Sir Colin Davis - Beethoven Odyssey (14 CD)

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00028948417285
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00028948417285

This product will start shipping on December 11, 2020 12/11/2020

RELEASE DATE: 11/12/2020
14 CD

A master Beethoven conductor in his prime, including recordings new to CD and a previously unpublished account of Leonore No.2.

When Colin Davis became its Chief Conductor in 1967, the BBC Symphony Orchestra was known as the house band for the BBC Proms, specialising in new music, and a radio orchestra first and foremost. With this series of Beethoven recordings the orchestra entered the mainstream commercial market and showed itself the equal of many more glamorous ensembles, not least thanks to the rich and rounded sonority cultivated by Davis.

A 1961 recording of the Seventh Symphony with Beecham’s Royal Philharmonic Orchestra had gathered much critical praise, but Davis’s 1976 remake with the LSO proved that the elemental fire of the early recording was no fluke. These are broadly sung and spacious performances, unexaggerated and yet alive with the strong accents and inner detail that marked out Davis’s readings of music from Mozart to Tippett.

The five piano concertos with Stephen Kovacevich quickly became a staple of the Philips catalogue, but the symphony recordings fell out of print: they have been compiled here for the first time. Symphonies 2, 4, 6 and 8 are receiving new remasterings and first publications on CD, as are several of the overtures. There is an opportunity to compare the young firebrand Davis and his calmer self in middle age with two accounts of the Pastoral Symphony: with the LSO in 1962 (from the same sessions as a previously unpublished Second Leonore Overture) and with the BBCSO in July 1974.

The BBCSO cycle was left incomplete, and Davis recorded both the Mass in C and Missa solemnis with the LSO – again, full-bodied readings that have maintained their place in the catalogue and drawn praise for their unaffected, straightforward eloquence – but his first recorded Ninth had to wait until 1985, once he had become Music Director of the Bavarian Radio SO in Munich. The playing here is superbly refined and animated by a springy articulation that was a Davis specialty and set him apart from the German Romantic tradition in this repertoire, as did the observance of repeats. The most complete compilation of Davis’s Beethoven ever issued, the set is published with a new essay by Peter Quantrill.

‘This is an impressive account of the Eroica, notable for many good things. First Davis’s acute perception of every detail of the score… Another outstanding quality is Davis’s insistence on the right balance everywhere.’ Gramophone, September 1971

‘Precise, keenly analytical, judiciously weighted and balanced, honestly phrased.’ Stereo Review, May 1972 (Piano Concertos Nos. 1-5)

‘Clarity is the key to Davis's modus operandi and it pays great dividends in a work like the Eroica where contrapuntal detail plays such an important role. I also applaud the complete lack of affectation in the performance.’ Stereo Review, May 1972

‘A strong, brilliantly balanced, absolutely un-eccentric account of the Fifth… The reading has splendid flow and continuity… Crisp. well-defined sound… The stimulating Eighth on the new disc, too, is at least as bright, vigorous, and thoroughly persuasive as any other now current.’ Stereo Review, February 1975

‘Ample and strong, a richly sounded account of the [Fourth] which seems to mark a shift in Davis’s Beethoven style.’ Gramophone, April 1976

‘A good, tough Fourth… The allegro vivace has a lithe, muscular, eminently classical quality, and the close recording is notably strong on detail... The Egmont Overture is steady, granitic, weighty. Once again balances are finely gauged, and the crystal-clear reproduction is exactly right for Beethoven's orchestration.’ High Fidelity, June 1976

‘The tempos are wisely chosen, rhythmically well sprung and crisply maintained… If anything, the new recording is even a little tauter than the old one, and the playing has more passion, variety and breadth.’ High Fidelity, June 1977 (Symphony No.7)

‘Quite outstanding. I know of no other currently available version [of the Second] that I would choose in preference to it. Davis’s balance between 18th- and 19th-century influences is remarkably well judged.’ Gramophone, September 1977

