Home » Stories » Nelsons, Vienna Phil - Beethoven Symphonies is less pompous than Karajan, more moderate than Bernstein, and of much better sound than Toscanini or Furtwangler / Jazz Weekly

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Nelsons, Vienna Phil - Beethoven Symphonies is less pompous than Karajan, more moderate than Bernstein, and of much better sound than Toscanini or Furtwangler / Jazz Weekly

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As one who has an acceptable number of Beethoven Symphony collections, I've come to a certain way to "fact check" their importance. My key check points are 1) "How sweeping is the opening of the "Eroica" on the "Allegro" along with the thunderous  minor chords half way through? 2) Is the "Allegretto" of Number 7 trudging agonizingly enough? 3) Is the "Allegro Ma Non Troppo"of the "Pastoral" verdant? 4) Do I need to put on a jacket for its " Thunderstorm"? 5) Do I feel like dancing during the "Allegro Vivace" of Number 4? 6) How is the sweeping of the " Allegro Ma Non Troppo" and "Molto Vivace" of Number 9?

On all these points, the 5 disc and Blu-Ray Audio set by Andris Nelsons and the Wiener Philharmonicker pass with no qualms. It is less pompous than Karajan, more moderate than Bernstein's and Norrington's and of much better sound than Toscanini or Furtwangler. The strings have a rich texture and the woodwinds breeze like spring leaves. The chorus on the 9th led by Johannes Prinz is rich and with gravitas, and each symphony feels like it is to be appreciated all on its own and not part of an overall mosaic. The early pair being coy and optimistic, "Eroica" confidently explorative, 5 an early apotheosis, 6 a rest at the top, 7 vying for its due attention, 4 and 8 impressive interludes and the 9th a call to glory.

This one has great flavors, never feeling like it's hinting at anyone else, and not succumbing to modern trends. DG has put itself back on the top of the Teutonic composers interpretations with this one.

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