Notes & Reviews:
Manchester Camerata concludes its acclaimed Beethoven cycle with the composer's final Symphony, the glorious Ninth. Like the previous releases in this cycle, these live recordings capture the spirit and freshness of these remarkable, genre-busting works as well as the excitement, atmosphere, and energy of the chamber orchestra under Douglas Boyd, the ensemble's Music Director for 10 years. Manchester Camerata has become one of the finest, most innovative chamber orchestras in the UK, and Boyd has proven to be an eminent Beethovenian.
Manchester Camerata and Douglas Boyd conclude their critically acclaimed Beethoven cycle with a vivid live recording of the Symphony No 9 'Choral'.
Manchester Camerata concludes its acclaimed Beethoven cycle, appropriately with the composer's final Symphony, the glorious Ninth. Like the previous releases in this cycle these live recordings capture the spirit and freshness of these remarkable, genre-busting works, as well as the excitement, atmosphere and energy of the chamber orchestra under Douglas Boyd, the ensemble's Music Director for 10 years.
Manchester Camerata has become one of the finest, most innovative chamber orchestras in the UK, and Douglas Boyd has proven to be an eminent Beethovenian. Conducting the composer's Fidelio at the 2009 Garsington Opera Festival, The Times noted "his grasp of Beethovenian idiom" and "pungent underlining of orchestral detail", praising the musical performance as "sublime and exultant".
Its chief quality is its massive sense of energy. Beefy without being bloated, Boyd's interpretation is particularly good at sustaining momentum in fast movements. Weaknesses? The chorus sounds slightly anaemic in places and the solo singers have harsh moments. But a credit to all - and further evidence that Boyd has serious credentials on the podium.
The main advantage [of the small string section] is that, instead of an obfuscating wall of string sound, there's a more open landscape...[Boyd's] tempos tend towards the brisk, removing, in the opening movement, a measure of gravitas, but replacing that with other qualities. He makes the most of the big moments and the chorus is tumultuously joyful.
Boyd balances the instruments with care and trusts Beethoven's metronome marking...[his] conducting reflects an awareness of magnitude. He doesn't plane jagged edges or reduce vehemence (the finale's recitatives, played as required, explicitly foretell the narrative), yet finds space for the flexibility to express feeling where necessary...Here, then, is a cohesive, powerful but unpretentious interpretation of the Ninth from a musician of high promise.
BBC Music Magazine
This rather small-scale performance of Beethoven's masterpiece is given stature by Boyd's approach, fierily dynamic rather than monumental, and some splendid choral singing.
Fanfare Magazine - Christopher Abbot
The sound throughout the performance is excellent, focused yet filling the soundstage admirably in a resonant acoustic while providing ample detail. Harnoncourt's 20-year-old recording, as good as it is, can't match this new Avie. If forced to choose between this CD and Järvi's RCA disc, the latter would edge the former, mostly due to the expansive yet crisp SACD multichannel sound provided for Järvi and his forces. Boyd's performance, though, is an excellent complement to full-size versions like Claudio Abbado's on DG, and to Emmanuel Krivine's extraordinary period-instrument recording on Naïve, and I happily recommend it.
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Works DetailsBeethoven, Ludwig van : Symphony no 9 in D minor, Op. 125 "Choral"
- Conductor: Douglas Boyd
- Ensemble: Manchester Camerata
- Running Time: 41 min. 33 sec.
- Period Time: Classical
- Form: Orchestral
- Written: 1824
- Studio/Live: Live