Beethoven: Symphony No.3 - "Eroica" & Overtures Orquesta Sinfónica Simón Bolívar de Venezuela & Gustavo Dudamel

Cover Beethoven: Symphony No.3 - 'Eroica' & Overtures

Album info



Label: Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Genre: Classical

Subgenre: Orchestral

Artist: Orquesta Sinfónica Simón Bolívar de Venezuela & Gustavo Dudamel

Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

Album including Album cover Booklet (PDF)

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  • Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 - 1827): Symphony No.3 In E-Flat Major, Op.55 - "Eroica":
  • 11. Allegro con brio17:35
  • 22. Marcia funebre (Adagio assai)17:39
  • 33. Scherzo (Allegro vivace)05:26
  • 44. Finale (Allegro molto)12:16
  • The Creatures Of Prometheus, Op.43:
  • 5Overtura. Adagio - Allegro molto con brio05:07
  • Music To Goethe's Tragedy "Egmont" Op.84:
  • 6Overture09:10
  • Total Runtime01:07:13

Info for Beethoven: Symphony No.3 - "Eroica" & Overtures

Gustavo Dudamel and the Simón Bolívar Orchestra bring their unique energy to one of the summits of the orchestral repertoire - Beethoven’s mighty Symphony No.3, the “Eroica”.

Beethoven’s third symphony is not only one of his most personal works – powerful in both grandeur and pathos – but also the source of some of classical music’s most instantly recognizable melodies.

The album also includes two of Beethoven’s best-loved overtures, Egmont, inspired by Goethe’s play, and the ballet, The Creatures of Prometheus.

No longer a ‘youth orchestra’, the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela is a world-class ensemble in its own right, touring the world’s great concert halls as ambassadors for their country’s unique system of musical education, ‘El Sistema’.

The combination of powerful, accessible repertoire, Dudamel’s irrepressible charisma and the remarkable story of the Simón Bolívar Orchestra make this recording not only desirable for Dudamel fans and those of Beethoven’s music, but a must for anyone wishing to discover the power of classical music at its very best.

Feted like a rockstar in his homeland, Gustavo Dudamel was recently awarded a Grammy® for Best Orchestral Recording of 2011. His epic cycle of Mahler symphonies in Los Angeles and Caracas made him front page news in The New York Times and his record-setting Mahler 8 was shown live in hundreds of cinemas around the world. Gustavo made a stellar debut in the Wiener Philharmoniker’s prestigious subscription concerts in December and takes the Berliner Philharmoniker on tour this Spring.

Dudamel and Beethoven: Gustavo Dudamel has always had a special relationship with the music of Beethoven, as have many Venezuelan musicians. In 2006, Dudamel and what was then the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela recorded the Fifth and Seventh Symphonies for DGG. It was a remarkable disc. “Since 2006,” Dudamel noted “we’ve taken out the word ‘youth’ from our name but the young soul remains. It’s the same orchestra, you can still see very young people, but it’s a step in a new direction. Our commitment to the core repertoire, and also to the great genius of Beethoven, remains, as well.”

Beethoven’s Third Symphony, the “Eroica”, which Dudamel and his orchestra have been touring of late, was completed in 1803. The previous autumn the 31-year-old Beethoven had drawn up his so-called Heiligenstadt Testament, the confessional statement in which he confronted the trauma of his growing deafness, contemplated suicide, and stoically rejected it. It was against this background that he began work on the “Eroica”, a symphony whose scale, emotional power and narrative reach transformed the medium.

The symphony’s informing idea can be traced back to 1801 and the music Beethoven wrote for the ballet The Creatures of Prometheus. The subject was a lofty one. Prometheus, the heroic benefactor of mankind, drives “ignorance from the people of his age” and gives them “manners, customs, and morals”. In stealing fire from the gods, he acquires that divine spark which mankind itself can harness only through suffering and struggle. This Promethean ideal fed into Beet­hoven’s own determination to outface suffering and despair. To which he added what at the time was his admiration for the heroic deeds of Napoleon Bonaparte. (An admiration that turned to ashes when Napoleon declared himself Emperor in May 1804.)

