Gottlieb Wallisch / Martin Haselböck / Wiener Akademie Orchester

Resound Beethoven, Vol. 6: Symphony 8 & Concerto for Piano after the Violin Concerto

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Resound Beethoven, Vol. 6: Symphony 8 & Concerto for Piano after the Violin Concerto Review

by Blair Sanderson

Since 2015, Martin Haselböck and the Wiener Akademie Orchester have been releasing splendid recordings of the symphonies of Ludwig van Beethoven on Alpha, delivering period style performances in fantastic near-audiophile sound. While historically informed performances of Beethoven's symphonies are now quite common, and most series are competitive for the high quality of the interpretations and the playing, Haselböck's cycle stands out for the unusual pairings with works that are seldom if ever included in such recordings. Thus, the Re-Sound Beethoven series of the symphonies includes Wellington's Victory, the incidental music for Goethe's Egmont, and the Septet in E flat major, which bring variety and an element of surprise to these special discs. For Volume 6, the Symphony No. 8 in F major is matched up with the Piano Concerto in D major after the Violin Concerto, and even though there are no apparent similarities or connections between the works, the common middle-period style is enough of a unifying factor to make the pairing agreeable. Gottlieb Wallisch performs the concerto on a robust-sounding fortepiano, and the orchestra provides a well-balanced accompaniment that is supportive without becoming too prominent, so fans of this rarity can appreciate its unique features without constantly being reminded of the original version. However, Haselböck and the orchestra offer a substantial performance of the Symphony No. 8 that feels assured and buoyant, giving Beethoven's humor free rein. Alpha's reproduction is wonderfully clear and full of presence, so both works are heard to best advantage for stereo recordings.

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