Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe’s (COE) groundbreaking new recording of Beethoven’s nine symphonies is the first recorded cycle based on the recently concluded New Complete Edition of the composer’s works. “I’m interested in how Beethoven’s music can surprise us today,” explained Yannick Nézet-Séguin. “Our interpretation should make the audience feel as if they were hearing this music for the first time. That is my goal.” Beethoven: The Symphonies has been released as a 5-CD edition and is also available digitally in standard stereo and in Dolby Atmos and Spatial Audio formats.
Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe’s recording of Beethoven’s symphonies, originally planned as part of the celebrations to mark the 250th anniversary of the composer’s birth, was postponed by the coronavirus pandemic. The concerts were rescheduled and recorded in July 2021 at the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden in Germany. The orchestra and conductor were joined in the Ninth Symphony by soloists Siobhan Stagg, Ekaterina Gubanova, Werner Güra and Florian Boesch and the professional choristers of Laurence Equilbey’s Accentus. Each critically acclaimed concert in the belated Beethoven 250th-birthday tribute was streamed live and recorded by Deutsche Grammophon.
First recorded cycle based on the ‘New Complete Edition’
The COE first recorded the Beethoven cycle thirty years ago with its first Honorary Member Nikolaus Harnoncourt. The musicians were delighted to rediscover the symphonies with Yannick Nézet-Séguin, also an Honorary Member of the orchestra, with whom they previously worked with on their acclaimed recordings of the complete symphonies of Schumann and Mendelssohn. Their new interpretations, informed by the recently concluded New Complete Edition of Beethoven’s works, include the revised and expanded role of the contrabassoon in the Ninth Symphony, which was edited by Dr Beate Angelika Kraus of the Beethoven Archive in Bonn who has written a fascinating account of her research in the booklet notes.
The results of the research were published in 2020, the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth, in the form of a full score and an extensive critical commentary. A full set of performing parts was also made available at this time – and it is these that were used for this recording.
“Far more than just a new edition of the score”
Dr Beate Angelika Kraus explained, “This particular volume in the New Complete Edition of Beethoven’s works is far more than just a new edition of the score. Anyone who reads it will gain insights not only into Beethoven’s workshop, which employed numerous copyists, but also into his surroundings and into the Ninth’s early performance history.”
In April this year Yannick Nézet-Séguin won his first Grammy Award (Best Orchestral Performance) for his recording with The Philadelphia Orchestra of Florence Price’s Symphonies Nos. 1 & 3.
Buy or stream Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe’s groundbreaking recording of Beethoven: The Symphonies here.