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Reviews: Beethoven: Complete Symphonies - Asahina

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Reviews: 1

Review by Joseph Ponessa March 23, 2009 (4 of 8 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Takashi Asahina was 92 years of age when he conducted the Osaka Philharmonic in his last Beethoven cycle. This was the major musical event of the year 2000 in Japan, and a worthy recapitulation of Asahina's long career, a little more than a year before his death. The approach is classic and stately, rather than virtuosic, as noted in the Japanese press at the time. The attack is a little uncoordinated at the beginning of the Allegro movement of the Ninth, possibly because the maestro was tiring, but other than this flaw the performances are amazing. The recording dates, all in 2000, were July 23 (First and Third), March 10 (Second and Sixth), May 3 (Fourth), May 10 (Fifth), September 24 (Seventh and Eighth) and December 29 (Ninth). Soloists in the Ninth were Emiko Suga, Naoko Ihara, Kei Fukui and Michio Tatara.
Direct-Stream-Digital had appeared by this time and was employed in recording the cycle. The outstanding classical label Exton has released the whole thing both as six separate discs and in a boxed set, in the new HQCD technique, which uses a different kind of metallic backing to the CD. The combination of HQCD in the physical medium and DSD-SACD in the digital encoding yields an incredible sonic gleam to this material. Shouldn't there be some kind of award for this sort of thing?

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