Ahh, how can one describe the 5th symphony of Beethoven; Well, we'll start with the opening bars, the famous Da-da-da-daaa! Now, before the review continues, everyone must know that the greatest problem with performing Beethoven's symphonies is keeping in time with his tempo markings that he wrote for each symphony( which means not playing too slow or too fast, but to the degree that Beethoven specifically set). This recording does Beethoven well because it achieves something that probably has not been heard for about 170 years or so; it keeps with his original tempi, which one never hears. For those that would be interested in this album, it is definitely worth it. It will not sound the same as other recordings of the piece, or even the one you have in your heads. One must remember that the 5th symphony is very reminiscent of revolution, of chaos/order in certain ways; as Benjamin Zander puts it, "it's an attack on complacency and the status quo" It goes against the social norm. And, what is interesting is that this very album, in a way is in itself revolutionary, because Benjamin Zander attempted to adhere to Beethoven's Tempi. Imagine a line of cannons firing to the rhythm of "Da-da-da-daa!" There's the revolution. The great thing, also, is that this rythmic motif of dadadadaa is heard hundreds of times in every conceivable shape and form.
Zander does the same thing with the 7th symphony; He describes the second movement, as while sounding like death/funeral, it is a dance, which leads to a grand irony. The other movements are also done very well, but I will not go into more detail, for there is too much to talk about, and also, the 5th symphony is usually the one people would want to hear more about.
In addition to all of this "revolution," Zander adds a second cd, which he refers to as a "discussion disc," in which he interprets both symphonies in laymens' terms, but so well-thought out that he opens a door into the mysteries of musical interpretation. This second disc, too, is "revolutionary," in the sense that no one has done these symphonies fully in Beethoven's tempi, and no one has added a full explanation for what the music means, in other words, Zander puts the Jigsaw puzzle together, and then describes the picture that he has finished. This Cd is definitely worth listening to for every classical and pop/rock/etc listener alike.
This album is definitely a classic.
yes, another review, but short because, there is so much to say, but my goal is to get a lot of people to read about classical music.
After reading all the comments on my last review, especially on the 2nd page, and then adding my own long comment in response to some of the reviewers, I thought it best to spend some time and redeem myself.
Moonlight Sonata really is a moving piece, but, did you know that it too, in zander's and some musician's opinions, it has also been played too slowly, for Beethoven wrote it in cut time, 2/2, but, for like 170 yrs, it has become tradition to play it in 4/4. Playing it in 4/4 doesn't sound bad, but it lets the listener miss some of the points that Beethoven was trying to make. The story, as I have learned it is: he fell in love with his student, she hated him, very much, and he wrote this for her saying, why/how can you hate me so? and in it, when you play it in the right tempo, you can hear beethoven's emotions flying through the piece, almost as if he's having a heart attack.
in response to neoteric:
Plus I don't think you could really say THAT much about a classical score.
response: I wouldn't say that, one could probably spend an hour talking just about the interpretation and musical analysis of say, the first movement to Beethoven's first symphony alone. I just choose not to write a lot because I want to get more people to like this incredible art, and not bore anyone.
GrandMaestro, may I suggest with any future reviews that you keep them the way they are, but maybe include just a little bit of technical detail for those who are in to classical music, but not so much that it will put off those who aren't. If you did that, not only would the review be good due to your great writing, but it would be a reasonable length too.
Beethoven's Fifth is excellent, and Moonlight Sonata is one of my favourites. Beethoven has always been enjoyable to me. Though not my favourite (Chopin), he was uniquely a musical genious that made wholly enjoyable pieces... unlike say Wagner, who was a genious, but it isn't always the most listenable.... if that makes any sense?
I took out my dusty copy of this (not the same recording) and had a listen. I can say I was more impressed than when I first heard it many years ago. I think puberty probably changed my perception.This Message Edited On 01.14.08