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Symphonies Nos. 4 & 7


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Product Details

  • Composer: Beethoven
  • Audio CD (April 1 1997)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Ncl
  • ASIN: B0000014E0
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #276,241 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Symphony No. 4 In B Flat Major, Op. 60: Adagio - Allegro vivace
2. Symphony No. 4 In B Flat Major, Op. 60: Adagio
3. Symphony No. 4 In B Flat Major, Op. 60: Allegro vivace
4. Symphony No. 4 In B Flat Major, Op. 60: Allegro ma non troppo
5. Symphony No. 7 In A Major, Op. 92: Poco sostenuto - Vivace
6. Symphony No. 7 In A Major, Op. 92: Allegretto
7. Symphony No. 7 In A Major, Op. 92: Presto
8. Symphony No. 7 In A Major, Op. 92: Allegro con brio

Product Description

Product Description

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These are decent though uninspired performances that offer a generally effective chamber orchestra approach to Beethoven's symphonies. There's lots of detail in the wind parts that cuts very naturally through the reduced number of strings. Unfortunately, the lack of sheer power and rhythmic energy will disappoint listeners with a more cosmic view of Beethoven, though the charm and vitality of the music making ultimately carry the day. Not a bad deal. --David Hurwitz

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Format: Audio CD
This recording is part of a complete cycle of Beethoven's nine symphonies by the Nicolaus Esterhazy Sinfonia conducted by Bela Drahos on the budget - priced Naxos label. It consists of the Symphony No. 4 in B Flat Major, Opus 60 and the Seventh Symphony in A Major, Opus 92.
Beethoven's Fourth Symphony was published in 1806. The composer's even-numbered symphonies generally lack the heroic, heaven-storming quality of the 3d, 5th, 7th, and 9th. But the Fourth is great Beethoven, full of joy, humor, liveliness, and confidence.
The symphony opens with a long, brooding slow introduction that raises tension masterfully and sets up the listener for an allegro in the heroic mode. This expectation is dashed, however, by the entrance of the humorous, expansive main theme of the movement. The spirit of mastery pervades the movement and the work. The second movement is a song-like adagio, mostly lyrical and quiet, which rises to moments of power and triumph at the center and conclusion. The third movement is a brusque scherzo and the conclusion is a Haydn-like movement in perpetual motion. This symphony to me seems to be greatly influenced by Haydn combined with Beethoven's own unique intensity, sense of forward propulsion, expansiveness, and willingness to take chances.
The Seventh Symphony was completed in 1812, four years following the completion of the first six symphonies. Virtually every listener has commented upon the dance-like, frenzied character of this great work. The title of the Walt Whitman poem, "I sing the body electric", captures something of the mood of Beethoven's seventh.
The first movement again has a slow, tension-building introduction featuring a lovely, come-hither theme in the oboe.
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By A Customer on Sept. 1 2000
Format: Audio CD
While these symphonies are played competently enough, they are seriously short on inspriration and energy. The playing's decent but lacks anything special. It's like the orchestra came in and said "Arrrg...Beethoven again. Well, we're getting paid." There are so many better recordings that this one can be avoided.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Beethoven's Fourth and Seventh Symphonies Nov. 3 2003
By Robin Friedman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This recording is part of a complete cycle of Beethoven's nine symphonies by the Nicolaus Esterhazy Sinfonia conducted by Bela Drahos on the budget - priced Naxos label. It consists of the Symphony No. 4 in B Flat Major, Opus 60 and the Seventh Symphony in A Major, Opus 92.
Beethoven's Fourth Symphony was published in 1806. The composer's even-numbered symphonies generally lack the heroic, heaven-storming quality of the 3d, 5th, 7th, and 9th. But the Fourth is great Beethoven, full of joy, humor, liveliness, and confidence.
The symphony opens with a long, brooding slow introduction that raises tension masterfully and sets up the listener for an allegro in the heroic mode. This expectation is dashed, however, by the entrance of the humorous, expansive main theme of the movement. The spirit of mastery pervades the movement and the work. The second movement is a song-like adagio, mostly lyrical and quiet, which rises to moments of power and triumph at the center and conclusion. The third movement is a brusque scherzo and the conclusion is a Haydn-like movement in perpetual motion. This symphony to me seems to be greatly influenced by Haydn combined with Beethoven's own unique intensity, sense of forward propulsion, expansiveness, and willingness to take chances.
The Seventh Symphony was completed in 1812, four years following the completion of the first six symphonies. Virtually every listener has commented upon the dance-like, frenzied character of this great work. The title of the Walt Whitman poem, "I sing the body electric", captures something of the mood of Beethoven's seventh.
The first movement again has a slow, tension-building introduction featuring a lovely, come-hither theme in the oboe. It is followed by a vivace which, as with so many Beethoven opening movements, seems to come close to pulling the work apart while rigorously failing to do so. The second movement is a slow solemn march and fugue in a dotted rhythm featuring a theme over plucked strings and tympani. The interested listener might compare it with the slow movement of the "Eroica" and with the piano sonata, opus 26. The third movement is a scherzo in which the trio is repeated. The fourth movement is a whirlwind dance which leads to a Baccanalic conclusion. This is a grand symphony of rhythm, force, and movement.
Drahos's Beethoven cycle has received mixed reviews. It is performed by a chamber orchestra and some listeners have commented that the performances lack dynamic contrast, power and intensity. I have listened to this recording several times and came to like it more with repeated hearings. It has a clarity and a spirit that help capture the music. The listener should enjoy what is presented here and not worry unduly about whether this is the best performance of Beethoven available on disc. It isn't that, but it really doesn't matter if one wants to hear the music.
I envision low-priced discs such as the disc under review as appealing to the listener new to the music or to a listener on a tight budget. Certainly, such a listener should be encouraged to explore this music. Any disc that will present Beethoven symphonies in a manner that will introduce new listeners is worthwhile. Other more experienced listeners will also enjoy these recordings and have the added pleasure of comparing them with recordings which which they are already familiar. Even if one does not like Beethoven performed in this manner, the listener's understanding of the music will be increased.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Not a first choice Sept. 1 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
While these symphonies are played competently enough, they are seriously short on inspriration and energy. The playing's decent but lacks anything special. It's like the orchestra came in and said "Arrrg...Beethoven again. Well, we're getting paid." There are so many better recordings that this one can be avoided.
Beethoven Symphony 7 May 2 2013
By John R. Steinberg - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Riccardo Muti and the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra give this pice the right balance of being a cheerful symphony with a properly portentous and melodic second movement, the Allegretto. Even von Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic have not interpreted this piece as well as Muti has. The only other recording of the 7th that is of similar excellence that I have heard is the recording by the Nicolaus Esterhazy Philharmoninc with Behla Drahos conducting.
This is a truly superb rendering of a symphony that is often overlooked and which I feel is as delightful as the other classic favorite Beethoven symphonies: 3, 5, 6, and 9.
The 4th? Great Beethoven, but, as you can see, I'm a sucker for the 7th!
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 4 & 7 April 1 2011
By Bjorn Viberg - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 4 & 7 is a recording under the direction of Bela Drahos who leads the Nicolaus Esterhazy Sinfonia on a Naxos recording from 1995. The recording is not bad but it lacks the amazing sound quality that Harmonia Mundi and the like have. For an unexperienced listener this will suffice but for a connoisseur like myself it lacks the little extra. Still I can recommend it. 4/5.


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