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Some of these works notably symphonies 1 and 7 are good but overall I found this set to be somewhat disappointing. Having enjoyed a number of Ries piano concertos I think his inventiveness and originality wears a bit thin in the symphonies. I feel there are too many obvious quotations from Beethoven and the over use of dynamic emphasis throughout the whole set becomes wearing after a while and you get the feeling that it was employed only to mask the mediocrity of the material in some cases (as in symphonies 4 and 6) for instance. Apologies for appearing so negative but I was expecting more particularly after hearing the splendid piano concertos.
You might have arrived at the symphonies of Ferdinand Ries via his enjoyable piano concertos (as I did). The symphonies included here are pleasant, lightweight and undemanding. In that sense they are like those of Louis Spohr, available on the same label:
Spohr:Complete Symphonies [NDR Radiophilharmonie Hannover, Howard Griffiths] [Cpo: 555105-2
Conducting, playing, recording and packaging are all high quality, so give these pleasant works a try if you are looking for some new symphonies to explore.
Like his string quartets, this set of symphonies are certainly well worth getting. They are a must listen for anyone who is keen to follow the development of the early romantic symphony. The playing cannot be faulted although, with despite the orchestra being quite small, the sound is still full and adequately lush where required.
Ries was a contemporary (and student) of Beethoven, and it shows in his music. These eight symphonies are interesting to listen to the first time through, as you'll definitely detect "Betthovian" influences throughout, and yet there's something just not as solid or entwining as Beethoven. It would not be fair to call Ries "Beethoven light" as there's some genuinely interesting music here, with some clever additions and Ries-specific idiosyncrasies in the music. But...these are not considered masterpieces in the same vein as Beethoven's because while close, they are simply not quite as good.
That doesn't mean these are bad symphonic works at all. They are interesting to listen to, and I cannot help listen to any one of these symphonies without inevitably comparing it to Beethoven; that's both good and bad, as noted above. The performances are solid, the engineering is good, and the accompanying notes, while brief, are interesting. If you are a classical music fan, you will not be disappointed by these works, and for fans of Beethoven this is an interesting comparison in style and composition. If you think of these as early works of Beethoven, you'll be close to the mark in expectation and performance.
I had a great time listening through these symphonies the first time, and will revisit them again. They also tweaked my interest in Ries, whom I knew only for his Rule Britannia variations. Now, I'm looking for more Ries...and interesting discovery!
What a wonderful set of CDs this is. Having ploughed my way through the Naxos releases of the Ries piano concertos, I was absolutely knocked out by them. I just had to invest in this set of the eight Ries symphonies. I was not disappointed. Like the piano concertos, they are very musical and enjoyable. There are inevitably strong hints of Beethoven and occasional suggestions of Schubert as well. I am not a trained or even a knowledgeable musician, but I know what I like and these symphonies are very enjoyable indeed. The recording quality is also of a very high standard. Highly recommended.
Ce coffret des 8 symphonies du compositeur allemand Ferdinand Ries (1784-1838) est une excellente initiative du Label CPO et de l'orchestre de chambre de Zurich, dirigé par Howard Griffiths : Si on souhaite les écouter par ordre chronologique de composition, l'ordre est plutôt le suivant : 1-5-2-3-4-8-6-7. La notoriété de Ries a souffert de l'ombre engendrée par son ami....Beethoven ! On sait en effet qu'à l'ombre d'un grand chêne, ne pousse aucune plante. Les symphonies de Ries sont néanmoins agréables, toniques, jamais ennuyeuses, toujours optimistes (même celles en mode mineur). Il a peut-être manqué à Ries, pour être davantage génial, le sens dramatique, voire tragique : - La symphonie n°1, la plus martiale, a été composée dans le contexte viennois de la bataille de Wagram ! - La symphonie n°2 ( la 3ème) fut son oeuvre la plus populaire. - La symphonie n°3 (la 4ème) a eu du succès à Londres mais pas en Allemagne ! - Quant à la symphonie n°8 (la 6ème), c'est celle que je préfère. La prise de son est absolument excellente, et les livrets comprennent une traduction complète en français.
Oltre ogni aspettativa. Le ho centellinate e gustate. L'allievo di Beethoven si sente, alle volte fa pensare anche a Mozart. Consigliabile a chiunque ami la buona musica e voglia allargare i propri orizzonti oltre i compositori conosciuti.
Ferdinand Ries (Alemanha, 1784-1838) foi, durante a sua juventude, discípulo e amigo de Beethoven. Estas excelentes gravações da sinfonias de Ries, têm o mérito de dar a conhecer um compositor inspirado, que marcou a transição entre o classicismo vienense e o romantismo. Conhecidas as suas sinfonias, importa ouvir os seus concertos para piano, sendo Ries, ele próprio um pianista virtuoso.