Beethoven: Egmont, Wellington's Siege - de Vriend

Beethoven: Egmont, Wellington's Siege - de Vriend

Challenge Classics  CC 72198

Stereo/Multichannel Hybrid


Beethoven: Egmont, Wellington's Siege

The Netherlands Symphony Orchestra
Jan Willen de Vriend

An album for children and adults.

The overture Egmont by Beethoven is probably one of the most played overtures ever. The rest of the music is a bit forgotten, because of the connection with the drama. Plays are now rarely performed with orchestra. Wim T. Schippers made a new version of the play Egmont. He went back to the play by Goethe and edited the story to a mix of drama an narrative. Together with mezzo-soprano Cora Burggraaf he tells the story of Lamoraal I, fourth earl of Egmont and his beloved Klärchen.

The story of this earl inspired Johann Wolfgang von Goethe to write a play. He based his Egmont (1787) on the historical events in the Netherlands. He exaggerated the story sometimes and added some romance: Egmont's faithful spouse with 11 children was replaced by Klärchen, a young wench, which in the end desperately commits suicide, because of the destiny of her beloved. The play ends with a call of Egmond to fight for independence. He dies as a martyr, his dead is a victory for the dutch people and a defeat for the tiran Alva.

In this time it was common to add music to a play. Goethe already indicated some places in the text where music could be played. Several composers wrote music to his play Egmont. When the drama was performed again in 1810 in Vienna the director of the imperial theater, Joseph Härtel Edler von Luchsenstein, wanted Beethoven to compose the music. And this time not only the pieces which Goethe mentioned in his text (the two Klärchen-songs; ‘Klärchens Tod bezeichnend’; ‘Melodrama’, and the ‘Siegessymphonie’), but also a beautiful overture and four entr'actes. Beethoven had met Goethe in person before and was very impressed by his work. Besides this he liked the subject of the drama.

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Comments (1)

Comment by Waveform - June 6, 2017 (1 of 1)

This site - or anything else - has not provided a review about this album. After the first listening I will write a short one (without star rating) as a clue for those who have considered to add this on their SACD libraries.

Quite frustrating album, to be honest. If you don't understand Dutch like me the main work, Egmont, will be a real disappointment. Instead of the original German dialogue they decided to replace it with Dutch one, narrated by one person. More reglettably the booklet doesn't include any translations of it. Actually there is just a short essay of each work but no lyrics at all. This will be a serious disadvantage for those who doesn't speak Dutch as a native language. In short, the only tracks you can listen to are the first (Overture) and the second (Clara's song). In everywhere else the beautiful music of Beethoven has been ruined by spoken dialogue which has been recorded into the music. Now I understand why Challenge has not released this internationally.
Luckily the filler on the disc, Wellington's Victory, is far more enjoyable listening experience. Vriend and his orchestra are in top form creating an exciting listening experience supported by spacious recording, especially in multi-channel. If your subwoofer is switched on it will reproduce the cannon shots in a terrific way.

Buy this for the Wellington's Victory only.