflect the easy terms on which Beethoven, as the latest musical lion, found himself with dilettante circles in turn-of-the-century Vienna.
The performances heard here are quite enjoyable. Both the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and the New Philharmonia Orchestra deliver first-rate accompaniments, and their sound, heard in four-channel mode, wraps around you like you're sitting among the musicians. Grumiaux's performance, while not flawless, is always very musical and filled with well-chosen risks.
Very little else needs to be added - except that this recording has been newly pressed and is now available on the DECCA label once again.
The present recording, a milestone among the multitude of televised recordings made in they heyday of analogue recording technique,
The balance engineers achieved a remarkable feat when documenting this epoch-making work, for this recording is certainly one of the very best to come from Deutsche Grammophon in the Sixties