"A truly inspiring time travel during the re-mastering process of these legendary performances!”
This reading of the Beethoven symphonies is an extraordinary one and it was rewarded with multiple accolades in the international press.
The level of historical insight and dedication of Anima Eternal Brugge and their leader Jos van Immerseel, regarding informed playing on period instruments, is really remarkable.
Having the privilege to artistically produce and record their performances was an honor and the results are wonderful and rather unique.
The original High Resolution Immersive versions have been kept secret far to long and are really hidden gems to be enjoyed now by many.
These recordings were amongst the first made in DXD, after I adopted this format as basic recording resolution in 2005 (dCS prototype ADC’s) and most likely is one of the first recordings fully processed in 352,8kS/s/24bit; this was even before the name DXD existed. I remember drawing a logo for the format for an audio show, later to be almost exactly coherent with the now official DXD logo...
It offered fantastic possibilities and transparency in the production process and an optimal master quality for SACD releases and formats beyond that.
After retrieving the files from the archive, I decided to have another go on the mixes, now 16 years later with the progressive insight and acquired tools over the years for this stunning high resolution.
It was a tremendous pleasure to find the true hidden gems within these tracks and I am thrilled to finally share those with the world.
“To say this listening experience is otherworldly, is an understatement. It’s also the type of experience that turns people such as myself into classical music lovers.”
Listening to Egmont slowly build, crash magically, and continue on a rollercoaster, with the decibel meter on my watch indicating peaks over 90 dB, is what makes this hobby so wonderful. I’m listening to this exact piece now as I type, and I have chills. Everyone should have this experience. I feel like I’m sitting in front of the orchestra, in the concert hall! Nothing is missing from this immersive presentation. It has texture, tone, and enough dynamic range to scare the neighbors. What more could a music lover want.
CD of the Week on Classic FM - the Simon Bates page - April 24th 2008 [CD of the Week on Classic FM :his new boxed set is proof that the Old Radical's music can be interpreted in fresh, vibrant ways, and make you think again about old favourites which you thought you knew so well->
"Fine recordings, thoughtful notes.if you wanted just one period instrument set of the Beethoven Symphonies on your shelves, this is a persuasive package." BBC Radio 3's CD Review from Saturday. Andrew McGregor
Saturday April 26th All Music Guide. 5/5 "Who would have believed Belgian fortepianist and conductor Jos van Immerseel had it in him to turn in an exciting set of Beethoven's symphonies and overtures, especially with a a period instrument chamber orchestra? But these are indeed very exciting recordings. Listen to the hunting horns in the Third's Trio or the charging trumpets in the Seventh's closing Allegro con brio. Listen to Immerseel mold the phrasing in the Second's Larghetto or coda of the Third's Marcia funebre -- it's genuinely thrilling. In these performances, one gets a real sense of the warmth, humor, and compassion that mark the best Beethoven recordings. The recorded sound is immediate and translucent."
All Music Guide (***** performance/***** sound) "Indeed, from the first bristling chords, Anima Eterna's playing held me on the edge of my seat. Immerseel's brook is no ordinary stream but one that flows through a secluded oasis so hushed, cool and shady that one longs never to leave. And that's as good reason as any for me to recommend this superbly recorded and handsomely packaged set - even if it's just so you can visit that rejuvenating sanctuary whenever you like. I know I'll be back there often."
Andrew Farach-Colton - Editor's choice - Gramophone June 2008 Beethoven Symphonies 1-9, Anima Eterna / van Immerseel. (Zig Zag ZZT080402.6 - 6CDs) pounds 28.99 The Flemish musician Jos van Immerseel leads his Belgian period- instrument ensemble, Anima Eterna, in this richly rewarding cycle of Beethoven symphonies. His progress from the Baroque via the classical to the early Romantic eras is evident in these elegant performances, which are more for the historical purist than the full-on romanticist. The tempi are measured, the playing delicate, painting a portrait more of Beethoven the master craftsman than the fiery visionary.
Anthony Holden -Sunday April 20, 2008 - The Observer Daily Mail June 2008 UK. Beethoven: The Nine Symphonies (Zig Zag Territoires ZZT080402.6, six CDs) HERE is a superb new set of the most famous symphonies in our musical culture, brilliantly played on period instruments. Jos van Immerseel and his highly skilled Flanders-based orchestra Anima Eterna play at modern pitch (A=440), which they have established was done in Beethoven¹s Vienna. As the composer had to make do with motley collections of amateurs and professionals and couldn¹t hear a thing after about 1817 this is better than anything he experienced. Van Immerseel¹s interpretations are exciting but always musical. He does not superimpose strange ideas, as Norrington and others have done. He gives us the unvarnished music. In the Ninth Symphony he has excellent soloists and a fine choir. Five overtures, included as fillers, are also superbly done. The recordings are state-of-the-art throughout the set.
About the Album
In search of lost time: Beethoven and his orchestra
by Jos van Immerseel
At the present time, collectors and institutions are prepared to spend millions of euros for a manuscript by Beethoven, not only for one of his scores, but also for letters or mere jottings. Millions of visitors file through the dozens of museums devoted to the composer and past the monuments which commemorate him. His bust watches over innumerable pianos and mantelpieces, while his portrait adorns postage stamps and even, in hologram, credit cards. For Beethoven is generally regarded as the most important composer of western civilisation. ln 1977, the space probes Voyager 1 and 2 even took his music into space, as a possible means of communication if they should encounter extraterrestrial civilisations! Many people see Beethoven as the first ‘modern’ composer, a hero overshadowing even Napoleon, an absolute genius, a superman. But there is no greater sign of respect for a composer than to take his music seriously. Truly great minds wish to be understood for their work alone - as was also the case with Beethoven. The account of his teaching left by the pianist and composer Ferdinand Ries is a good illustration of this: ‘If I made mistakes in a passage, hit the wrong keys or missed intervals . . . he seldom said anything. But if I had not grasped the expression of crescendos and so forth, or the essential character of the work, he grew angry, for, he said errors of the first type were mere accidents, but the other kind displayed a lack of knowledge, of feeling or of attention.’ We are no longer lucky enough to be able to play the master’s works in his presence, in order to fathom his precise intentions. His penetration and his ability to express the most profound ideas in music have remained unequalled. Similarly, his understanding of the specific characteristics of the instruments of his time was exceptional. How can we still form an idea of these today? His art is most effectively rendered in an interpretation in which respect and freedom go hand in hand. Respect entails conscientious execution of the written text, the use of the instruments prescribed by the composer and implementation of the various elements which went without saying at the time - pitch, performance practice, internal orchestral balance, respect of tempo markings, and so on. The dimension of freedom lies in the right to be an individual of today with one’s (invariably personal) culture and sensibility, to blend the available elements as one sees fit, and to communicate all of this to an audience. It is when respect and freedom engage in fruitful dialogue that Beethoven is most likely to appear in his full gravity, drama, wit and humour.
Symphony no.6 in f major, op. 68 ‘Sinfonia Pastorale’ (1808)
I Allegro ma non troppo ‘Wakening of joyful feelings on arrival in the country’ 10’23
II Andante molto moto ‘Scene at the brook’ 11’59
III Allegro ‘Merrymaking of the country Folk’ 4’43
IV Allegro ‘Thunderstorm’ 4’00
V Allegretto ‘Pastoral Song.
Feeling of happiness and gratitude after the storm’ 9’15