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Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique, Sir John Eliot Gardiner and Beethoven

Beethoven's symphonies are propably of the most performed. Given this range of recordings it would seem easy to find the ONE, that with which you agree the most, which you believe has captured the essense of the piece as much as possible. Yet, it is trully hard. Don't get me wrong, there are wonderfull performances out there. But Gardiner and his Revolutionary orchestra just struck me from the very first moment. 

I was listening to the web radio of a USA station and I hear "and next we have Sir John Eliot Gardiner with his Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique, introducing and performing Beethoven's 5th symphony in a new, different way.". The summary of Gardiner's introduction is that beethovens 5th and a couple of movements from other symphonies, are actually french revolution songs, and ought to be performed as such. Strikes you, doesn't it? And he didn't stop there, he even sung a french revolution song, the melody almost identical to the 5th. It has to be aggresive the 5th, he said, its a call for freedom, liberty, revolution, uproar! It would be a mistake, when put in context, to treat it otherwise. And I couldn't agree more.

I would love to be able to give you a nice little youtube link-for some sad reason ORR's performance of the 5th is not on youtube! You can still search fom John Eliot Gardiner and listen to some of his thought's on beethoven-nice food for though.

But STILL, I urge you, find that performance. Find it. Go on amazon. pirate it. go and steal the damn thing. it doesn't matter, just listen to it.

Aggressive, powerfull, evolving, interesting. There is actually some great counterpoint and melody play in there. Here it shines. Although the room ambience takes it's toll.

I've heard people say "Uhhh the 5th is not very interesting hurrr durrrr". You propably haven't found YOUR 5th then! I sure found mine.

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Comment by Spiros Makris on June 30, 2012 at 6:16pm

For starters you can have a look at this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kvzr9T9nij4 . it's bound to set your expectations very high :D 

(all the parts will be around there in the related videos)

Comment by B Gray on June 30, 2012 at 12:58pm
I mean to add to that last comment my main reason for posting -- thanks for the tip on a fresh look at the 5th. Will have to find it.
Comment by B Gray on June 30, 2012 at 12:55pm
People who find the 5th, or for that matter any Beethoven symphony, boring are either over exposed-too often heard--tho I find that hard to accept, or unable to understand the mastery of music they represent. This might have to do with a lack of knowledge of their place in the musical time-line - what role they played in musical language development. What ever reason boring is most definitely not Beethoven symphonies.
Comment by Spiros Makris on June 30, 2012 at 7:58am

I will check them out, thanks for the suggestion!

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