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Beethoven: Symphony No. 9, Symphony No. 3 [Import]

The Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra , Claudio Abbado    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Five stars for the 3rd and 3 stars for the 9th Feb. 14 2004
By A Customer
Symphony 3 was recorded live at Santa Cecilia, Rome. Symphony 9, on the other hand, was recorded live at Philharmonie, Berlin. Symphony 9 is the same recording as the disappointing one available with Piano Concerto No 2. Buy that DVD (Symphony 9 and Piano Concerto 2) for the Piano Concerto. Buy this DVD for Symphony 3. By the way, these 2 performances come in 2 DVDs but the labels are mixed up--the one that says the 3rd contains the 9th, and vice versa.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Not to be missed by Abbado lovers Jan. 25 2004
These 4 dvd's of the Beethoven Symphonies should be on any Abbado lover's rack. The sound and images are superb. A very emaciated Claudio Abbado gives the music all his talent, and the BPO responds and plays in typically superb style of the highest standard. The possibility of switching to the Orchestra's view of Abbado is amazing, and ideal for the Abbado worshippers. The performances are, in my opinion, better than the CD set by Abbado and the BPO.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not to be missed by Abbado lovers Jan. 25 2004
By Emile Myburgh - Published on Amazon.com
These 4 dvd's of the Beethoven Symphonies should be on any Abbado lover's rack. The sound and images are superb. A very emaciated Claudio Abbado gives the music all his talent, and the BPO responds and plays in typically superb style of the highest standard. The possibility of switching to the Orchestra's view of Abbado is amazing, and ideal for the Abbado worshippers. The performances are, in my opinion, better than the CD set by Abbado and the BPO.
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A GREAT PERFORMANCE OF THE THIRD ! Feb. 3 2005
By John L. Miller - Published on Amazon.com
This symphony cycle on DVD is better than any I own or have heard on CD. I had purchased each of the other DVDs in this set but I had not intended to acquire this one (Beethoven's 3rd and 9th had never been to my liking). .. Eventually though, I bought this DVD because of a review that I read concerning this Eroica. I am very glad I read that review. .. Abbado certainly brings something new to this performance of the 3rd. .. ( I have read that he used a new score by Jonathan Del Mar which reflects the latest Beethoven research). .. There is a passion, a spirit, in this performance that draws me back to hear again.(To a symphony I once avoided!)

I am still not fond of the 9th symphony but I am sure that the reason has nothing to do with Abbado or Berlin Philharmoniker; I just don't like it. .. The Swedish Radio Choir and the Eric Ericson Chamber Choir were magnificent as always; their sound and performance combined with Beethoven's music was beautiful and inspiring. .. Listen to them in the Verdi, Brahms, and Mozart requiems. It is easy to understand why Abbado chose them for these performances.

Buy this DVD. .. Better yet, buy the whole set. .. Truly great performances, easily affordable (one DVD at a time)!
20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Five stars for the 3rd and 3 stars for the 9th Feb. 13 2004
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Symphony 3 was recorded live at Santa Cecilia, Rome. Symphony 9, on the other hand, was recorded live at Philharmonie, Berlin. Symphony 9 is the same recording as the disappointing one available with Piano Concerto No 2. Buy that DVD (Symphony 9 and Piano Concerto 2) for the Piano Concerto. Buy this DVD for Symphony 3. By the way, these 2 performances come in 2 DVDs but the labels are mixed up--the one that says the 3rd contains the 9th, and vice versa.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Breathtaking! Oct. 11 2008
By Music Maker - Published on Amazon.com
These two masterworks are spectacularly performed by a world-class orchestra under the leadership of one of the greatest living conductors. With respect to interpretation, precision, and passion, I have nothing but praise to offer. From a technical perspective, the sound quality is also exquisite. Thus, the 5-star rating.

Having said all that, however, I would like to mention one pet peeve. And this applies to pretty much every classical DVD I have ever seen. My complaint is, there are many moments when the camera work could / should be better orchestrated. Obviously performance and sound quality are far more important, nevertheless part of the thrill and joy of seeing a live performance in person or on DVD is the visual effect and excitement. Frankly (and no offense to Abbado or any conductor), I don't want to see a close up of the conductor's face while the violins are sawing away 9,000 miles an hour at one of the climactic moments of the Eroica symphony!

Don't get me wrong, MOST of the camerawork is appropriate; the onscreen action follows nicely from soloist to soloist, section to section, a good 80% of the time. But for the other 20% I want to scream at the TV, "For crying out loud, get off the bassoons while the cellos clearly have the foreground material and are throwing off sparks in their delivery!"

Again though, this is a complaint of mine for every classical DVD I've seen. It's definitely very easy to forgive this comparatively minor defect when the performance is utterly exquisite.

Long story made short, buy this DVD! I haven't purchased the others in the series yet but plan to very soon.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fine performances and sound within the parameters of pre-HD technology July 9 2012
By I. Giles - Published on Amazon.com
Abbado has recorded this set of symphonies several times and this disc is taken from his last set recorded in 2000-2001. It represents a considerable modification of his previous interpretations and this series reflects his thinking in the light of recent research into period performing practice. It is generally thought to be his finest whole set.

Abbado uses the new score prepared by Jonathan Del Mar which incorporates `the very latest Beethoven research and represents a valuable supplement to the experience gained by Abbado over many years' (booklet quote). Although Abbado does not go as far as using authentic period styled instruments, he nevertheless uses a much reduced orchestral size in the Eroica and avoids part doubling in the wind. The speeds are generally fleeter without losing necessary gravitas in the slow movements. Speeds are kept constant and avoid the Romantic period type of fluctuations to be found in the recent set of Thielemann performances for example. The same can be said of phrasing. Textures are leaner but not acerbic as in some early examples of early instrument performance.

The result of this is a set of symphonies with enhanced transparency and of considerable dramatic weight. Although this is not in any way a `Romantic' interpretation, it is impossible to miss the passionate nature of the performances which incorporate plenty of performing `brio' from all concerned.

The 9th symphony here was the first to be recorded and this is generally conceived on a physically larger scale than that of the rest of the series such as in this Eroica. The 9th was also recorded in Berlin whereas the rest of the series was recorded in Rome.

This is a very successful pair of performances. The sound is presented in DD 5.1, DTS 5.1 and stereo. This is superior to CD sound as the file size on DVD is larger and of wider range. The camera work is good giving close-up and more distant shots without distracting hyperactivity. It is nevertheless also true that this was recorded prior to the HD cameras available today and therefore the images are prone to pixilation if the viewing distance is too near for the size of the screen being used.

Musically and sonically this set is easily worth a full 5 stars but as the visual aspect is more limited as described above I feel that 4 stars is probably the fairest overall grade. The perfect solution would be for Abbado to re-record the whole series again in the same way but in HD. As this is unlikely to happen I think that for many purchasers this will be as good as it gets! So this remains highly recommended for those prepared to compromise on pre-HD imaging.
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