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Osmo Vanska & Minnesota Orchestra - Beethoven: The Symphonies (5 CDs, 2009)

Classic | Author: valechek | 12-06-2018, 23:48
Osmo Vanska & Minnesota Orchestra - Beethoven: The Symphonies (5 CDs, 2009)
Artist: Osmo Vanska & Minnesota Orchestra
Title Of Album: Beethoven: The Symphonies
Year Of Release: 2009
Label: BIS
Country: Sweden
Genre: Classical
Quality: FLAC (*tracks+.cue, log, scans)
Bitrate: Lossless
Time: 5 Cds
Full Size: 1,38 Gb

There's no question that Osmo V?nsk? is a true Beethoven conductor. He captures the music's vitality, its eruptive character, and its dramatic syntax as well as anyone on the podium today. He understands the importance of accents, of giving proper weight to Beethoven's bass lines, and of uncovering ear-catching detail without micro-managing the tempo and fracturing Beethoven's large musical paragraphs. The only quibble I have with this performance of the Eroica stems from V?nsk?'s otherwise admirable deployment of a very wide dynamic range. A couple of times he drops to a "super-duper" pianissimo so quiet that you can barely hear the music, causing it to momentarily lose tension. This only happens a couple of times, most notably at the point of the first-movement recapitulation, and it's so unnecessary given the general excellence of the interpretation that you wonder why he bothers.
One thing is certain: this is one of the finest performances of the Funeral March ever recorded. It has everything–fabulous playing, an ideal tempo (it never drags), and most importantly, rhythm. After all, this is a march, and V?nsk?'s attention to the music's rhythmic underpinning makes this a totally gripping experience. Right from the first bars, with the basses really digging into their accompaniment figures while still keeping the volume appropriately soft, you know that this is going to be special. Notice also how in the first trio section the climactic fanfare has more power the second time it returns, evidence of a real long-term approach to what after all is a very long movement. This is simply stunning. The scherzo has great zest, with sensational horn playing, and the finale never begs the question of whether it's too light for what has come before. In short, this is an excellent performance, one that hardly needs to score an extra point or two with those attention-grabbing pianissimos.
The performance of the Eighth Symphony is perfect. There's plenty of buoyancy in the first movement, with a really rip-roaring charge into the recapitulation. The tick-tock second movement has a deliciously witty spring to its step, and here V?nsk?'s characterful approach to dynamics really enhances the sly exchanges between orchestral sections. I also love this big, juicy minuet, full of tongue-in-cheek pomp and circumstance, while the finale breezes by with joyous insouciance. It doesn't get any better, and happily the sonics, which are magnificently natural in both stereo and surround formats, are just as good as the performances. There are many excellent versions of the Eroica, fewer of the Eighth, and other listeners may well value the performance of the former for just those touches that struck me as a mite gratuitous. Certainly the overall quality maintains the high standard already established for this series and whets the appetite for the next installment.


Tracklist:

CD1:
Symphony No.1 in C major, Op.21
01 - I. Adagio molto - Allegro con brio
02 - II. Andante cantabile con moto
03 - III. Menuetto. Allegro molto e vivace
04 - IV. Finale. Adagio - Allegro molto e vivace
Symphony No.6 in F major 'Pastoral', Op.68
05 - I. Allegro ma non troppo
06 - II. Andante molto moto
07 - III. Allegro
08 - IV. Allegro
09 - [op. 68] V. Allegretto

CD2:
Symphony No.2 in D major, Op.36
01 - I. Adagio - Allegro con brio
02 - II. Larghetto
03 - III. Allegro
04 - IV. Allegro molto
Symphony No.7 in A major, Op.92
05 - I. Poco sostenuto - Vivace
06 - II. Allegretto
07 - III. Presto
08 - IV. Allegro con brio

CD3:
Symphony No.3 in E flat major 'Eroica',Op.55
01 - I. Allegro con brio
02 - II. Marcia funebre. Adagio assai
03 - III. Scherzo. Allegro vivace
04 - IV. Finale. Allegro molto - Poco andante - Presto
Symphony No.8 in F major, Op.93
05 - I. Allegro vivace e con brio
06 - II. Allegretto scherzando
07 - III. Tempo di Menuetto
08 - IV. Allegro vivace

CD4:
Symphony No.4 in B flat major, Op.60
01 - I. Adagio - Allegro vivace
02 - II. Adagio
03 - III. Allegro molto e vivace - Un poco meno allegro
04 - IV. Allegro ma non troppo
Symphony No.5 in C minor, Op.67
05 - I. Allegro con brio
06 - II. Andante con moto
07 - III. Allegro
08 - IV. Allegro

CD5:
Symphony No.9 in D minor 'Choral', Op.125
01 - I. Allegro ma non troppo e un poco maestoso
02 - II. Molto vivace - Presto
03 - III. Adagio molto e cantabile - Andante cantabile
04 - IV. Presto - Allegro assai - Presto

Personnel:
Osmo V?nsk? & Minnesota Orchestra
Minnesota Chorale
Helena Juntunen - soprano
Katarina Karn?us - mezzo-soprano
Daniel Norman - tenor
Neal Davies - bass-baritone

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