John Eliot Gardiner / Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique

Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 5 & 7 - Live at Carnegie Hall

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John Eliot Gardiner and the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique were part of the late 20th century vanguard that introduced period performance practices to the symphonies of Ludwig van Beethoven, and their classic 1994 cycle alerted musicians everywhere to the possibilities of applying historical research to familiar warhorses. On November 16, 2011, Gardiner and his musicians revisited the Symphony No. 5 in C minor and the Symphony No. 7 in A major in a concert at Carnegie Hall, recorded by WQXR, and the performances compare favorably with the earier recordings on Archiv. Gardiner's Beethoven is almost always brisk and bristling with nervous energy, and this is apparent in the quick tempos and the sharp attacks he asks of his players. Even the slow movements are played con moto, with a real feeling of forward motion and urgency that almost seems aggressive. But this style of playing Beethoven has won many supporters and practically become mainstream, as historically informed performances increase in availability and audiences learn to appreciate the sounds of authentic instruments, the appropriate Classical ensemble size, and the techniques that were employed in Beethoven's time. While the performances meet the highest expectations, from time to time the audio is a little unbalanced in dynamics, suggesting a problem with microphone placement or mixing.

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