If you didn’t know Christ on the Mount of Olives, and were listening to it blind, I wonder if Beethoven would be the first composer to come to mind. There are though numerous hints that it’s by him – traits of orchestration being one, plenty of narrative impulse/vivid characterisation being another, and not forgetting soulful expression vying with drama. Dating from 1803 and premiered alongside Symphony 2 & Piano Concerto 3, it was revised and only published ten years later. It may not be a great piece but it is a fascinating one as well as a good listen, enhanced by this superb performance (January/February this year, Barbican Hall), led by a smitten and seeking Simon Rattle who inspires the LSO, London Symphony Chorus, Elsa Dreisig, Pavol Breslik and David Soar to rehabilitate Beethoven’s only oratorio with power, panache and eloquence, faithfully captured in the splendid recorded sound. Fans of Leonore/Fidelio needn’t hesitate. The booklet includes the German text and an English translation. LSO Live LSO0862 [SACD].
Beethoven 250: Simon Rattle records Christ on the Mount of Olives for LSO Live.
Dec 17, 2020 | Recording Reviews | 0 comments