HERBERT KEGEL & THE DRESDEN PHILHARMONIC - Beethoven, Brahms & Others: Orchestral Works (8 CDS)
Herbert Kegel is still revered in Japan as one of the most important conductors of the 20th century. By contrast, maestro Kegel has always been regarded with a certain skepticism in his home country. For this reason, Kegel’s name today also stands as a warning as to what damage the so-called ‘music business’ and state-regulated cultural policies may do. His interpretations are characterized by immensely painstaking precision, transparency and listenability. The list of exploits can be continued, including, undoubtedly, the first Beethoven cycle in digital technology. It can also be heard in this release. Kegel’s slow tempi are initially surprising, but they have an effect: the poetry and clarity of Beethoven’s scores have rarely shown to more advantage. Made between 1982 and 1986, these recordings not only include Beethoven’s Nine Symphonies, but also works by Elgar, Stravinsky, Schmidt, Gluck, and more, showing a well-rounded and extraordinarily talented interpreter.
This 8-CD box set offers collectors a generous selection of recordings by the German conductor, Herbert Kegel (1910-1990). The complete Beethoven symphonies form the centrepiece, and are notable in part because the cycle was the first to be digitally recorded for the then new medium of the compact disc. The performances are characterised by Kegel's painstaking precision in achieving an engaging transparency for the listener. While his slow tempi may be initially surprising, the poetry and clarity he evinces from Beethoven’s scores have rarely been shown to greater advantage. Beethoven's Triple Concerto and Choral Fantasia, Brahms' A German Requiem, and a disc of 11 short pieces featuring a range of composers, from Gluck to Grieg, complete the compilation.