The Road to Beethoven
For the first time in their history, the Wiener Symphoniker will release a complete Beethoven symphonies cycle on CD
The Wiener Symphoniker wrote music history with the first performances of works by Bruckner, Ravel and Schoenberg. And under the baton of such illustrious music directors
as Wilhelm Furtwängler, Herbert von Karajan, Carlo Maria Giulinior Georges Prêtrethey acquired worldwide fame for their unique Viennese sound. Considering itsrich, more than a century long history, it comes as a surprise that the orchestra has never before recorded a full cycle of the nine symphonies by Ludwig van Beethoven which are widely considered toconstitute the apex of the symphonic repertoire.
This shortcoming is about to be remedied: Starting in autumn 2017, the Wiener Symphoniker will release the full cycle on 5 CDs. With a new CDof the series to be released every 6 months, the full cycle will be completed just in time for the 250th anniversary of the birth of Beethoven in 2020. The symphonies were recorded live during a critically acclaimed concert cycle in Spring/Summer 2017 in the Great Hall of the Musikverein Wien.
At these concerts, the international press specifically praised Jordan’s approach to combininga traditional Viennese sound with a more contemporary, slimmed down interpretation of the material, original tempi and insights from the historically informed performance practice. Through a close reading of the score and by focusing on the content of the works,Jordan aimed to create – in his words – a “more natural, direct, humanised“ image of the famous composer.
A key work for this approach constitutes, in Jordan’s mind, the Third Symphony E-flat major op.55 „Eroica“ – which will be included on the firstCD of the series alongside the First Symphony C Major op. 21. According to Jordan, both works are unified in their portrayal of Beethoven‘s immense, innovative, revolutionary creative will. In its perusal of thePrometheus-myth the “Eroica” has additional meaning for Jordan’s depiction of Beethoven as an essentially modern and human composer: “In the way Beethoven uses the Prometheus theme, the composer reveals his fascination for the eventual failing of mankind not his heroic deeds.”
The first CD of the Wiener Symphoniker’sBeethoven cycle will be released on 13 October in the UK and on 20 October in the US. For further info, video and interviews visit www.symphoniker.at.