- Symphony No. 5 in C minor ("Fate"), Op. 67
- Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92
Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 5 & 7 - Live at Carnegie Hallby John Eliot Gardiner
John Eliot Gardiner and the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique were part of the late 20th century vanguard that introduced period performance practices to the symphonies of Ludwig van Beethoven, and their classic 1994 cycle alerted musicians everywhere to the possibilities of applying historical research to familiar warhorses. On November 16, 2011, Gardiner and his musicians revisited the "Symphony No. 5 in C minor" and the "Symphony No. 7 in A major" in a concert at Carnegie Hall, recorded by WQXR, and the performances compare favorably with the earier recordings on Archiv. Gardiner's Beethoven is almost always brisk and bristling with nervous energy, and this is apparent in the quick tempos and the sharp attacks he asks of his players. Even the slow movements are played con moto, with a real feeling of forward motion and urgency that almost seems aggressive. But this style of playing Beethoven has won many supporters and practically become mainstream, as historically informed performances increase in availability and audiences learn to appreciate the sounds of authentic instruments, the appropriate Classical ensemble size, and the techniques that were employed in Beethoven's time. While the performances meet the highest expectations, from time to time the audio is a little unbalanced in dynamics, suggesting a problem with microphone placement or mixing.
- Release Date:
- Soli Deo Gloria
Performance CreditsJohn Eliot Gardiner Primary Artist
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On this CD are performances of Beethoven’s 7th and 5th Symphonies, in that order. Given that the conductor is John Eliot Gardiner, I sat down, ears primed, ready to be overwhelmed by the Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique under Mr. Gardiner’s baton. Instead, I found myself a bit disappointed. The opening movement of the 7th seemed to lag ever so slightly in places at first, but picked up nicely when the flute begins its familiar positive tune around 1/3rd of the way through. But the 2nd movement (my favorite) seemed all to thin, the result being that the dynamic tension I was looking for was lacking. The pace of the 3rd movement also seemed just a touch fast which again left me a bit put-off, but the 4th movement was lovely. The 5th Symphony also seemed too “smooth” in places, and a bit too drawn out in others. I also felt that the pace was somewhat uneven, and again the thinness of the sound left me wanting. As to the recording quality, I attribute some of the thinness of the sound to Carnegie Hall itself, as these works were recorded recently. I can’t speak to the caliber of the orchestra itself, as this is the only recording I have of them in aggregate. With respect to this particular CD, if you find Karajan recordings of these pieces to be too thick and heavy then this performance might just be what you are looking for. On the other hand if, like me, you are very satisfied with Karajan-esque performances, then this CD is probably better off being skipped.