Beethoven: Complete Symphonies & Ouvertures (6CD)

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Anime Eterna Brugge, Jos Van Immerseel

Here is a superb new set of the most famous symphonies in our musical culture, brilliantly played on period instruments. Jos van Immerseel and his highly skilled Flanders-based orchestra Anima Eterna play at modern pitch (A=440), which they have established was done in Beethoven’s Vienna. As the composer had to make do with motley collections of amateurs and professionals and couldn’t hear a thing after about 1817, this is better than anything he experienced. Van Immerseel’s interpretations are exciting but always musical. (The Observer Daily Mail).

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Ludwig van Beethoven:

Symphony No. 1 in C major, Op. 21

Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 36

Symphony No. 3 in E flat major, Op. 55 'Eroica'

Symphony No. 4 in B flat major, Op. 60

Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67

Symphony No. 6 in F major, Op. 68 'Pastoral'

Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92

Symphony No. 8 in F major, Op. 93

Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125 'Choral'
Thomas E. Bauer (baritone), Markus Schäfer (tenor), Anna-Kristiina Kaappola (soprano), Marianne Beate Kielland (mezzo-soprano)

The Creatures of Prometheus Overture, Op. 43

Coriolan Overture, Op. 62

Egmont Incidental Music, Op. 84: Overture

The Ruins of Athens Overture, Op. 113

Beethoven: Consecration of the House Overture, Op. 124

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The Classical Music Collector

"It is not that long ago that a paradigm-shift occurred in the performance of Beethoven’s symphonies. Where previously interpreters had erred on the side of being respectful—sometimes to the point of obsequiousness—and given us wholesome, if not ploddingly dull, interpretations, younger performers were beginning to take a sceptical look at the scores and the performance practice of Beethoven’s time. Their conclusions were dramatic: Beethoven’s orchestra and his instruments were very unlike the modern orchestra; Beethoven’s style was radical, not grandiose; and most importantly, we got his tempos wrong! And let’s face it: respectability was not one of Beethoven’s strongest suits. There have been quite a number of recent sets of the symphonies that attempt to provide more authentic readings, by Norrington and Hogwood among others, but none are quite as stunning as these by Jos van Immerseel and his band, Anima Eterna Brugge, previously available on ZigZag. The iconic Fifth Symphony becomes, in Immerseel’s hands, a new work, racy, powerful, and exciting. But my favourite is the Sixth, the Pastoral, with the older wind instruments sounding so much more like the birds they are intended to mimic. This set is, of course, not for everyone, but if you want to encounter a vibrant, boundary-pushing, rather than a museum-culture Beethoven, this one’s for you!" - Chris Dench