Heinrich Schiff

Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 2 & 3

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This Berlin Classics disc was a surprise in its day, and it remains fresh in this 2008 reissue. When first released in early 1995, some listeners did not know at first what to make of performances of Beethoven's Second and Third symphonies directed by a cellist and played by a chamber orchestra. At the time Heinrich Schiff was well known as one of Germany's top cellists, and his wisdom in branching out into conducting was at first questioned. But the clarity of his direction, the strength of his rhythms, and especially the cogency of his interpretations here convinced most listeners that Schiff was capable of excellence as a conductor. With the spirited virtuoso performances of Die Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Schiff found an orchestra to deliver highly charged and potent performances that admirably suit the music. Though some listeners rejected the performances' lightness and some enthusiasts of period-instrument performances rejected the use of modern instruments, these versions in this sparkling 2008 remastering are likely to please those with open ears.

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