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Beethoven: Symphonies / Overtures Box set, Import


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Audio CD, Box set, Import, April 8, 2008
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$47.95
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Beethoven: Symphonies / Overtures + Concerto pour deux pianos et orchestre / Concert Champetre / Suite Francaise
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Product Details

  • Performer: Klaus Schredl, Bart Meynckens, Anne-Kristiina Kaappola, Annelies Coene, Elisabeth Hermans
  • Orchestra: Anima Eterna Orchestra
  • Conductor: Jos van Immerseel
  • Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Audio CD (April 8, 2008)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 6
  • Format: Box set, Import
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: Zig Zag
  • ASIN: B0014WSWTY
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,313 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Editorial Reviews

Customer Reviews

This recording of the 5th symphony is the best I've ever heard.
Blake DeBiase
For that reason it deserves very serious consideration as a potential purchase either as an 'only' set of performances or as a comparative set.
I. Giles
We can really feel them as fresh, vibrant, alive music - highlighting that "inevitability" that Bernstein used to praise about Beethoven.
Roberto Alves

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Walter Meersman on July 22, 2008
Format: Audio CD
Here is a Beethoven symphony cycle (again) on period instruments (again). So why should it stick out in the midst of dozens of other cycles ? Yet it does stick out.
These symphonies by Jos Van Immerseel and his small-scale orchestra Anima Eterna are all fresh, full of tintillating life. In fact, the orchestra is perfectly modelled on the size of the symphony orchestra in Beethoven's time, everything has been done in an effort to recreate the sound that Beethoven sought to create and that he would have heard (or wish to hear)himself. The details about the research and the production are explained in a well-written multilingual booklet included in the box.
The sounds. These symphonies are a wealth of sounds, I have never before heard the percussion so clearly and the same goes for practically every individual instrument and yet the music flows and sings with all instruments together, dynamically and harmoniously : this is pure heaven.
I'm very fond of Beethoven's symphonies and I have some two dozen complete cycles in my collection but this one goes straight to the top as one of the very, very best.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Roberto Alves on July 21, 2008
Format: Audio CD
When Hector Berlioz discovered Beethoven Symphonies through the Société des Concerts du Conservatoire in Paris (in 1828), he wrote: "At another point on the horizon, I saw the immense Beethoven rising. The jolt this gave me was almost comparable to the one I had received from Shakespeare. He opened up a new world in music for me, just as the playwright had revealed to me a new universe in poetry."

This would be a very accurate description of what I felt when I listened to this rendition of these Symphonies. And I know them, and enjoy them, and I have the Karajan, Bernstein and Gardiner recordings. I thought there could be no more surprises, no new recording to improve what has been made until now. But I was wrong.

Jos van Immerseel and Anima Eterna get these compositons right. We can really feel them as fresh, vibrant, alive music - highlighting that "inevitability" that Bernstein used to praise about Beethoven.

If I had to choose only one recording of the Symphonies to take with me, I would choose this one (and this one is the one I have in my iPod, to take with me all the time!)
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By James Walley on September 12, 2012
Format: Audio CD
Another original-instrument performance of Beethoven's symphonies. What makes these different from the many other such cycles currently available on disc centers around three points, as set forth in a fascinating explanatory essay by Immerseel found in the booklet: 1) These not only use "original instruments," but instruments specific to the Vienna of Beethoven's time, allegedly different-sounding from and pitched higher than those used in other cities in Europe. 2) Extensive research into musical performances in the Vienna of that time, leading to an orchestra size ranging from the high thirties to the low forties (as opposed to the sixty or so players used in other original-instrument cycles). 3) Eschewing the idea of creative "interpretation" of the music, in favor of the "declamation" practices of the time, based on a strictly literal following of the composer's tempi and dynamics.

So, does it succeed? On the first two points, quite well indeed. Under Immerseel's direction, Anima Eterna produce a "big" sound that belies the small number of players -- in terms of sonic impact, what we hear on this set is every bit the equal of the "big orchestra" sound of Beethoven cycles from leading orchestras such as the Berlin Philharmonic or Chicago Symphony. The sound of the Viennese "instrumentarium" is also mostly a smashing success, with richly colored woodwinds and quicksilver strings. Only the brass disappoints a bit; granted, all Classical-era brass instruments pale somewhat when compared to their modern equivalents, but the horns in Anima Eterna, in particular, don't quite hit a smooth pitch at far too many moments in this cycle, the solo passage in the third movement of the Ninth being a prime example.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Larry VanDeSande VINE VOICE on January 30, 2009
Format: Audio CD
While nothing in the Jos van Immerseel-Anima Eterna collaboration on Beethoven's symphonies and overtures gave me reason to dump Roger Norrington's first batch, with the London Classical Players, from my personal mountaintop of period couplings, it gave me plenty to chew on and think about and, occasionally, great musicmaking. For the uninitiated, Immerseel is the keyboardist-cum-conductor founder of Anima Eterna, a band of 45 or so players that use period instruments, some originals and others copies, and gut strings. Unlike recent Beethoven recordings by Haitink, Vanska and Norrington that used modern instruments and period-induced style, this set stays true to period mantra by using old instruments.

My experience with Immerseel as chamber musician, soloist and conductor tells me he is a musical moderate, not a dogmatist in the Norrington mold. His interpretations of the symphonies tend to moderate, with only No. 7 being what I would call full blown in your face conducting. The performances are generally satisfying. I would say Symphonies 1,2,4, 5 and 8 are all good or better and 7 is one of the best performances I've ever heard. Commonplace interesting musical details leap out at the listener on every disk, as well. The overtures are lively and the marcia alla turca section from the Ruins of Athens sounds different than any version I've ever heard because of the Turkish band Immerseel put together to play it.

But I grade Beethoven sets on how the forces do with the magnanimous triplets -- Symphonies Nos. 3, 6 and 9. Here, I would say Immerseel is not always at his best. The Eroica lacks the gravity most adhere to it while 6 starts a little fast for my taste, even though I was humming along by the end. Symphony No.
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