It is clear when we hear the opening notes of the “Eroica” that we are dealing with music on a titanic scale. If we examine Beethoven’s sketchbooks for the work, we see the sweep of his imaginative vision; how, at a quite early stage in the planning, the melody’s dissonant C sharp in bar 7 is already linked to the D flat [= C sharp] in a visionary bridge passage which will somehow usher in the movement’s recapitulation. At the time of those first sketches, Beethoven had no more idea how to cross the 400-bar space between than a mountaineer who first glimpses a distant peak from the valley beneath.

Some of Beethoven’s most powerful effects seem bewilderingly simple. The two opening chords act both as gesture and as rhythmic markers, allowing the E flat major theme in bar 3 an ease and impulsion it would not possess without them. The sonic ferocity of the symphony is signalled at the end of the exposition in a mass of misplaced accents and dissonant tonic-plus-dominant chords as shocking as anything in Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du printemps. The dissonant climax of the development section is even more ferocious, after which an entirely new melody sings out in the remote key of E minor. (“A song of pain after the holocaust”, as Leonard Bernstein once memorably expressed it.)

The search for a bridge back to the recapitulation is one of the most astonishing passages in all Beethoven, beginning with an abortive attempt by the second horn to claim the movement’s opening theme for itself. Fifteen bars later, the first horn does acquire it, dolce and in F major, before the flute, serenely poised over rising and falling strings, secures the transition with a resolution of that C sharp = D flat ambiguity that had been posited 400 bars earlier.

The symphony’s second movement, the revolutionary Marcia funebre, is best seen as a threnody not for one hero but for any hero. Musically, it is a huge rondo which becomes ever more colossal as the initiating ideas develop and fragment within the music’s intensely slow-moving progress. Using the same key centres, C minor and E flat major, which Mozart had deployed in his Masonic Funeral Music,Beethoven sublimates grief whilst at the same time creating a superb essay in the musical picturesque: a solemn cortège set against louring temples and crumbling classical pediments such as David or Delacroix might have painted.

The finale quotes and freely develops a theme from Beethoven’s Prometheus ballet. Outwardly jaunty, this too undergoes an amazing transformation three-quarters of the way through the movement when in awed tones the solo oboe leads a solemn hymn, a moment once likened by the distinguished English musicologist Sir Donald Tovey to “the opening of the gates of paradise”. In a postscript to the Heiligenstadt Testament Beethoven wrote, “O Providence – grant me at last but one day of pure joy.” Just such a sense of “pure joy” is felt in the final moments of the “Eroica”.

Tragedy commingled with joy also informs the incidental music to Goethe’s prose tragedy Egmont on which Beethoven lavished so much care and attention six years later. A Fleming and a fervent democrat, Beethoven was greatly stirred by the life of Lamoral, Count of Egmont, the governor of Flanders, who was executed by the occupying Spanish in 1568.

The grinding discords of the overture’s baleful slow introduction, its progressively “poisoned” harmonies, and the perceptibly Spanish pulse of the rhythm in the bass vividly depict the Spanish oppressor, while pleading wind phrases evoke the plight of the subject peoples. The two ideas are powerfully contrasted in the overture’s symphonically shaped central development before the death-blow itself and the transforming “Victory Symphony” in which Beethoven sets before us the rising of the Flemish people and with it the posthumous triumph of Egmont’s political and moral vision. (Richard Osborne)

„The opening allegro con brio of the "Eroica" is a moderately brisk one, and the phrasing is crisply executed by this always-impressive orchestra. The clearly delineated instrumental articulation is everything that we have come to expect from these musicians as well . . . [in the Scherzo] the horns of the trio fairly chortle their joyous calls. The playful set of variations in the finale is carried off with aplomb . . . The overture to "The Creatures of Prometheus" is, of course, most appropriate as a companion to the symphony, and it receives a spirited performance . . . The sound production is impressive, with full-bodied stereo, very good bass, and decent instrumental definition, all within an expansive sound stage. Altogether, this is a highly entertaining and excellently performed version of the "Eroica," and the two overtures are, at the very least, interesting for what they add to Dudamel's Beethoven discography. Recommended.“ (Christopher Abbot, Fanfare)

