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Beethoven: The Complete 9 Symphonies

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Re: another review

To 'Checkers Lover:' You say that 'classical music is dumb.' Did you listen to any of this? Beyond the preview clips? Have you been to a concert? Have you looked into the stories behind these pieces? I didn't think so. Don't judge unless you can make an informed decision.

Classical music is the music of history, without which there would be none of the drivel that people today call music. Let me make an analogy: classical music is filet mignon, caviar, champagne. Most of today's popular music is cheeseburgers, fish sticks, and Diet Coke.

An old recording re- engineered. Bravo! (I think)

The late René Leibowitz (1913-1972) was one of the great unknowns of twentieth century music. He was born in Warsaw, which was then under the unwelcome tutelage of the Russian Empire.. He gave up a reputedly unhappy career as a violin prodigy to study composition and take up the conductor's baton. He survived World War II as a member of the French underground. After the war he became a successful conductor, working in Great Britain and France. That he is so poorly known in the United States is a shame, as he was a conductor of enormous skill, analytical ability, and musical sensitivity. Actually, many more people know his recordings than might generally be thought, as they were part of a Reader's Digest series that was very popular in the 1960s. That by the way, is the approximate date of these recordings. While I would like to applaud Reader's Digest for re-issuing these recordings, I think it only fair to note that they have been very heavily re-engineered. The original recordings date to sometime between 1960 and 63. As you can imagine, there is a fair bit of hiss and the general noise level is very high. When recordings are cleaned up as much as these, we are forced to ask the question as to whether they remain in fact the original recordings. If we listen, for example, to the 3rd movement of the Seventh Symphony, the original recordings show markedly less of the singsong quality found here.

So, for a final assessment: these are important recording of a major European conductor conducting the Beethoven symphonies. They certainly have been made more accessible by reengineering. There are not many people around these days who are willing to put up with the noise found in most recordings of the early 1960s–so for those who look for a clean “digital” sound, these recordings may be a bridge to the career of a great conductor. On the other hand, there are a good many recordings available of much more recent vintage where the heavy hand of a revisionist recording engineer is not so apparent. If you want to learn how Beethoven is played today by a great orchestra, consider the London Symphony Orchestra recordings under the baton of Haitink, or the more recent Staatskapelle Berlin with Daniel Barenboim conducting. There are many more fine recordings available–doubtless others will eventually post more here. Finally, consider simply going to the symphony–every major American city has one, and they'd be happy to sell you tickets.

Great Value

$9.99 for all 9 Beethoven Symphonies - great value!! Very fine sounding recordings well played by the Royal Phil.

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Beethoven: The Complete 9 Symphonies, René Leibowitz
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  • $9.99
  • Géneros: Clásica, Música
  • Publicado: 01/03/2011

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