- Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 36
- Symphony No. 8 in F major, Op. 93
An early leader in historically informed performances, John Eliot Gardiner was among the first conductors to present the nine symphonies of Ludwig van Beethoven in authentic Classical style, and his 1994 set with the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique has become a touchstone. For this live album on Soli Deo Gloria, recorded at Cadogan Hall, London, in 2013, Gardiner and his period ensemble revisit the "Symphony No. 2 in D major" and the "Symphony No. 8 in F major," two of the less frequently performed of Beethoven's symphonies but delightful for their energy and abundant humor. True to expectations, Gardiner's tempos are brisk and his accentuation marked, and the orchestra plays with its characteristic sonorities, which include a glossy string tone, pungent woodwinds, incisive brass, and timpani played with hard mallets. The attention to details highlights Beethoven's original and distinctive style of orchestration, and the musicians' alertness and vitality give these performances an electric charge that is often lacking in conventional performances. This is a follow-up to the 2012 album, Live at Carnegie Hall, in which Gardiner and the ORR played Beethoven's "Fifth" and "Seventh" symphonies, also on the SDG label, so this disc raises hopes of more live recordings covering the rest of the cycle.