„This is the best conducting I have heard from Gustavo Dudamel, and the best playing from the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra . . . [Symphony no. 3]: The playing on this disc is tremendous, with the orchestra providing a glowing central European sound. The winds are impressive and the horns rise to the Symphony's notorious challenges, particularly in the Trio of the third movement . . . there is much beauty to be found here and some devastating climaxes. The two overtures are also given high-voltage accounts and that is an impressive achievement . . .“ (Michael Tanner, BBC Music Magazine)

Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela
Gustavo Dudamel, conductor

The Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela (SBYOV)
was founded on February 12, 1975, by maestro José Antonio Abreu, and is the most polished artistic product of the National System of Youth and Children’s Orchestras.

The orchestra has had two principal conductors: its founder, maestro Abreu, who held the post for over two decades and maestro Alfredo Rugeles, its current artistic director. In addition to Dr. Abreu and maestro Rugeles, the orchestra has welcomed prominent guest conductors to its podium, whose contributions to the orchestra’s artistic standards proved invaluable.

The SBYOV has performed with famous soloists and renowned ensembles. It has appeared in many music festivals, gala concerts, and special events in Venezuela and abroad, and it has played at many of the most important venues of Europe, Asia, and North and South America.

The SBYOV’s varied repertoire includes important Venezuelan and Latin-American pieces which have won renown and popularity due to the orchestra’s performances and recordings. Between 1980 and 1981, the orchestra released three albums, and in the nineties, produced some recordings for Dorian under the baton of Eduardo Mata, Enrique Diemecke, Maximiano Valdés and Keri-Lynn Wilson. In 2006, the SBYOV began to record for Deutsche Grammophone under the conduction of Gustavo Dudamel. Since then four compact discs has already been produced.

Since 1976 the Teresa Carreño Theater is its permanent home, wherein the orchestra’s weekly performances are held and the Orchestral Academic Program (Programa Académico Orquestal) is developed since 2001. Through this program, the best musicians from the Núcleos around the country join the SBYOV – led by Gustavo Dudamel – continue their musical education under the tutelage of world-renowned institutions and El Sistema’s most experienced musicians.

Gustavo Dudamel
passionate music-making continues to inspire audiences of all ages worldwide. Currently serving as Music Director of both the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the impact of his musical leadership is felt on four continents. While his commitment to these posts accounts for the major portion of his yearly schedule, Dudamel also guest conducts with some of the world’s greatest musical institutions. This season he returns to the Vienna and Berlin Philharmonics, and tours with La Scala in opera and concert to Japan. Additional guest appearances include the New York Philharmonic, Munich Philharmonic, Philharmonia Orchestra London, Bamberg Symphony, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, and Gothenburg Symphony, where he is Honorary Conductor.

Dudamel makes his first foray into composing for film with the major feature Libertador (the life of Simón Bolívar), for which he wrote the score and recorded it with the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela. It is being released this season, along with the soundtrack.

Now in his 15th season as Music Director, Dudamel continues to lead the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra in his native Venezuela as well as on tour. Starting with a production of Tannhäuser at the Bogotá Opera in July 2013, followed by a 2013 summer residency at the Salzburg Festival, the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra then tours to Paris and the Middle East in January of 2014, before travelling to California in February for a residency and joint concerts with the Los Angeles Philharmonic for an LA Phil Tchaikovsky Festival.

Gustavo Dudamel is in his fifth season as Music Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, where his contract has already been extended through 2018-19, the orchestra’s 100th season. Under his leadership the Los Angeles Philharmonic has expanded its diversified outreach through many projects, most notably Youth Orchestra Los Angeles (YOLA), influenced by Venezuela’s widely successful El Sistema. With YOLA, Gustavo brings music to children in the underserved communities of Los Angeles, and also serves as an inspiration for similar efforts throughout the United States, as well as for programs in Sweden (Hammarkullen) and Scotland (Raploch). This season, the students of YOLA will have the unique opportunity of playing alongside the musicians of the Los Angeles Philharmonic in its first ever public “side by side” concert.

