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  • Discovering Beethoven: Symphonies Nos 1 2 & 3
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Discovering Beethoven: Symphonies Nos 1 2 & 3

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Discovering Beethoven: Symphonies Nos 1 2 & 3 + Symphonies 4 & 5 & 6 + Beethoven, Symphonies 7, 8, 9 / Discovering Beethoven
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Product Details

  • Format: Classical, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: German
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish, Italian, Korean, Chinese, Japanese
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: C Major Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: February 22, 2011
  • Run Time: 326 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0047QRXZS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #322,169 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Christian Thielemann conducts the Vienna Philharmonic. Also included is a one hour documentary for each symphony featuring legendary footage of performances from Karajan, Bernstein, Boehm, Jarvi, and more.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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See all 10 customer reviews
After all, Thielemann has made excellent rendering of some symphonies of Bruckner with the Munich Orchestra.
I wonder if, perhaps, Thielemann will revisit these works later in his career and find more in them than he does at this point in time.
Mark E. Stenroos
These are, for better or for worse, very "Teutonic" interpretations, as are the two overtures in their severe splendor.
Gerhard P. Knapp

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Gerhard P. Knapp on March 8, 2011
Format: DVD
Christian Thielemann's readings of the first three Beethoven symphonies in splendid video and uncompressed audio are first-rate interpretations, though rather slow and painstakingly detail-focused. The Wiener Philharmoniker - at first in somewhat smaller complement, then, alas, in increasing strength - play exceedingly well, as can be expected. These are "traditional" interpretations, definitely not of the "historical" or "period" schools. Thielemann, however, is well aware of their accomplishments and he lets the woodwinds, brass and timpani (he often has hard sticks) shine through the rather dense strings fabric wherever he sees fit. I must admit that, after decades of listening (often uneasily) to "big band", bombastic, homogenized Beethoven, my ears opened wide with more recent developments. My reference recordings are: Norrington's 2002 Stuttgart Cycle (CD), Gielen (DVD) and, just recently discovered, Paavo Järvi's Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen cycle on DVD, which I find revelatory and a towering achievement. Next to these, Thielemann can still hold his own. As we know from his Bruckner readings, he is always conscious of the work as a whole and, moreover, of the totality of Beethoven's symphonic cosmos. He does underplay the incredible vigor and unbound energy of the First. His grip on the Second and Third is much better, although I still miss some of the heaven-storming energy, which he replaces with gravitas and strength. This is the reason for my four stars. These are, for better or for worse, very "Teutonic" interpretations, as are the two overtures in their severe splendor. The bonus work(shop) dialogues with Joachim Kaiser are stimulating, both participants in accord most of the time. I would have wished for a bit more productive dissent.
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Format: Blu-ray
This is, on the face of it, a very generous and tempting coupling of Beethoven's first three symphonies plus two overtures all on one disc. The recording company, C Major, is in my opinion one of the very best working today. As a result we get unfailingly excellent surround sound and high quality visuals with sympathetic and knowledgeable camera work. So what of the actual performances?

Thielemann is very much his own man in this important respect. What we have here is 'big band' Beethoven with a large modern orchestra. There is no effort made to reproduce in any way the sound world that Beethoven inhabited. The textures presented here are fuller and more luscious in contrast to the sparer and rawer sounds that 'authentic' instruments deliver. Thielemann favours a well upholstered sound world and for this he is much appreciated by his Viennese audiences. It will also appeal to all listeners at home who find the 'authentic' approach rather too lean for their taste.

Thielemann goes further than just the sound world though and adopts a 'Romantic Period' approach to expression that would fit easily with Berlioz (think of his Fantastic Symphony)and the later Romantics. This is achieved by extensive variations of speed and dynamics, none of which can be found in the score. Indeed by contrast, Beethoven's own instructions for speed, with very fast and steady metronome markings, have often raised doubts about the feasibility of performances at that rate. This has now been answered by the authentic movement who can give lithe performances possible at those speeds with their reduced orchestras and playing on more flexible older instruments.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mark E. Stenroos on June 18, 2012
Format: Blu-ray
These are willful interpretations that - IMHO - say a lot about Christian Thielemann and, occasionally, something important about Ludwig van Beethoven as well.

The performances of these early symphonies themselves are episodic, to put it kindly. It's one thing to fail to successfully link the sections of a given symphonic movement together into a whole, thereby unwittingly allowing us hear the seams in a work. It's quite another thing to create seams where none previously existed. This is a real debit in Thielemann's overall approach to the earlier works, IMO, especially as his performances of the later symphonies reflect a more traditional and moderate (read: successful) approach to Beethoven.

In the plus column, Thielemann observes every repeat in every symphony, and the Vienna Philharmonic sounds wonderful throughout.

On to the works themselves:

Thielemann has no love and carries no brief for Symphonies 1 & 2. I get the feeling that CT would have been fine recording only Symphonies 3 - 9 were that an option. Sym I/iii is raced through with little regard for nuance of any sort. Ensemble problems abound, mostly on the small scale, but they are there.

The overt classicism of the two early symphonies holds no enchantment for Maestro Thielemann. Fast movements are uncomfortably fast, with the slow movements being self-consciously slow. I'm not hearing any great interpretive insights in either symphony. Thielemann seems more concerned with doing a physical impersonation of the "relaxed energy" conducting styles of Carlos Keliber and Wilhelm Furtwängler than attending to what's going on right in front of him. Unfortunately for the listener, Thielemann's relaxation often verges on the indifferent.
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