BETWEEN THE ENLIGHTENMENT AND REVOLUTION
Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal - Kent Nagano, Music Director
ANALEKTA's catalogue already features seven of Beethoven's nine symphonies performed by the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, under the direction of Maestro Kent Nagano. The Canadian label is now releasing the famed composer's complete nine symphonies, together in a 6 CD box-set: Between The Enlightenment and Revolution. Produced by the OSM, this complete set of Beethoven's symphonies is the result of several years of work and effort. With its 56-page booklet, this multiple album set reflects a significant period of Beethoven's life, between 1800 and 1830.
While the world slowly deteriorates in different ways under the legacy of the Enlightenment, obscure forces push Men towards new avenues. In the set's message of introduction, Kent Nagano writes: "It was for this "new humanity" that Beethoven composed his music, and in it he saw his duty as an artist and the ultimate truth of his art. The idea of this new humanity, a new society and a new way forward, inspired him and dictated the inner programmatics of his musical thoughts even as they emerged from his pen." What is suggested here is to rediscover Beethoven's symphonic masterpieces through the panorama of an era filled with fundamental changes. The core of the message is captured in powerful themes and images through these six scenes (6 CDs).
Beethoven's complete symphonies, 6 different scenes - The first scene, Departure – Utopia (CD 1), showcases all the energy and tumult of this new man, a man looking towards the future. These are the First and Seventh Symphonies; larger-than-life works that unfold with all their orchestral strength. They contrast with the following scene, The Poetry of Freedom (CD 2), consisting of Symphonies No 2 and No 4, where the peaceful strength seizes the listener. In Gods, Heroes and Men (CD 3), Beethoven's Symphony No 3, or "Eroica", brings the listener back into the turmoil. This theme is accentuated by excerpts from Beethoven's one and only ballet, The Creatures of Prometheus Op. 43, a titan who is condemned to being tortured for having stolen the sacrificial fire. The fourth scene, Ideals of the French Revolution (CD 4), which proves to be just as agitated, is the backdrop to Symphony No 5 ("The Destiny"). Excerpts from Egmont Op. 84 depicting the story of Goethe, a man condemned to death for having shown defiance to the authorities, performed here by soprano Adrianne Pieczonca, also showcase the power that comes with the belief of freedom. If the previous scenes point to a new order emerging from chaos, the more contemplative fifth scene puts the universal ideas of time and place into perspective. In the Breath of Time (CD 5) questions the universe, nature and environmental awareness through Symphonies No 6 ("Pastoral") and No 8.
In the sixth scene, the colossal Symphony No. 9 with its "Ode to Joy" rounds off the cycle in all its glory on Human Misery, Human Love (CD 6). Highlighting the idea of freedom, the listener can hear the extraordinary performances of five of the most prominent soloists in the world, sopranos Adrianne Pieczonka and Erin Wall, mezzo-soprano, Mihoko Fujimura, tenor Simon O'Neill and bass Mikhail Petrenko.
Through his symphonies, Beethoven has given a new dimension to orchestral music, forever changing how we listen to music. This is what this box-set attempts to show. By showcasing the unique orchestral qualities of each symphony, Kent Nagano, along with the OSM, delivers all the depth and intensity of their message; a message that will remain universal.
The Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, conducted by Maestro Kent Nagano,is adding another collection of complete recordings to its extensive catalogue of 19th-century French music by recording for the first time the three violin concertos of Camille Saint-Saëns, performed with special flair by OSM concertmaster Andrew Wan and recorded during concerts given at Maison symphonique de Montréal in November 2014. The composition process of these concertos stretched over a little more than twenty years. A great friend of Camille Saint-Saëns', Pablo de Sarasate was the dedicatee and first performer of the first and third concertos, while French violinist Achille Dien premiered the second in 1860 at Paris's Salle Érard. This recording is made possible thanks to the generous support of Mr. David B. Sela.