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Creatures Of Prometheus

Ludwig Van Beethoven Audio CD

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Les Créatures de Prométhée, ballet op.43 / Scottish Chamber Orchestra, dir. Sir Charles Mackerras

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Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lesser-known Beethoven, exquisitely wrought by the SCO Aug. 21 2005
By chefdevergue - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
While this is one of the lesser-known works in the Beethoven canon, it is by no means deserving of its relative obscurity. As the liner notes indicate, this ballet (commissioned & composed in 1801) marks the first forays by Beethoven into his Romantic style, leaving behind the Classical forms of the previous decade. As he composed this music, he was opening doors that would lead to the masterpieces of the coming decade.

It is also interesting music inasmuch as Beethoven employed scoring unique to this piece. The notes indicate that he never wrote again for the bassett horn, other than for this piece. The harp is featured prominently throughout the ballet, as is the solo cello. Good luck trying to find other Beethoven compositions that sound like this.

As usual, Mackerras & the SCO never fails to delight. I have added yet another SCO recording to my collection which is simply wonderful. I have yet to come across a recording by the SCO that isn't absolutely top-notch. Any serious Beethoven devotee should have this recording, as should any admirer of the SCO. Just marvelous in every respect!
5.0 out of 5 stars More Than Just an Overture March 31 2014
By Jeffrey - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
After years of just hearing the overture to this selection, I finally purchased the CD so that I could listen to the whole work. This recording has strong orchestral elements and even tones. When a delicate, melodic touch is called for, that's what you get. I highly recommend this recording.
16 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Packed with good - but not great - performances Feb. 22 2002
By cdsullivan@massed.net - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This, the third volume of Deutsche Grammophon's Complete Beethoven Edition, features all the orchestral works and stage music he wrote outside of symphony and opera. Much of the music featured in this set is not great Beethoven; there are very early, developmental or unambitious works (for example, all the minuets and contredanses, which date from the 1790s, when he was in his twenties), and there are many pieces which are just not the beneficiary of Beethoven's best writing (he seems to be on automatic pilot for some of the incidental music, including "The Ruins of Athens" and "King Stephen"). Still, there are many gems in this set - more than enough to justify buying it. The "Ritterballet," a very early work, is absolutely delightful, and is given a delightful performance by - surprise, surprise - the ubiquitous Karajan. The incidental music to "Egmont," of which only the Overture is well known, is real, inspired Beethoven, and is given a fine performance by Abbado and Studer. Even the contredanses and minuets have their good moments. One of them in particular (Contredanse No. 7) cries out for you to listen to it, because that's the one Beethoven used as the basis of not only parts of the ballet "Die Geschöpfe des Prometheus," and the "Eroica" Variations for piano, but also the finale of the "Eroica" Symphony! All of the contredanses and minuets are given sensitively and charmingly by Marriner and the ASMF.
There is more great music in this set - for example, the overtures ("Coriolan" and "Egmont" especially, but also "Die Ruinen von Athens," "Zur Namensfeier," "König Stephan," "Die Weihe des Hauses"), some of which are just as magnificent as his symphonies. I'm thinking in particular of "Coriolan," Op. 62, which is one of the most intense, tragic, furious pieces he ever wrote (it's in his "rage" key, C minor). Unfortunately, many of these overtures are entrusted to Claudio Abbado, and I can't say he does a very good job with them. "Coriolan" in particular suffers from a lack of intensity, which is unbelievable considering the intensity of the work. The congested recording (early digital) does not help. (If you want to hear a tremendous recording of the "Coriolan," look to Volume 20 of the CBE and Furtwängler!) The other works are well-performed, including Karajan's distinguished account of Beethoven's potboiler "Wellingtons Sieg."
Overall, it is disappointing to find that the best performances have been given to the automatic pilot works, while the towering masterpieces which cry out for great performances have been given mediocre performances. However, given the superlative quality of the booklet (multiple essays by distinguished musicologists, color paintings reproduced, artist biographies, etc.), the worthy quality of most of the performances and, perhaps most importantly, the scarcity of other performances of this music, there are many reasons why this is worth buying.
5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "The Creatures of Prometheus" March 26 2009
By Eric S. Kim - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Beethoven's "Creatures of Prometheus" is indeed lighter than his 5th symphony, and even his 6th symphony. And it's not as grand and majestic as his 9th symphony. However, this 70-minute ballet piece is relaxing, and it's very innovative music. It's full of colorful orchestrations, lovely solos (though most of them are a bit short), and an almost heavenly atmosphere. It's perfect music to listen to after a hard day's work. It also works as background music during reading.

Maestro Mackerras gives a direct and clear account of the score: no exaggeration and no coldness. The Scottish Chamber Orchestra does a nice job with Beethoven's ballet music. The players make no mistakes; they definitely know their Beethoven. Sound quality from Helios is equal to London/Decca. It's almost perfect.

Grade: A
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mythology's inspiring power : a decisive driving force of the vital cycle in Beethoven! Feb. 3 2010
By Hiram Gomez Pardo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
One should not to amaze oneself Beethoven had dedicated part of his creative powers in order to challenge the appropriate music for Prometheus. It's well known the profound admiration Beethoven felt for the mythology. It's not a secret the main books set in the upper end of his bed were The Iliad and the Odyssey. It would not be fair to forget that Richard Wagner and Jean Sibelius were strongly inspired by the mythology, in its broad sense.

With the only exception of Fidelio, The creatures of Prometheus is his most extensive stage work during the late 1800 and early 1801. The creative idea for the ballet was proposed by Salvatore Vigano , a Neapolitan dancer and choreographer.

Most of people remind the Overture, but the key clue resides in the fact that the main theme of the last movement is one of the variations of his Third Symphony No. 3 "Eroica" and the main theme of the Piano variations, Op. 35, composed in 1802.

Prometheus comes from that period of Beethoven which carves in relief a new implosion along Beethoven' style. It's a cornerstone in that visible transient period. You can perceive it through the evolution between his Second and Third piano Concertos, the creation of this titanic Symphony No. 3 and the undeniable evolution stylistic of his chamber works, in what many have stated as his heroic period.

Charles MacKerras makes an inspired performance with the Scotish Chamber Orchestra, so keeping into account the few available options in the market, I really recommend this one, without hesitation.

In case you have a vynil recording from the early seventies (as I do) with the Berlin Symphony conducted by Hans Hobert Schoenzeller, from VOX label, try to make a transfer as soon as you can, because while the Vox management be aware of such treasured record.

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