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On the Performance of Beethoven's Symphonies and Other Essays - Felix Weingartner - Google книги
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Felix Weingartner : On The Performance Of Beethoven's Symphonies And Other Essays
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Christopher Hogwood in — recorded, as it happens, nearly 30 years to the day in the Kingsway Hall after Karajan and the Philharmonia — deployed a piece Academy of Ancient Music which he directed from the fortepiano.
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Hogwood avoids stealing time in the name of expressivity — once set, the pulse is the pulse is the pulse. The roughed-up sound — timpani hollering, brass producing a tone nothing like a conventional orchestral section — was a shock at the time, but Norrington relished explaining himself in the media. But the theatre of the Scherzo and finale clearly appeal to Gardiner; I love the chivalrous call-and-response woodwind and strings in the third movement, and the chattering, shattering, clattering grandeur of the finale is something very special. But where did finding a future in the past leave conductors of the previous generation?
This is where it becomes easy to dismiss performances that ordinarily would be pleasing but, with the whole recorded history at your fingertips, start to feel workaday. Karajan in is clinical and lacking in the ardour of old; pinched phrasing and those same-old same-old slow tempi not cutting the mustard in the new reality. Bernstein in with the Vienna Philharmonic is quite the revelation. There are some cranky tactics around — the transition in the finale from Adagio introduction to the Allegro molto e vivace takes so long that you can only assume Bernstein is waiting for planning permission.
But, far from the suspicion that late Bernstein means slow Bernstein, his racy tempi reconnect the symphony with the dance; the last few pages of the finale are a bona fide show-stopper. David Zinman with the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich was, in , the first conductor to take up this new edition, although his added expressive ornaments were not without controversy. I like the way Zinman slightly raises the bassoon in the mix — check out its deadpan rising scales in the finale — although others may find the effect synthetic.
The coincidence of Sir Simon Rattle with the Vienna Philharmonic and Claudio Abbado and the Berlin Philharmonic releasing Beethoven cycles within a few months of each other was inevitably written up as the battle of the maestros. Abbado, recorded a year earlier, seems to be looking back towards Toscanini at least in terms of tempo, although some would argue texture too.
Rattle lives to fight another day, though. But three releases that appeared in — Riccardo Chailly with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Emmanuel Krivine with La Chambre Philharmonique and Christian Thielemann with the Vienna Philharmonic — helped crystallise the arguments and point the way forward. Krivine wisely conducts in dog years in comparison, but Chailly really does fill one with hope for the future. Nothing quite prepares you for the sheer physical lash of the playing; but no details have been lost in terms of personality and shaping.
Out of all the modern versions, Chailly is a clear front-runner; and, given that Toscanini in is my historic choice, this symphony clearly brings out something of the Italian in me. But the fascination here is in the wild cards. With Beethoven those terms must always remain under review. The beat goes on. Blink and you miss the boat. Toscanini Naxos 8 Buy from Amazon.
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