BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 3 in E flat, Op. 55 "Eroica." Symphony No. 4 in B flat, Op. 60.
Polish Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra-Sopot/Wojceich Rajski, cond.
TACET SACD S 171 TT: 79:05
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BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125 "Choral."
Christiane Oelze, soprano; Petra Lang, alto; Klaus Florian Vogt, tenor; Matthias Goerne, baritone; Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen/Paavo Järvi, cond,.
RCA RED SEAL SACD 88697576062 TT: 63:55
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BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125 "Choral."
Christiane Oelze, soprano; Ingeborg Danz, alto; Christoph Strehl, tenor; David Wilson-Johnson, baritone; Collegium Vocale Genty; Academia Chigiana Siena; Royal Flemish Philharmonic/Philippe Herreweghe, cond.
PENTATONE SACD PTC 5186 317 TT: 60:59
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The enterprising Tacet label continues their unique series of Beethoven symphonies (only No. 9 is yet to be released), with this generously-filled disk of Symphony No. 3 and Symphony No. 4. As with previous issues, the performances by the first-rate Polish Chamber Philharmonic and conductor Wojceich Rajski are superbly played, although this brisk Eroica hardly plumbs the depths of the music. But it is exciting to listen to because of Tacet's imaginative engineering. A chart is supplied for each symphony showing placement of various instruments, and directionality of the sound is precise. This produces extraordinary clarity, as if one were in the center of the orchestra (where the conductor is), a unique and often thrilling listening experience. The acoustic is resonant, giving splendid presence to all instruments. Highly recommended on all counts!

And we have two new SACD issues of Beethoven's Ninth, both in "authentic" style, the culmination of each conductor's cycle. There are several outstanding surround sound recordings of this music, particularly those by Vanska, Haitink and Masur, not to mention several DVDs: the one with Claudio Abbado and the Berlin Philharmonic is particularly memorable (REVIEW). Both of the new recordings present Beethoven's mighty symphony in diluted form. Excellent soloists (soprano Christiane Oelze sings in both), but the orchestras and choruses are small; the music needs more than what is heard here.

R.E.B. (March 2010)

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