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BEETHOVEN: OVERTURES; HAYDN: SYMPHONY NO. 101; BRAHMS: HAYDN VARIATIONS - VAN BEINUM, CONCERTGEBOUW ORCHESTRA (2 CDS)

BEETHOVEN: OVERTURES; HAYDN: SYMPHONY NO. 101; BRAHMS: HAYDN VARIATIONS - VAN BEINUM, CONCERTGEBOUW ORCHESTRA (2 CDS)

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A newly remastered collection of Decca and Philips recordings made by under-rated Dutch conductor in Austro-German classics, Eduard van Beinum, including a little-known account of Beethoven’s ‘Prometheus’ Overture.

The ballet music which Beethoven wrote to complement his overture was as little-heard in 1952 as it is now. Eduard van Beinum recorded eight numbers from the complete score, evidently enjoying the lighter side of the composer, as part of a growing and successful relationship with the London Philharmonic Orchestra now documented on Eloquence and complementing the work he did with his band ‘at home’, the Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam.

As Niek Nelissen’s documentary essay details in the booklet, the LPO musicians were as keenly appreciative of Van Beinum’s unfussily musical good sense as many listeners at home; they noted how he achieved orchestral discipline without resorting to the tactics of contemporary tyrants of the podium and encouraged a natural fluency of phrasing. Under him the overtures ‘Egmont’, ‘Coriolan’, ‘Consecration of the House’, ‘Prometheus’, ‘Fidelio’ and ‘Leonore III’ do not sound like some lesser form of symphonic music but the exciting curtain-raisers Beethoven intended them to be and which put the listener in the mood for a dramatic story. These 1949–52 recordings are complemented by a previous ‘Prometheus’ Overture, set down in Kingsway Hall in November 1946, in the same sessions as an ‘alert and biting statement’ (High Fidelity, November 1952) of the ‘Military’ Symphony by Haydn.

This collection ends with the work that Van Beinum put on record more often than any other composition: the ‘Haydn Variations’ of Brahms. This is the third of his four studio recordings, made with the Concertgebouw in 1952.


‘Van Beinum and the Amsterdam orchestra give a beautifully sensitive performance throughout, considerably more alive than that of Furtwängler.’ Gramophone (Haydn Variations)

‘Van Beinum makes more of the music, gives a more confident and broad-based performance … The recording is excellent throughout … detailed comparison shows that in almost every case the London players are superior.’ Gramophone (Prometheus Ballet)

CD 1
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN
Overtures*:
Die Geschöpfe des Prometheus, Op. 43 (1946 Recording)
Leonore No. 1, Op. 138
Leonore No. 3, Op. 72b
Fidelio, Op. 72c
Egmont, Op. 84
Coriolan, Op. 62
Die Weihe des Hauses, Op. 124

CD 2
Die Geschöpfe des Prometheus, Op. 43:
Overture and Incidental Music

FRANZ JOSEPH HAYDN
Symphony No. 100 in G major, ‘Military’ H.I:100*

JOHANNES BRAHMS
Variations on a Theme by Haydn (St. Antoni’s Chorale), Op. 56a

London Philharmonic Orchestra (Beethoven, Haydn)
Concertgebouworkest (Brahms)
Eduard van Beinum

*FIRST CD RELEASE ON DECCA

 

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