[ Harmonia Mundi / 2 CD ]
Release Date: Friday 12 June 2020
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A fantasy that turned into a symphony? First and foremost, this double album enshrines the exemplary work of an ensemble whose designation 'Baroque Orchestra' by no means limits its excursions into later repertories: under the watchful eye of a gifted conductor, the 'Freiburgers' (and co.) offer us a profoundly renewed vision of the Ninth, that myth among myths, that touchstone of a genre in quest of the absolute - and the direct descendant of a much earlier 'Choral Fantasy'. The latter work showcased one of Beethoven's most extraordinary talents: improvisation. Kristian Bezuidenhout has joined forces again with his concerto partners to let us experience this little-known score as if it had just been premiered . . . then transcribed by Beethoven himself.
"It goes beyond [Hogwood and Norrington], not in the remarkable speed at which it all moves, but in the intensity with which every player invests his part in its fury and wildness…I hadn't heard Pablo Heras-Casado and the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra before, but there is evidently an exceptionally close relationship between and among them, and the effect is devastating…Listen and be amazed." - Five Stars BBC Music Magazine September 2020 Orchestral Choice
"it's the Ninth that's the revelation, thanks to the rightness of Heras-Casado's tempos (never has the mighty first movement sounded so relentless), the intricate, incisive rhythms, the clarity that makes Beethoven's revolutionary scoring endlessly startling (thrillingly prominent horns and bassoons), and the inspired soloists and chorus." Sunday Times28th June 2020