Nikolaus Harnoncourt and his period orchestra, Concentus Musicus Wien, never recorded a complete cycle of the symphonies of Ludwig van Beethoven, and this 2016 Sony release is their only recording of the Symphony No. 4 in B flat major and the Symphony No. 5 in C minor, made almost ten months before the conductor's death. Harnoncourt planned for this to be his last recording before his retirement, so it inevitably has the feeling of a valedictory performance, and one can also hear it as the orchestra's warm tribute to its leader and his sterling musicianship.
…here Bernstein provides what may be the slowest recorded tempo of the first movement to date (perhaps it's worth it alone for that reason!?) – however the freshness and vitality that LB and the NYP display on the Fourth Symphony is nothing short of breathtaking!
It's pure Bernstein - it's fresh, it's youthful, it's bliss, it's ecstasy. This is one of the finest takes of Beethoven 4 I know of - which is probably Beethoven's most under-estimated symphony. Bernstein captures the exact character needed to sell this work.
For decades Szell's Beethoven cycle has been justly hailed as one of the best on discs, and the reasons are clear: lively and dramatic interpretations that are true to the Beethovenian spirit married to simply spectacular orchestral playing.
Victor Carr Jr.
This is a Beethoven Symphonies Cycle of the 21st century! Christian Thielemann and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra perform Beethoven Symphonies Nos. 1 – 9 incl. and each DVD includes a one-hour-long documentary for each symphony.
Includes an hour-long documentary for each symphony where Maestro Thielemann and Joachim Kaiser (the most famous German music critic) discuss and analyze in an entertaining conversational exchange Thielemann’s interpretation, complemented by excerpts from rehearsals as well as by comparisons of Beethoven cycles with Karajan, Bernstein etc. – no aspect of Beethoven’s symphonic œuvre will remain unaffected!
Herbert von Karajan directs the Berlin Philharmonic in an Italianate take of Beethoven's Fourth Symphony and an assured rendering of the Fifth, while the "Pastoral" Symphony, conceived and derected by Hugo Niebeling in 1967, is a revolutionary mix of styles - Fantasia meets Expressionism meets film noir.
Sir George Alexander Macfarren was an English composer and musicologist. The "Chevy Chace" overture and two of his symphonies have been recorded (his fourth and seventh, by the Queensland Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Werner Andreas Albert. It is possible that the fourth symphony is the F minor symphony that was played in 1834 by the Society of British Musicians. Among Macfarren's operas were King Charles II, produced at the Princess's Theatre in 1849 (Natalia Macfarren made her operatic debut in this production), and an adaptation of Robin Hood produced in 1860…
Ludwig van Beethoven (baptized 17 December 1770 – 26 March 1827) was a German composer and pianist. A crucial figure in the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western art music, he remains one of the most famous and influential of all composers. His best known compositions include 9 symphonies, 5 concertos for piano, 32 piano sonatas, and 16 string quartets. He also composed other chamber music, choral works (including the celebrated Missa Solemnis), and songs.
…Once again, Järvi and his band have captured Beethoven's wilful and often irascible character, rhetoric, polemics and sheer genius in fully-charged performances which also reveal his deep humanity. They certainly should number among the elite.