Beethoven 6 & 8 Recording – John J. Puccio

Posted on March 30, 2012

Friday 30th March 2012

John J Puccio reviews Manchester Camerata’s recent CD in his blog Classical Candor. You can read extracts of his review below, and click through to the full text via the link below.

“Of all Beethoven symphonies, I’m guessing there are probably more folks who love the “Pastoral” best of all than any of the others, although certainly the Third, Fifth, and Ninth are right up there.

I’m not talking about sheer popularity, understand, where the Fifth and Ninth would no doubt win the day. I’m talking actual love for a piece of music. The Sixth is simply the most loveable of all the symphonies Beethoven wrote. I mean, who can doubt the appeal of the work’s continuously happy, bucolic, tranquil, frolicsome qualities? Not even a storm cloud can interrupt this music’s playful, joyous charisma. Maybe it’s why Disney chose it as one of the highlights of his 1940 animated movie Fantasia. ”

“The Sixth Symphony begins with an Allegro non troppo (fast, but not too much) that Beethoven describes as “The awakening of cheerful feelings upon arrival in the country.” Admittedly, Boyd’s opening does sound cheerful. It has a light step, a nice bounce, and a zippy gait without sounding frenetic. Although it perhaps loses a little something in overall grace by not slowing down at least occasionally but continuing to forge ahead at all times, it makes up for it in sheer exhilaration.”

“In the central Allegro, the “Merry gathering of country folk,” Boyd shines, his quick tempos raising one’s spirits, even if the music hasn’t quite the flowing lines of several of the conductors cited above.” “Avie recorded the music live in January and October of 2009 at Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, England. It’s among the best live recordings I’ve heard, miked neither too closely nor too distantly, with excellent transparency and air.

It’s also very clean, with little noticeable distortion, and well balanced from the upper bass to the lower treble. Dynamics seem a tad constricted at times, though, especially compared to my remastered Blu-Spec CD of the Walter recording from Japanese Sony. However, that may be a trifle unfair to the Avie disc, which does hold its own.”

“To make the situation all the more agreeable, we hear little or no noise from the audience during the performances, and the Avie engineers cut out any distracting applause.”

Read the full review here

John J Puccio reviews Beethoven 6 & 8 recording, Critic and classical music editor – $ensible Sound Magazine