Shaking Rattle At Beethoven

Putting your stamp on Beethoven’s nine symphonies has traditionally been the great conductor’s calling card. It happens less these days, but Simon Rattle is the star of the day and he’s got a new set of recordings of the symphonies. Tim Page reports that “this would hardly be my first (or, for that matter, my 10th) choice for a complete Beethoven. Rattle has attempted to meld historically informed performance practice with old-fashioned orchestral grandeur, which means that the tempos tend to be on the quick side while the sonorities are full and lush. So far, so good. But Rattle places such an emphasis on drama and ferocity that many of the gentler and more expansive qualities of Beethoven’s art are lost.”