Osmo Vanska and Minnesota Orchestra Beethoven Symphonies Cycle Released as Box Set

Music Director Osmo Vänskä conducts internationally acclaimed cycle; Box set includes discs nominated for Grammy and Gramophone Awards

The Swedish record label BIS has released a five-disc box set of Osmo Vänskä and the Minnesota Orchestra’s Beethoven symphonies cycle, a five-year project that has earned major award nominations and received high praise in national and international media outlets. The box set is now available in stores and through the Orchestra’s website at minnesotaorchestra.org.

Mr. Vänskä and the Orchestra recorded the nine Beethoven symphonies at Minneapolis ’ Orchestra Hall in a series of sessions between April 2004 and January 2008. The BIS team, led by producer Rob Suff, recorded the albums as Super Audio CDs (SACD), using surround sound recording technology to reproduce the sound of the concert hall as faithfully as possible. BIS Hybrid SACDs are playable on all standard CD players.

Beethoven symphonies set combines acclaimed releases

The box set comprises five critically lauded entries, which The New York Times wrote “may be the definitive [Beethoven cycle] of our time.” The first album was released in January 2005 and features Beethoven’s Fourth and Fifth Symphonies; it was labeled “the modern Beethoven recording par excellence” - Financial Times of London ) and “beautifully realized in every respect” - ClassicsToday.com.

In May 2006, critical raves greeted the release of the second CD, which features the Third (Eroica) and Eighth Symphonies: The Times ( London ) called the recording “outstanding,” and The Daily Telegraph wrote: “These are fiery, scrupulously detailed performances à la Toscanini.” The Grammy-nominated third recording, which showcases four vocal soloists and the Minnesota Chorale in a performance of the Ninth (Choral) Symphony, was acclaimed as “a Beethoven Ninth for our times” (BBC Music Magazine) and “some of the most vivid Beethoven playing on the market” (The New Yorker) following its release in October 2006.

After the December 2007 release of the fourth CD, featuring the First and Sixth (Pastoral) Symphonies, The Times (London) observed that the disc “maintains the high standard [of the series],” while Finland ’s Etelä-Suomen Sanomat proclaimed that Mr. Vänskä and the Orchestra “have finalized their cause to the highest level of perfectionism.”

The final album of the Second and Seventh Symphonies, released in August 2008, has been hailed as “surely the hottest modern interpretation [of Beethoven’s Seventh] on disc” The Times (London) and “[staking] a claim not merely for excellence, but for greatness” American Record Guide. In September 2009 the disc was nominated for a Classic FM Gramophone Award, widely considered one of the most significant honors in the classical music recording industry.


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