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Player Picks: Beethoven Symphony 7 & Schubert Symphony 9

Mon Apr 7 2014

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Ahead of our Gamechangers: Symphonic Greats concert at the Royal Festival Hall we asked OAE players for their recommended recordings of the music featured in the concert – Beethoven’s Symphony No.7 and Schubert’s Symphony No.9, Great.

“I would recommend the recording of Beethoven’s symphony number 7 played by the London Classical Players, conducted by Sir Roger Norrington. This series of recordings were groundbreaking in their day, for a number of reasons. One of which was that it was the first time Beethoven symphonies were being recorded on period instruments. This in turn resulted in considerably livelier tempo markings. stood out in these recordings were the attention paid to the literal tempo markings, to those we had all grown up listening to.”
Chi-chi Nwanoku MBE, Principal Double Bass
Beethoven 7: Sir Roger Norrington and the London Classical Players: Available as part of a Beethoven box set on Virgin.

“The OAE recording of Schubert 9 with Sir Charles Mackerras way back when  is absolutely fantastic! It was amongst the orchestra’s first recordings, and Sir Charles had such an immense vision in mind with an unfaltering commitment to original  tempi and Schubertian style that together we really broke new ground with the recording. People the world over traditionally call the piece the ‘C’ monster because of it’s epic dimensions, which I also think probably attribute to the sometimes laboured and therefore agonisingly exhausting way to play it. With Sir Charles our interpretation was fresh and had a specific energy that lifted the entire work from beginning to end.”
Chi-chi Nwanoku MBE, Principal Double Bass
Schubert 9: Sir Charles Mackerras and the OAE: Available in the OAE Shop

OAE Librarian Colin Kitching recommends the same recordings calling the Beethoven  “gamechanging” (appropriately) and describing the Schubert as “an OAE milestone”

Again, OAE Leader Margaret Faultless goes for the same recordings, as well as Norrington’s recording of Schubert 9, describing his recordings as “provocative  but great music making”
Schubert 9: Sir Roger Norrington and the London Classical Players – currently unavailable, sadly

“For Beethoven 7, a very old LP of Leonard Bernstein conducting the New York Philharmonic. As a teenager, whenever I had to stay home from school due to illness, I would spend hours lying on the sofa listening to the complete set. This ended up coming in very handy, because the first time I got the opportunity to perform Beethoven symphonies was with less than 24 hours notice and virtually no rehearsal time. Luckily I knew them very well by ear.”
Debbie Diamond, violinBeethoven 7: Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic – available as part of a box set on Sony Classics

“I would definitely recommend the following recordings for Beethoven 7: Carlos Kleiber; Zinman; Harnoncourt; and a new period perf by Emmanuel Krivine. If you only wanted 2, modern and period I would go for first and last.”
Martin Kelly, viola
Beethoven 7: Carlos Kleiber and the Vienna Philharmonic – available on Deutsche Gramophon
Emmanuel Krivine and La Chambre Philharmonique – available on Naive

Listen to Beethoven Symphony 7 and Schubert Symphony 9 live at the Royal Festival Hall tomorrow, 8 April.

One Comment

  • I agree with Chi-chi about the LCP’s recording of the Beethoven. A very close second for mew is the NBC Symphony Orchestra under Toscanini — the last movememnt is astonishing and leaves you completely breathless! As for the Schubert, I have a slight preference for Roy Goodman’s recording.

    David Samuels Mon Apr 7 2014