Harnoncourt conducts Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven & Brahms | ICA Classics ICAC5161

Harnoncourt conducts Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven & Brahms


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Label: ICA Classics

Cat No: ICAC5161

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 4

Genre: Orchestral

Release Date: 29th October 2021



This set is a testament to a remarkable collaboration between the conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt (1929-2016) and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe (COE), and its release this year marks the Orchestra’s 40th anniversary.

These recordings also trace the relationship between Harnoncourt and the Styriarte Festival which started in 1987 and lasted for over 30 years.

The COE became Harnoncourt’s orchestra of choice for the classics played on modern instruments. He had been the pioneer of the exploration of period-appropriate style from the early 1950s with the Concentus Musicus Wien, and followed this by exploring how modern instruments could respond in the classics by adapting to the style without having to change the instruments they were playing. Harnoncourt wanted the players to take risks and perhaps fail rather than play safe. In rehearsal, he often told the performers that great music was always on the edge of catastrophe!

As the COE’s double bass player, Enno Senft, remarked, ‘The name Nikolaus Harnoncourt is synonymous with bringing music of any era to life as if it was written today, and giving it lasting relevance to all listeners. The COE’s musical belief embodies this philosophy entirely, and we worked with Nikolaus over decades to make this a reality...we are proud to have made his musical language part of our unique style.’

The set offers remarkable examples of Harnoncourt’s fresh insights into his core repertoire – Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and Brahms.

All these recordings are ‘live’ performances, beautifully recorded producing an extra degree of spontaneity and atmosphere compared to studio recordings.

The recordings have never been published until now.

Luxuriously packaged in a clamshell box with individual wallets and a 24-page booklet complete with rare photographs and an essay from Simon Mundy interspersed with anecdotes and memories from COE players from the concerts.

Technical supervision has been carried out by Paul Baily with the aid of Christian Eisenberger, a COE player, to create the exact sound of the concerts.

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