BEETHOVEN FOR ALL / Symphonies 1- 9 4783511

. . . Barenboim galvanised himself, urging the violins to sing out the main theme and events finally became airborne. The final injection of adrenaline was administered by René Pape, in a declamatory intervention delivered in magisterial voice.

. . . [Concert review]: [let me] hail the performance of the Pastoral as exquisitely projected in an engagingly old-fashioned way . . . [Beethoven: Symphony no. 5]: a properly triumphant performance to hail not just Beethoven's genius but Barenboim's for creating, in conjunction with Edward Said, this trailblazing contribution to Arab-Israeli understanding . . . This Beethoven cycle is one of the highlights of this year's Proms . . . [CD review]: as tangible evidence of a tremendous achievement by both Beethoven and Barenboim's band, the set is well worth acquiring.

. . . Barenboim launches into Beethoven with energy, precision, insight and humour, and the results are fascinating . . . the Beethoven Symphonies are given a riveting forensic examination . . .

. . . [Barenboim] gives the music space to express its significance, and his interpretation is romantic and weighty . . . a handsome souvenir.

Of Barenboim's many achievements, the greatest may turn out to be the creation of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra . . . As this set of Beethoven symphonies shows, the orchestra is technically on the highest level. It meets all of Barenboim's demands . . . there are many fine things in the Ninth, that ultimate challenge . . . everything is balanced, and with an excellent chorus and a decent quartet of soloists, the last movement is an inspiration . . . this is a worthwhile and often moving set.

What distinguishes Barenboim's set . . . is the courage of its iconoclastic convictions . . .

. . . [ein] fabelhaftes West Eastern Divan Orchestra . . . es sind junge Musiker aus Israel und den arabischen Ländern, die im West-Eastern Divan Orchestra so perfekt den deutschen Klang kultivieren: warm, mit einer kräftigen Bassgrundierung, rund und streicherbetont. Das alles passt bestens zu Daniel Barenboims furtwänglernder Beethoven-Auffassung. Das Tempo war frei, doch nicht romantisierend übertrieben . . .

Universale Friedensbotschaft in ein musikalisches Gewand gehüllt . . . eine Riege von hochkarätigen Sängern . . . [eine] schnörkellose, jugendliche Produktion . . . [ein] guter Einstieg in den sinfonischen Kosmos Ludwig van Beethovens.

Schon die bisherigen Produktionen und Filmdokumentationen des Orchesters belegen Barenboims begnadete pädagogischen Fähigkeiten, Musiker mit unterschiedlichem Background zusammenzuführen und zu Hochleistungen anzuspornen. So auch im Falle dieses Zyklus . . . Unter seiner souveränen Stabführung musizieren die jungen Musiker mit unglaublichem Engagement, mit süffig-satter Tongebung, aber auch einer Portion Pathos. Das Ganze kulminiert in einer mit extremer Dynamik und musikalisch emotional mitreißend zelebrierten Neunten.

These recordings are also far from any routine: in them coincide the orchestra¿s freshness with the knowledge of the artistically mature conductor . . . a unity, an impression of continuum laying to the cycle . . . Barenboim notices like no one else the function of details, of the most imperceptible transitions, and he reveals them to us with a perfect distinction of levels. There are no pianissimos more expressive than his, and the crescendo, for example, is less a state that can enrapture itself (like meat that cooks too fast) than a process that must be constructed. To him, the dynamics are inseparable from the time. The result is one of an amazing transparency.