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Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 4 & 5 / Concentus Musicus Wien, Nikolaus Harnoncourt

Album Summary

>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Symphony no 4 in B flat major, Op. 60
>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Symphony no 5 in C minor, Op. 67
Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

In December 2015 Nikolaus Harnoncourt announced that he is stepping down as head of the Concentus Musicus and will not appear again either on the concert stage or in the recording studio. Beethoven Symphonies 4 and 5 will be the maestro's final album. This new recording from the legendary conductor is his ultimate view on Beethoven's symphonies and demonstrates the composer's radicalism in sound. Recorded at two live sold-out concerts at the Musikverien Vienna with the Concentus Musicus Vienna playing on historic instruments. Concentus Musicus Vienna is the orchestra that Harnoncourt founded in 1953 and is the longest existing period instrument ensemble.

For the first time, and for his last recording, in Nikolaus Harnoncourt's unparalleled career, he conducts Beethoven's symphonies 4 and 5 with Concentus Musicus Vienna, the orchestra that he founded in 1953 that is now the longest existing period instrument ensemble. The new album, Beethoven Symphonies 4 and 5, is a live recording from two sold-out concerts at the Musikverein Vienna. While Harnoncourt's Beethoven cycle with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe (recorded in the 1990s) was an historic milestone in the history of interpretation, he always wanted to record these works on historic instruments. For him, it is the only way to demonstrate Beethoven's radicalism in sound. And after sixty years of playing and conducting Beethoven's music, this recording is Harnoncourt's ultimate view on Beethoven's symphonies. Nikolaus Harnoncourt was born in Berlin in 1929 and grew up in Graz, Austria. He has performed and recorded Haydn, Beethoven, Schumann, Schubert, Mendelssohn and Brahms together with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. He has received numerous international awards for his work. There are nearly 500 recordings in his discography, which have been awarded all the major international Classical prizes, including a Grammy AwardŽ in 2002 for his recording of the St. Matthew Passion. In December 2015, the legendary maestro announced his retirement from performing and recording.

BBC Music Magazine, May 2016
The Fourth Symphony is as good a new version as I've heard in a long time... the kind of performance that brings back the sense of discovery and surprise to a slightly over-familiar score.

Financial Times, 12th February 2016
This is Beethoven raw at the edges, the Symphony No. 4 bristling with a truculent, elbow-in-the-ribs kind of humour and a Symphony No. 5 with a taste for melodrama, honking horns, hammer-blow accents and sudden gasps for breath.

Gramophone Magazine, March 2016
The new account of the Fourth Symphony nicely complements the older Chamber Orchestra of Europe version...What is different is a more purposeful tread to the rhythms and some fresh voicings of wind and brass...I'm rather relieved to hear Harnoncourt going out with a bang rather than a whimper. He is too courageous a musician to have done anything less.

The Guardian, 21st February 2016
The speeds are not different to the earlier set, but the transparency and detailing of the instruments has a cinematic quality. From the sublimely mysterious opening of the Fourth, to the electric coda of the last movement of the Fifth with added pauses, this recording burns with intensity and vitality.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Goldener Saal, Musikverein, Vienna (05/08/2015-05/11/2015).



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Works Details

>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Symphony no 4 in B flat major, Op. 60
  • Conductor: Nikolaus Harnoncourt
  • Ensemble: Concentus Musicus Wien
  • Notes: Goldener Saal, Musikverein, Vienna (05/08/2015-05/11/2015)
  • Running Time: 35 min. sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Written: 1807

>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Symphony no 5 in C minor, Op. 67
  • Conductor: Nikolaus Harnoncourt
  • Ensemble: Concentus Musicus Wien
  • Notes: Goldener Saal, Musikverein, Vienna (05/08/2015-05/11/2015)
  • Running Time: 35 min. 1 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Written: 1808