Beethoven – The 9 Symphonies

30 Sep

Beethoven - The 9 Symphonies DS300f - Volume One sm

Rudolf Kempe & The Munich Philharmonic Orchestra

Also includes the three overtures: Prometheus, Egmont & Leonore

Corrected Booklet

Release: DS300f (V1 & V2)

Source: SQ CD

Process: SQ/II

Format: 4 x DVD-A/V  MLP/DTS/DD

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26 Responses to “Beethoven – The 9 Symphonies”

  1. Owen Smith October 13, 2013 at 12:47 #

    I’ve never heard the 7th and 8th in their entireties before and I can see why. They’re OK, but after the 3rd, 5th and 6th there just isn’t anything special about them. Hence we just get the best movements.

    2nd movement of the 7th has some great low strings, real depth and darkness to it. Well played and recorded. Imaging all through the 7th is great, instruments appearing all across the front soundstage.

    The 8th is recorded considerably quieter, I had to increase volume on my amp by 5db to get around the same dynamics. Even then the tone of the orchestra isn’t the same, less round and full and a bit strained, difficult to describe. I suspect a different recording venue or different equipment or technicians, or some time had passed between the two.

  2. Owen Smith October 12, 2013 at 12:40 #

    I enjoyed the 5th Symphony so much I listened to it twice (except I skipped the 2nd movement on the second listening). Nicely balanced, not too gung ho as some permformances today can be but not too slow either. The horns just about redeemed themselves after their poor showing in the 3rd.

    I’m currently listening to the 6th, during which I alway see the Fantasia imagery in my head. The two have become so closely linked in my mind that I cannot seperate them, even if I want to (which I don’t). Currently the pegasi are flying over the boisonberry jam coloured trees (the boisonberry jam colouring is explained in on of the extras featurettes for Fantasia).

    • oxforddickie October 12, 2013 at 12:56 #

      I don’t think your the only who thinks of that section of Fantasia

  3. Owen Smith October 7, 2013 at 00:49 #

    4th Symphony is well played. I don’t think I’ve heard it before and I listen to enough classical that if it were at all popular I would have heard it. If anything it sounds like a pre Eroica work, it’s more like the last two movements of the 2nd Symphony. This is entirely possible, it is now known that Beethoven wrote the 6th before the 5th but I haven’t checked dates for the 4th. Anyway, any work which comes between the Eroica and the 5th is bound to be overshadowed.

  4. Owen Smith October 6, 2013 at 13:49 #

    Having listened more I’d say we’re more like six feet behind the condutor, otherwise the lead violin would be in left rear and the lead cello right rear and they’re not.

    I’ve listened to symphonies no 2 and 3 now and the performance and recording quality is just as good as no 1. In the third symphony I prefer a bit more attack in the opening movement but that’s a matter of choice. The second movement is suitably gloomy and dark with excellent low strings. The horns let the third movement down, it’s their starring entry and they blew it. Not only is their entry a bit feeble but there are some wrong and fluffed notes, the first I’ve heard in this set. Oh well, the rest of it is good. Beethoven would not have been impressed, he had a thing for the horns in the 3rd movement.

    I listened to the 3rd symphony with my eyes closed and it did that magical trick of the speakers disappearing, the soundstage is that good. When I briefly opened my eyes to check the clock the speakers weren’t where I thought they’d be, and there were times I could have sworn the centre speaker was active when I know full well it isn’t. This shows how good the recording and SQ decode are.

    Great stuff OD. All I need is a time machine to create more listening time.

    • oxforddickie October 6, 2013 at 14:02 #

      Thanks for that insight regardsing the horns, will listen to it again. Oh, and if you find that time machine, i’d like to go back the heyday of quad and pick up some of the rarer titles 😉

    • Owen Smith October 6, 2013 at 14:50 #

      The BBC4 Eroica film has much better horns in the third movement. They’re playing on original instruments with no valves so it is considerably harder to play, and I won’t say it’s perfect with no fluffed notes. But at least they come in properly and make their presence known.

      When I was learning to play in brass bands in Yorkshire I was always told to come in confidently as if you know where you are what you’re doing. That way if you’re wrong at least people will think “ah but it were a good note, the lad shows promise”. My dad used to play a lot of trombone solos and the advice from his mentor was to think to yourself “listen to how good I am” when you play a solo or other important passage. I think the horns were thinking “I’m tired, when is this over” and “when does the bar open?”.

      • oxforddickie October 6, 2013 at 16:21 #

        In total there were three complete sets of Beethoven’s Symphonies released in Quad this being the first. If there’s enough interest in another set i would consider doing “Jochum’s” set at some time. The third set goes for silly money, often over £100 so for the moment that is going to remain my holy grail.

        • oxforddickie October 6, 2013 at 16:33 #

          I also have the set done by the Hanover Band, who play on period instruments

      • Owen Smith October 6, 2013 at 18:12 #

        I think it might be best to leave it for a while before doing another complete set of Beethoven symphonies. These ones are pretty good, so far only the horns in Eroica let them down. The period instrument set might be quite interesting at some stage, perhaps DS400 if you get no other ideas? 🙂

        What’s so special about the third set that goes for silly money? Just because it’s £100 doesn’t mean it’s any good.

