Abbado: Beethoven - Die Symphonien (5 CD box set, FLAC)
Abbado: Beethoven - Die Symphonien (5 CD box set, FLAC)

Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer: Thomas Quasthoff, Violeta Urmana, Thomas Moser, Karita Mattila
Orchestra: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Conductor: Claudio Abbado
Audio CD
SPARS Code: DDD
Number of Discs: 5 CD box set
Format: FLAC (image+cue)
Label: Deutsche Grammophon
Size: 1.28 GB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: yes

# Symphony No. 1 in C major, Op. 21
Composed by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performed by Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Conducted by Claudio Abbado

# Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 36
Composed by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performed by Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Conducted by Claudio Abbado

# Symphony No. 3 in E flat major (“Eroica”), Op. 55
Composed by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performed by Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Conducted by Claudio Abbado

# Symphony No. 4 in B flat major, Op. 60
Composed by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performed by Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Conducted by Claudio Abbado

# Symphony No. 5 in C minor (“Fate”), Op. 67
Composed by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performed by Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Conducted by Claudio Abbado

# Symphony No. 6 in F major (“Pastoral”), Op. 68
Composed by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performed by Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Conducted by Claudio Abbado

# Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92
Composed by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performed by Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Conducted by Claudio Abbado

# Symphony No. 8 in F major, Op. 93
Composed by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performed by Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Conducted by Claudio Abbado

# Symphony No. 9 in D minor (“Choral”), Op. 125
Composed by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performed by Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
with Thomas Quasthoff, Violeta Urmana, Thomas Moser, Karita Mattila
Conducted by Claudio Abbado

Disc 1:
01. Symphony No.1 in C, Op.21 – 1. Adagio molto – Allegro con brio
02. Symphony No.1 in C, Op.21 – 2. Andante cantabile con moto
03. Symphony No.1 in C, Op.21 – 3. Menuetto (Allegro molto e vivace)
04. Symphony No.1 in C, Op.21 – 4. Finale (Adagio – Allegro molto e vivace)
05. Symphony No.2 in D, Op.36 – 1. Adagio molto – Allegro con brio
06. Symphony No.2 in D, Op.36 – 2. Larghetto
07. Symphony No.2 in D, Op.36 – 3. Scherzo (Allegro)
08. Symphony No.2 in D, Op.36 – 4. Allegro molto

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Disc 2:
01. Symphony No.3 in E flat, Op.55 -“Eroica” – 1. Allegro con brio
02. Symphony No.3 in E flat, Op.55 -“Eroica” – 2. Marcia funebre (Adagio assai)
03. Symphony No.3 in E flat, Op.55 -“Eroica” – 3. Scherzo (Allegro vivace)
04. Symphony No.3 in E flat, Op.55 -“Eroica” – 4. Finale (Allegro molto)
05. Symphony No.4 in B flat, Op.60 – 1. Adagio – Allegro vivace
06. Symphony No.4 in B flat, Op.60 – 2. Adagio
07. Symphony No.4 in B flat, Op.60 – 3. Allegro vivace
08. Symphony No.4 in B flat, Op.60 – 4. Allegro ma non troppo

Disc 3:
01. Symphony No.5 in C minor, Op.67 – 1. Allegro con brio
02. Symphony No.5 in C minor, Op.67 – 2. Andante con moto
03. Symphony No.5 in C minor, Op.67 – 3. Allegro
04. Symphony No.5 in C minor, Op.67 – 4. Allegro
05. Symphony No.6 in F, Op.68 -“Pastoral” – 1. Erwachen heiterer Empfindungen bei der Ankunft auf dem Lande: Allegro ma non troppo
06. Symphony No.6 in F, Op.68 -“Pastoral” – 2. Szene am Bach: (Andante molto mosso)
07. Symphony No.6 in F, Op.68 -“Pastoral” – 3. Lustiges Zusammensein der Landleute (Allegro)
08. Symphony No.6 in F, Op.68 -“Pastoral” – 4. Gewitter, Sturm (Allegro)
09. Symphony No.6 in F, Op.68 -“Pastoral” – 5. Hirtengesang. Frohe und dankbare Gefühle nach dem Sturm: Allegretto

Disc 4:
01. Symphony No.7 in A, Op.92 – 1. Poco sostenuto – Vivace
02. Symphony No.7 in A, Op.92 – 2. Allegretto
03. Symphony No.7 in A, Op.92 – 3. Presto – Assai meno presto
04. Symphony No.7 in A, Op.92 – 4. Allegro con brio
05. Symphony No.8 in F, Op.93 – 1. Allegro vivace e con brio
06. Symphony No.8 in F, Op.93 – 2. Allegretto scherzando
07. Symphony No.8 in F, Op.93 – 3. Tempo di menuetto
08. Symphony No.8 in F, Op.93 – 4. Allegro vivace

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Disc 5:
01. Symphony No.9 in D minor, Op.125 – “Choral” – 1. Allegro ma non troppo, un poco maestoso
02. Symphony No.9 in D minor, Op.125 – “Choral” – 2. Molto vivace
03. Symphony No.9 in D minor, Op.125 – “Choral” – 3. Adagio molto e cantabile
04. Symphony No.9 in D minor, Op.125 – “Choral” – 4. Presto – Allegro assai
05. Symphony No.9 in D minor, Op.125 – “Choral” – 4. Presto – “O Freunde nicht diese Töne”

the 21st century beethoven

abbado’s cycle brings the “original instruments” movement into the symphonic mainstream. leading a very traditional orchestra made vigorous by many new, younger players, paring the forces to a smaller ensemble, and following in most respects the best recent “critical” edition of beethoven, abbado successfully makes the faster tempi, lighter textures and original bowing sound like, well, like the way beethoven was always meant to be played.
what struck me immediately was the incredible ensemble, which comes through both in the clarity of very fast passagework (every note perfectly distinct) and in the remarkably sure phrasing, even in the inner voices, no matter what the tempo or dynamics. the recording is exceptionally crisp, which also creates a wonderful transparency: no matter how raucous or pianissimo things get, every note comes through. abbado’s schubert recordings with the chamber orchestra of europe (the ensemble harnoncourt used for his beethoven cycle) surely started him thinking in this direction.
abbado eliminates most of the rhetorical flourishes typical of earlier beethoven practice, but he does not slavishly follow the new edition or go for the “tick tock” authentic sound. furtwangler is his conducting idol, and his goal is above all to make compelling music. the fire and joy in the recordings seems to demonstrate a great rapport between conductor and crew; everyone clearly had a great time playing these works.
the booklet contains a meager essay by beethoven scholar joseph kerman, but an unexpectedly funny interview with abbado on performance practice. over several pages he takes every opportunity the interviewer offers to spurn the vienna philharmonic — old men, 19th century practice, “we’ve always played it that way” attitude, don’t hire women, soft sound, etc. — and this recording seems to be a declaration that performance styles have changed for good. i love my old bohm recordings with the vienna po, but on the main point abbado is surely right: this is a beethoven cycle that the present vienna philharmonic could never, and would never, emulate.

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