At the Los Angeles Philharmonic, it is not only the breadth of the audience reached, but also the depth of the programming performed under Gustavo Dudamel that is remarkable. Programs at the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 2013-2014 continue to represent the best and the boldest: eleven world premieres and thirteen commissions; a Hollywood Bowl Aida and Verdi Requiem; a community-wide season opening festival in celebration of the 10th anniversary of Walt Disney Concert Hall, culminating in a gala performance at the Hall; and a seven-city North American tour to San Francisco, Kansas City, New York, Washington DC, Toronto, Montreal and Boston in March 2014. The season ends with a staged Così fan tutte with sets by architect Zaha Hadid, completing a three-consecutive-year Mozart/Da Ponte trilogy project.

An exclusive Deutsche Grammophon artist since 2005, Grammy winner Gustavo Dudamel has numerous recordings on the label. As part of a major Mahler recording project, his most recent CD release is Mahler 9 with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, with Mahler 7 (Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra) anticipated for early 2014. In addition, DG has already released Mahler 5, as well as Dudamel: Mahler 8 - Symphony of a Thousand Live from Caracas(DVD + Blu-Ray), featuring the combined forces of the LA Phil and the Bolívars. September 2013 sees the international release of an all-Strauss disc with the Berlin Philharmonic (CD), and a concerto disc with the Bolívars and Yuja Wang featuring Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto and Prokofiev’s Second Piano Concerto is scheduled for release later this season. A CD of Adams’ Gospel According to the Other Mary with the Los Angeles Philharmonic is planned for release in March 2014.

Pedro Eustache
Venezuelan-born Pedro Eustache is an openly creative solo flautist-“World-Music” woodwinds-reeds-synthesist-composer, with a unique, richly eclectic, multi-directional personal voice. His musical language is the direct result of years of both solid studies and professional experience in the classical-European, Jazz, World-Music, Popular, and Computer/Electronic music art forms. He graduated from two European conservatories in classical music, has a M.F.A. in Jazz in the USA, & has studied world music disciplines with some of the greatest masters, including India’s living legend Pandit. Ravi Shankar & matchless bansuri master Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, as well as Armenian duduk w/maestro Djivan Gasparian, and to name but a few.

Mr. Eustache’s professional activities go from solo western classical recitals, to more than seven years of symphonic experience, to jazz concerts, pop, world music [traditional & cross-over], in tours, live performances, recordings & lecturing.

He is the main world-winds instrumentalist in John Debney’s soundtrack for Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” movie [nominated for best film-music for the 2005 Oscars]. He was a featured soloist in the ’05 Grammy-award winner “Concert For George”, playing for the first time ever the Armenian duduk in a traditional Indian classical music setting, as a member of India’s living legend, & his teacher, Pndt. Ravi Shankar (Pedro is his only latin-american disciple). For more than 10 years he has been the featured winds soloist with new-age super-star Yanni, and has performed, recorded, &/or toured with many others, like latin-rock super star Shakira, virtuoso composer/flautist James Newton Jr., rock star Don Henley, Persian diva Googoosh, & Latin extraordinary Alex Acuña, among many others.

Pedro is the main world winds soloist featured in many movie soundtracks, including Steven Spielberg’s film ‘Munich’ w/film music composer legend, John Williams; Peter Jackson’s “King Kong” w/James Newton Howard (also in ‘The Interpreter’, ‘The Village’, ‘Hidalgo’); as well as in Warner Bros. “Syriana” w/Alexandre Desplat (& Djivan Gasparian!), as well as in the first Hollywood-Bollywood co-production “Marigold”, w/Graeme Revell. Other film, TV & Video Games soundtrack recordings include: maestro Michel Colombier† (‘Largo Winch’), Danny Elfman (‘The Hulk’), Tim Truman (‘Jeremiah’), Russell Brower (Blizzard Entertainment’s ‘World of Warcraft®’), and most recently he is the featured world winds soloist in”Pirates of the Caribbean 3” with Hans Zimmer, among many others.

Booklet for Beethoven: Symphony No.3 - "Eroica" & Overtures

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