What's the word on the Vanska, Minnesota Orchestra, Beethoven cycle?
Are these multichannel SACD?
Osmo VÃ¤nskÃ¤'s Beethoven symphony cycle, now complete on five BIS hybrid multichannel SACDs, is, in my opinion, the finest Beethoven cycle from an American orchestra since Leonard Bernstein's recordings of the 1960s. A extravagant claim, I know, but you've got to hear these performances. Every one is knowingly paced and carefully shaped, rhythmically propulsive and melodically alluring. VÃ¤nskÃ¤ absolutely nails the unique character of each work. Dynamic contrasts are played up, and captured extremely well by the excellent DSD recording from Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis.
A couple of these have been/will be covered in TAS: No. 9 in Issue 168 and the final SACD in the series, with No. 2 and No. 7 will be covered in the next Multichannel Marvels column. To start, I'd suggest the SACD with Symphonies 3 & 8, and the Ninth.
It does seem to be a remarkable synchronicity that a superb Mahler cycle (MTT's) and this Beethoven integrale are concluding at about the same time, worthy successors to Bernstein's classic recordings of both of these mainstays of the symphonic repertoire.
This also sheds interesting light on our discussion of "second-tier" orchestras.
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