Beethoven Symphonies No 1 & No 3 (Avie)
Manchester Camerata's latest release in its Beethoven Symphony Series is the most exciting yet. The first and third symphonies (the latter is the 'Eroica') are among the most revolutionary things Beethoven ever wrote - and every orchestra worth its salt (and conductor worth his mettle) has recorded them at some time and has probably played them more times than they could remember.
But this pair of recordings will, I think, make you hear them in a new light. The small size of the Camerata is a big advantage and helps Douglas Boyd gain a huge range of sound, from a tiny thread to a vociferous roar, while allowing the music to be light on its feet and clearly articulated at the kind of lively speeds Beethoven expected.
And there are countless times where Boyd draws out expressive phrasing and exciting surges of energy which seem very much in sympathy with the way the symphonies were meant to be heard when newly minted.
Review by Robert Beale, Manchester Evening News, 23 October 2009
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