‘Punctuated with mordant, colourful instrumental detail, a Missa that abounds in tortured mystical passages typical of the late Beethoven, and—most important perhaps—a Missa having appropriate symphonic stature… Davis's stands with Toscanini's and Klemperer's as one of the best.’ Fanfare, July 1979

‘Another fine reading. Davis has a rather relaxed, Viennese attitude that brings out all the atmosphere in the work. Never has there been such a feeling of pure joy in the aftermath of the storm. The recording of the BBC Symphony Orchestra is richly detailed.’ Fanfare, May 1982 (Symphony No.6)

‘Davis’s relaxation consistently conveys the joy of Beethoven’s inspiration in a way not easy to achieve in the studio… The slow movement has Elysian sweetness.’ Gramophone, May 1986 (Symphony No.9)

LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN (1770–1827)

CD 1

Symphony No. 1 in C major, Op. 21 (previously unpublished on Decca)

Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 36 (first CD release on Decca)

Overture – Leonore No. 3, Op. 72b (first CD release on Decca)

BBC Symphony Orchestra (Symphonies 1 & 2)

London Symphony Orchestra (Leonore 3)

SIR COLIN DAVIS

CD 2

Symphony No. 3 in E flat major, Op. 55 ‘Eroica’ (first international CD release on Decca)

Overture – Coriolan, Op. 62 (first CD release on Decca)

Overture – Leonore No. 1, Op. 138

BBC Symphony Orchestra

SIR COLIN DAVIS

CD 3

Overture – Egmont, Op. 84 (first CD release on Decca)

Symphony No. 4 in B flat major, Op. 60 (first international CD release on Decca)

Symphony No. 8 in F major, Op. 93 (first international CD release on Decca)

BBC Symphony Orchestra

SIR COLIN DAVIS

CD 4

Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67 (first international CD release on Decca)

Symphony No. 6 in F major, Op. 68 ‘Pastoral’ (first international CD release on Decca)

BBC Symphony Orchestra

SIR COLIN DAVIS

CD 5

Symphony No. 6 in F major, Op. 68 ‘Pastoral’ (first CD release on Decca)

Overture – Die Geschöpfe des Prometheus (first CD release on Decca)

Overture – Leonore No. 2, Op. 72a (previously unpublished)

London Symphony Orchestra

SIR COLIN DAVIS

CD 6

Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92 (first international CD release on Decca)

London Symphony Orchestra

SIR COLIN DAVIS

CD 7

Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125 ‘Choral’

Helen Donath, soprano

Trudeliese Schmidt, mezzo-soprano

Klaus König, tenor

Simon Estes, bass

Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks

Josef Schmidhuber, chorus master

Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks

SIR COLIN DAVIS


CD 8

1Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 61

Arthur Grumiaux, violin

Concertgebouworkest

SIR COLIN DAVIS

Piano Concerto No. 1 in C major, Op. 15

Stephen Kovacevich, piano

BBC Symphony Orchestra

SIR COLIN DAVIS

CD 9

Piano Concerto No. 2 in B flat major, Op. 19

Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, Op. 58

Stephen Kovacevich, piano

BBC Symphony Orchestra

SIR COLIN DAVIS


CD 10

1–3 Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, Op. 37

4–6 Piano Concerto No. 5 in E flat major, Op. 73 ‘Emperor’

Stephen Kovacevich, piano

BBC Symphony Orchestra (No. 3)

London Symphony Orchestra (No. 5)

SIR COLIN DAVIS

CDs 11 & 12

Mass in C major, Op. 86

Christiane Eda-Pierre, soprano

Patricia Payne, mezzo-soprano

Robert Tear, tenor

Kurt Moll, bass

Leslie Pearson, John Constable, organ

London Symphony Chorus

Richard Hickox, chorus master

London Symphony Orchestra

SIR COLIN DAVIS

Mass in D major, Op. 123 ‘Missa Solemnis’

Anna Tomowa-Sintow, soprano

Patricia Payne, mezzo-soprano

Robert Tear, tenor

Robert Lloyd, bass

John Constable, organ

London Symphony Chorus

Richard Hickox, chorus master

London Symphony Orchestra

SIR COLIN DAVIS

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