Mariss Jansons / Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra

Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 2

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Mariss Jansons and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra have found a fresh take on recording the nine symphonies of Ludwig van Beethoven, and that is to program them with commissioned orchestral works that reflect certain musical or biographical aspects reflected in the works. For the CD that starts off Jansons' live cycle on BR Klassik, the Symphony No. 1 in C major and the Symphony No. 2 in D major are matched up with Johannes Maria Staud's Maniai, which alludes to the rapid scales in the Symphony No. 1, as well as to the Furies of Greek mythology, and Misato Mochizuki's Nirai, an intermezzo based on material from the Symphony No. 2 and the Symphony No. 6. Jansons commissioned these works to show the relevance of Beethoven's music to composers today, and the concepts they play with provide food for thought for the audience. However, some listeners will find the contrasts between Beethoven's early Romantic music and these modern essays somewhat jarring, and the purposes behind the pieces may seem merely arcane to the uninitiated. While the mainstream performances of the symphonies are quite exciting and enjoyable, the works by Staud and Mochizuki are recommended for adventurous listeners.

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