Saturday, November 19, 2011
Decca Releases Riccardo Chailly and the Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig in an All-New Complete Beethoven Cycle
In 1825 the Gewandhaus Orchestra in Leipzig performed the first complete cycle of Beethoven’s symphonies in the history of music under the direction of Johann Philipp Christian Schulz. This momentous occasion began a tradition in Leipzig, one that has been embraced by all succeeding music directors including Riccardo Chailly, the present principal conductor. For the maestro’s first recording of Beethoven’s symphonies Decca will release a comprehensive cycle of all nine symphonies paired with eight overtures – all recorded at the Gewandhaus in stunningly realized performances. The full set will be available November 21, 2011.
Over the last three years Chailly and the orchestra have presented the symphonies and overtures in concert and then set about recording each. To celebrate this monumental occasion, Chailly and the Gewandhaus Orchestra have just completed four critically acclaimed Beethoven cycles in Leipzig, Vienna, Paris and London. Before the performances were even completed in London the critics were already raving: “Rush to get any remaining seats” (The Times, London). And with the cycle complete the praise continues: “Riccardo Chailly's Barbican Beethoven cycle with his storied Leipzig orchestra has been one of the musical pinnacles of the year” (The Guardian).
The partnership between Chailly and the Gewandhaus has revitalized the German orchestra, the oldest in the world, with results that are vividly apparent on the new recordings. Of special note in these recordings is Chailly’s observation of Beethoven’s demanding metronome markings, which dramatically destroys many existing tempo preconceptions. This will certainly be the cycle on modern instruments that gets closest to achieving what Beethoven himself revealed were his desired tempos (fully documented in the hard-back book).