Philippe Jordan and the Vienna Symphony Orchestra have been collaborating since 2011, notably releasing their first album of Franz Schubert's final symphonies in 2015. For their 2017 debut on Solo Musica, Jordan and his orchestra have turned to Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony No. 1 in C major and the Symphony No. 3 in E flat major, "Eroica," performed in concert in Vienna. This is the beginning of a full Beethoven cycle on CD, a first for the Vienna Symphony, and Jordan's second foray into the symphonies, following his DVD release on Arthaus Musik, and listeners will anticipate the series with excitement, considering the vitality and clarity of these performances. The Symphony No. 1 is played in approximate Classical style, with the taking of repeats, minimal vibrato, brisk tempos, and crisp articulation, and though the instrumentation appears to be conventional, the sound is lean and muscular, distinctly not modern in tone or texture. Indeed, the Finale is played with such energy and sprightliness, it could pass as a historically informed performance. The Symphony No. 3 is also performed with a strong period feeling, and despite occasional fluctuations of tempo and touches of rubato, Jordan seems to have avoided the exaggerations of 20th century mainstream interpretations, and brought some pugnacity back to this revolutionary score. The resonant acoustics of the Great Hall of the Musikverein Wien give these performances a luster that enhances the depth of the music without blurring sonorities.
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AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Symphony No. 1 in C major Op. 21|
|Symphony No. 3 in E-flat major Op. 55 "Eroica"|