Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Beethoven - Symphonies 4 and 7 / Claudio Abbado Berlin Philharmonic|
Actors: The Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Claudio Abbado, Berliner Philharmoniker
Genres: Indie & Art House, Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
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A Seventh to die for!
Alex Moffat | Wichita Falls, Texas USA | 03/08/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The whole Abbado series never falls below a very high standard, but the Seventh Symphony is something quite extraordinary. If the Berlin Philharmonic has ever played better, I have never encountered the occasion, and I don't expect to. Enthusiasm, musicianship, and precision to this degree are seldom attained, much less combined. I cannot conceive that anyone would prefer von Karajan. I have not heard the Gielen set which is likely to be pretty good too.
Not the least consideration is that Abbado seems to show the same kind of excitement that his orchestra does--or more likelly it's the other way around. I would guess--without any particular knowledge of the facts--that the Seventh might be Abbado's favorite among the Nine, or maybe his absolute favorite, period.
Actually I think the fourth movement is probably played too fast; the tempo is given as allegro con brio, not hyperdrive, but it works anyway because (a) the Berliners can do it, and without sounding rushed, and (b) everybody is visibly having a wonderful time. I have no idea what the metronome marking is, but don't worry about it. Beethoven would like the result, as clearly the audience did.
I think the Fourth Symphony is fine, but it's the Seventh you really must have."
In a word, refreshing!
J. Smith | Dallas, Tx | 09/10/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I purchased Abbado's 2001 performance of Beethoven 4 and 7 on DVD at nearly the same time as Karajan's 1982 studio prduction and what a huge difference!
Here, we see a live performance with Abbado's Berlin in top form. Abbado's "democratic" leadership of the orchestra shows itself in the life that the soloists bring to their moments, points where they get to bring their own unique voice into the mix, seemingly without musical restraint from the conductor. Whereas I get the impression at times that Karajan hates what he is doing, (which seems to transfer to the players' performance) Abbado's facial expressions are deeply tied to the nature of the music he's conducting at the moment, and of his joy in the sounds the players are creating (which also seems contagious.
Abbado's pacing between movements could be considered a little abrupt, but the finale transition seemed utterly appropriate. Also, his tempo on the second movement, while not utterly unique, gave a little bit in key moments such as the move to the legato, major key B section, a very soothing feeling. The biggest difference in the two interpretations by the same orchestra of Beethoven's seventh is the finale, which Karajan absolutely demolishes! If you listen and watch carefully, you will see as Karajan's tense, labored arms drag the tempo down almost to a standstill in the first 8 measures! Abbado's simple and energetic gestures, on the other hand, create the momentum needed to propel this movement forward for a thrilling conclusion.
I don't mean to simply create contrast to display this DVD's merits but in my particular case, I was just beginning to discover classical music DVD's and I had little else to go off of when I purchased these. I will say that the best thing to learn from it is to watch for players that had been around since the Karajan's studio production play under Abbado over 18 years later. While some of them are much older (and many are gone) those seen on both display a renewed vigor with this music under Abbado, a sense of freedom and life quite unlike the previous rendition.
I gave it 4 stars because as enjoyable as Beethoven 7 was, I was not overly impressed with the fourth. I think that partly has to do with the fact that I don't particularly care for the fourth in comparison with most of the others. That being the case, I would say that my critique is in the pairing of the 4th with the 7th. I think the 4th might work better with, say, the 1st or 3rd. I am not sure what it is about the 7th because, as exciting as it can be, it doesn't really seem to work, in my humble opinion, with the 4th. I think the producers of the series could have done better-they paired 3 and 9 together! Why not spread them out a little better? Or, why not pair up symphonies in the manner that Beethoven did? (i.e. 5/6 and 7/8 were written in pairs) This is my thought, I'm sure they had they're reasons.
Overall a very enjoyable experience."