        • oxforddickie October 6, 2013 at 18:18 #

          Will do then, DS400 seems a lifetime away.

          The reason it goes for such high prices is because i believe there weren’t many pressed, which is supported by the fact they very rarely surface.

  5. Owen Smith October 5, 2013 at 20:07 #

    So far I’ve listened to Symphony No. 1. It is very well performed and recorded, I hope the others live up to this standard. The quad soundfield is a bit more active than a live orchestral recording, because this was done in a studio assuming the pictures in the booklet are representative. It’s still a normal orchestral stereo soundfield but as well as recording space ambience in the rears it sounds as if they’ve wrapped a bit of the left right width into the rear, kind of like a horseshoe. Does anyone else have a view on this?

    • oxforddickie October 6, 2013 at 09:26 #

      I personally like the fact they’ve spread the orchestra out to the sides, although possibly correct, it does give you the fell your sitting along side Rudolf as he conducts.

    • Owen Smith October 6, 2013 at 11:12 #

      Yes, sitting next to the conductor was one of the impressions I had.

  6. Owen Smith October 5, 2013 at 11:41 #

    Looking inside booklet.zip there is English text describing symphonies numbers 1 to 8 plus the orchestra and conductor, but not symphony number 9. It’s there in the German. Is this an omission in the original information? (which appears to have been scanned from an LP set).

    There is also no description of the three overtures, were they extras in the CD set which weren’t on the LPs?

    • oxforddickie October 5, 2013 at 11:55 #

      And there was i thinking i’d not made any mistakes. Yes, the English page is missing, will sort that over the next couple of days. The three overtures were part of the original LP release and the rarer CD release, and the booklet makes no mention of them at all.

      Now sorted, available as a direct download

  7. mickjerome October 2, 2013 at 17:45 #

    Thank you again for that wonderfull release,it’s really great!Merci.

  8. Owen Smith October 2, 2013 at 12:55 #

    Now that the rear covers have downloaded I see we get three of the overtures too:

    Loenore, Prometheus and Egmont.

    • oxforddickie October 2, 2013 at 13:03 #

      Ah yes, well spotted. Forgot to mention them, thanks

  9. Owen Smith October 2, 2013 at 12:19 #

    Beethoven’s Ninth also has a place in the history of technology. During the development of CD the boss of Sony at the time insisted that it had to be long enough to accomodate Beethoven’s Ninth. Which is where 74 minutes comes in. To achieve this length the error correction had to be more compromised than other proposals, which is a shame because CDs really could do with bit more reliability.

  10. joeerand September 30, 2013 at 18:41 #

    Congratulations on the milestone #300 release!!! Incredible body of work you’ve done, which nobody else could approach. And thanks for marking it with this behemoth, which you graciously are providing for the cost of a single disc. Just looking at the last few releases…Miles Davis, EW & F, Bernard Herrmann, Ozark Mountain Daredevils, and Ludwig. Incredible diversity. Thank you, thank you.

    • Owen Smith September 30, 2013 at 18:56 #

      The diversity is indeed incredible, and one of the reasons I follow this blog. You never know what’s next.

  11. Owen Smith September 30, 2013 at 16:25 #

    Incredible isn’t it? One of the most important bodies of work in the history of classical music, by one orchestra/conductor, all in quad from CD.

    From the 1st Symphony which sounds like Mozart, through arguably the single most important work in the entire history of music ie. the breakaway 3rd Symphony, and onwards with Beethoven’s style continually developing and evolving while he re-defined what classical music meant, ending in the mighty Ninth. As a body of work these symphonies overshadowed most composers for a hundred years after Beethoven’s death. Brahms as a german composer was scared of writing a symphony for fear of the comparisons with Beethoven and it took him a long time to get past that. Wagner is probably the first german composer whose own ego was big enough he was able to confidently step out of Beethoven’s shadow, but then Wagner’s racist and anti semitic personal views are pretty despicable so he’s hardly a good example.

    I’m really looking forward to listening to this.

    By the way, I recommand the BBC4 film Eroica which is a dramatised re-enactment of the first performance of the 3rd Symphony, on period instruments. Haydn’s appearance in this is correct and what he said is roughly what he is known to have said historically. A wonderful film which admirably demostrates the purpose of the BBC licence fee, no commerical broadcaster would make such aa film (or at least one that relies on adverts for revenue anyway, I can see HBO or Sky Arts making something similar).

    • zaphod2359 September 30, 2013 at 16:52 #

      Wow thanks for the info.Looks like the film is on youtube.I’m eager to watch it now.

    • Owen Smith September 30, 2013 at 19:00 #

      That is indeed the BBC4 Eroica film, I recognise the actors and their costumes. There are some wonderful quotes from various characters: “Violent, needlessly violent” from someone that doesn’t like it, “Horns!” from Beethoven himself. The period instrument playing is pretty good too, apart from one or two bits of dramatic licence.

  12. zaphod2359 September 30, 2013 at 15:29 #

    I’m speechless.Thank You!!!

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