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Beethoven Symphonies 5 & 7

Venezuela Symphony Orchestra
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This is one of my most successful CD's. I have received many e-mails from people in Japan who have bought it and think very highly of it. Perhaps it is fitting that this Fifth should be available at this web site devoted mainly to Furtwängler recordings, since it was Furtwängler that inspired this interpretation to a greater extent than any other of my recordings. Interestingly, while the shape is reminiscent of Furtwängler's way with this symphony, the issues that are addressed are very different. In other words, while the container may be similar, the content is not. The reason for this difference is that Furtwängler was more idealistic than me. While he lived through terrible times, I believe that he saw those events as transitory, at least until around 1950, and that the old ideals of German culture could be saved. Now we know better. For that reason, while Furtwängler could achieve glorious ecstasy, I tend towards dogged affirmation. It may be valid to ask why one would want to get this recording when you can get Furtwängler's a few clicks away. It's a good question. But Furtwängler himself addresses different issues in his own Fifths, one supposes in accordance to what problems were important to him at each time. The one from 1943 is tragic in its beginning and glorious in its end, while the 1947 versions are defiant in their beginning and triumphant in their end. One of the fascinating things about this symphony is how it can change its perspective.

The Seventh is a more conventional interpretation, and I believe it is very well done. It emphasizes the noble qualities of this work, rather than just the energetic content. I am particularly proud of the second and fourth movements. The fourth movement, while reaching a fine climax, does not ignore the elemental and dark forces where the strength to reach this climax come from.