Decca Records has released a box set of the complete Beethoven symphonies which marks the beginning of the Beethoven Project, an unprecedented series of Beethoven recordings: all of the composer's complete symphonies, piano concertos and piano sonatas, with Daniel Barenboim at the helm.
Barenboim says of the project,
I think the Beethoven symphonies with the Divan orchestra is different in the sense that there is a terrific amount of energy because of the youth of the people – but there is just as much rigour. The combination of rigour with youthful energy is very strong.
The orchestra is named after Goethe's collection of poems entitled West-Eastern Divan, a central work for the evolution of the concept of world culture, and born out of a series of workshops that Barenboim held from 1999. This involved the collaboration of young musicians from Israel, Palestine and various Arab countries of the Middle East “seeking to enable intercultural dialogue and to promote the experience of collaborating on a matter of common interest”.
Beethoven For All – Symphonies 1-9 (available for high-quality download at HD Tracks) is the first instalment in this highly anticipated series. Recorded in August 2011 in Cologne, the performances are truly remarkable complemented by the extraordinary sound quality. A technically flawless reading of these beloved symphonies.
Nielsen Soundscan – the official method of tracking sales of music and music video throughout the United States and Canada – has Beethoven For All at the n°1 classical spot, and it has even sneaked in to the Billboard Top 200 chart.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.