20. September 2018

CD und Cover Beethoven Symphonies 2/7

Invitation to the Road to Beethoven 

The first two recordings in the Wiener Symphoniker’s Beethoven’s symphony cycle met with universal acclaim from critics and audiences alike. Now the third part, in the form of Symphonies No. 2 and 7, is being released under the orchestra’s in-house label distributed by Sony Music. The CD is part of the Wiener Symphoniker’s Road to Beethoven, a project to prepare for the year 2020, the 250th anniversary of the composer who is indelibly associated with Vienna and has become a towering father-figure for classical music.

Great success of their first two CDs 

With this new release, the Wiener Symphoniker are hoping to follow up on the great success of their first two CDs in the cycle. Both the first CD with Symphonies Nos. 1 and 3 and the second with Nos. 4 and 5 have been picked as “CD of the month” by various international music magazines.  Based on these releases, the British Gramophone Magazine nominated the orchestra for “Orchestra of the Year 2018”.  In particular, the magazine praised Jordan’s approach of combining the classic Viennese sound with a more modern, leaner interpretation, original tempos and insights from  historically informed performance. For Jordan, the content of the music was paramount. His goal was not to revere Beethoven as a monument but rather to present him in a more “natural, direct and personal” way.   

The Second is Beethoven’s most melodic symphony, a veritable cornucopia of melodies

With Symphonies No. 2 and 7, the CD offers two works that Philippe Jordan considers to be among the composer’s most cheerful and melodic.  “The Second is Beethoven’s most melodic symphony, a veritable cornucopia of melodies in each of the four movements. It’s true that Beethoven has a reputation of not exactly being the most melodic composer. But in the Second, he shows us in a quite special way just how he can sing.  Beethoven has an amazing sense of humour too, and in the Second Symphony this comes through in a very positive and lyrical way.  Geniality paired with incredible wit and surprising punchlines. The Seventh also radiates cheerfulness and joy, which is probably why it’s one of Beethoven’s most popular and frequently performed symphonies.  His only symphony that isn’t striving towards something but simply is. A certain dancing quality is also an important aspect. In the Seventh, rhythm is emancipated. But right from the introduction, the symphony is melodic, like an invitation to a beautiful evening.” 

A milestone in the history of the Wiener Symphoniker

Johannes Neubert, Managing Director of the Wiener Symphoniker, comments: “Because this CD project is our first recording of the cycle, it’s a milestone in the history of the Wiener Symphoniker. Which makes us all the more pleased with the wonderful reactions. It’s also our intention with this CD to invite the audience to discover something new in Beethoven.”

The Wiener Symphoniker took their place in musical history when they performed the world premieres of works by Bruckner, Ravel and Schoenberg. Led by illustrious conductors such as Wilhelm Furtwängler, Herbert von Karajan, Carlo Maria Giulini and Georges Prêtre, they gained worldwide renown for their Viennese sound.  In the light of this magnificent, one-hundred-year history it seems all the more surprising that the orchestra has never before recorded a cycle of Beethoven’s nine symphonies, often described as the pinnacle of the symphonic repertoire, on CD.

The whole project will be available in time for the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth in 2020.

Since autumn 2017, the orchestra has been closing this gap in its discography: every six months, it releases another instalment of its five-disc cycle of the complete symphonic work of this great, adoptive Viennese composer. The whole project will be available in time for the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth in 2020. The symphonies were recorded live at the Golden Hall of the Musikverein during an acclaimed cycle in spring/summer 2017 under the artistic leadership of Music Director Philippe Jordan.

The CD will be released in Germany, Austria and Switzerland on 21 September and in the rest of Europe and the USA a week later on 28 September. It will be available on iTunes, Amazon and from all good retailers.


"You sense the engagement and vitality of these performances, the players seem to be wanting to be playing this music and keen to convey their enthusiasm to you."


"These are overwhelmingly positive, uplifting performances, superbly played to boot."

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