Osmo Vanska, BEETHOVEN: Symphonies Nos. 4 and 5

James Jolly

By James Jolly

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
A tremendous performance of perhaps the most famous symphony ever composed.

The Fifth Symphony is probably the most famous symphony ever composed: indeed its opening bars are probably the most famous introduction to any classical composition. Like a coiled spring, this is a work whose power is generated by its concentration: little motives suddenly emerge from the texture, strangely familiar but also possessing a rich life of their own. Apart from the extraordinary first movement, the most arresting moment in this concentrated work is the transition from the third to the fourth movement. Beethoven creates a sense of anticipation that builds and builds until the finale literally bursts upon us. It's no wonder then that the ending is drawn out to the point of parody, but taken together this is a thrilling journey that Osma Vänskä and his Minnesota orchestra captures the work's drama and originality like few recent interpretations. The coupling is a tremendous performance of the longer Fourth Symphony.