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Beethoven: Der glorreiche Augenblich & Choral Fantasia

City of London Choir , Rutter , Wallevik , Hoare , Gadd , McCawley , Wetton , Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Audio CD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Orchestra: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Conductor: Wetton
  • Composer: Rutter, Wallevik, Hoare, Gadd, McCawley
  • Audio CD (February 28, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Naxos
  • ASIN: B006O51CXE
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #179,401 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Editorial Reviews

Beethoven's unusual cantata Der glorreiche Augenblick (The Glorious Moment) is filled with patriotic praise for Vienna and tributes to the kings and princes of Europe after the defeat of Napoleon. It was performed alongside his symphonic Wellington's Victory at its premi+¨re in 1814. The Fantasia in C minor for piano, chorus and orchestra opens with a virtuosic, improvisatory Adagio for the piano. The work's main theme anticipates the famous Ode to Joy setting Beethoven later devised for his Choral Symphony. Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the City of London Choir since 1989, Hilary Davan Wetton was founder/conductor of the Holst Singers and is Conductor Emeritus of the Guildford Choral Society and the Milton Keynes City Orchestra. He appears regularly on BBC Radio 3 and Classic FM, for which he presented the popular series Masterclass. Acknowledged as one of Britain's most prestigious orchestras, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra enjoys an international reputation for bringing audiences worldwide first-class performances and the highest possible standards of music-making across a diverse range of musical repertoire.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Less significant Beethoven in all its glory May 10, 2012
Format:Audio CD
Ludwig van Beethoven's (1770-1827) canata Der Glorrieche Augenblick, or the Glorious Moment, celebrates Vienna and victory over Napoleon in a choral-orchestral setting only the giant Beethoven could have created. While not among his greater compositions, it is clear from the third movement, a soprano solo with choral accompaniment and a violin obbligato, that this was the composer that would later write the titanic Missa Solemnis, one of the most splendid choral works ever written and the most inspiring mass in the classical literature.

Even though this carries a late opus number, 136, this is the middle Beethoven stretching his wings. This composition was premiered in Vienna 1813 but wasn't published until 1837, allegedly due to Beethoven's question over its artistic value. It was accompanied at the premiere by another Beethoven piece given bad press all its life, Wellington's Victory, which celebrates the same military victory.

In six movements for solo quartet, chorus, children's choir and orchestra, The Glorious Moment tells the story of victory in battle and Vienna's glory. The solo soprano sings the role of Vienna in the piece. The current recording was organized during the 2008 season of the Guildford Choral Society under the choir's musical director, Hilary Davan Wetton. It was recorded in two concerts during 2009. They have chosen Beethoven's Choral Fantasy to accompany the work on CD, which I believe a mistake.
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Format:Audio CD
For those of us who have read Beethoven's biography, it is known that the victorious cantata `The Glorious Moment' has received bad reviews, catalogued as an occasion piece to celebrate dignitaries meeting in Vienna at the end of the Napoleonic Wars (with Herr Metternich at the helm). So this is not really `early' Beethoven, even though its Opus 136 does not allocate it along his late string quartets. Actually, this was composed in 1814, after his 8th Symphony and this Choral Fantasia of 1808. Not very productive times for the composer, it seems. When you hear pieces composed around those years, you can recognize a creative struggle (amidst his personal and health woes) in several of his serious pieces (e.g., Piano Sonata No 27) trying to expand his musical language. Needles to say, he was a celebrity in Vienna, so they must have offered him a nice sum to compose this cantata. I understand that some of its text (which is awful as it is) has been changed so as to omit some of the names of those present for the praise. Well, we know how these pieces usually end up (think Prokofiev or Elgar) and this is no exception; still worth hearing.

So this is Beethoven in automatic pilot. You listen intrigued in search of some of his typical touches (some horns here, trumpets there). Melodically and rhythmically it is rather anonymous but not worse than a Spohr or Cherubini. Until you hear the last movement! First, you get the "turkish battery" of cymbals, a wonderful boys' choir and, if not as glorious or forceful as the Ode to Joy, it is its true predecessor in gesture and idiom; much more so than the Choral Fantasia.
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