CD Reviews: Beethoven Transformed vols. 1 and 2

Press/Media: Expert Comment

Description

Boxwood & Brass's 2-CD recording project Beethoven Transformed received glowing reviews from national, international and specialist publications. They have also revieved multiple radio plays on BBC Radio 3 and RTE Lyric (Ireland).

“Boxwood & Brass prove dazzlingly persuasive advocates of the form... vibrant musicality, a wonderful warmth of sound and total technical precision... these thoughtful and assured performances bring to life every subtlety and colour in these works. ”
— BBC Music Magazine, Christmas 2019

“Beethoven 250 gets off to a flying early start ... Creamy clarinets combine attractively with punchy horns and burbling bassoons to give this music a special Viennese verve.”
— The Observer

“Joyous listening ... These CDs are enchanting, funny and exciting. Even if your shelves are overburdened with Beethoven, make space for them”
— The Arts Desk

"I love the textures, the creamy clarinet, the slightly tart oboe sound, the deftly manipulated hand-stopped horns... Those piquant timbres are equally effective in the Overture and incidental music from Beethoven’s Egmont and an arrangement of his seventh symphony, whose presto almost seems to chuckle with these period wind sounds."

— Andrew McGregor, BBC Radio 3 Record Review

Period6 Nov 2019 → 7 Nov 2020

Media coverage

8

Media coverage

  • TitleRecord Review
    Degree of recognitionInternational
    Media name/outletBBC Radio 3
    Media typeRadio
    CountryUnited Kingdom
    Date7/11/20
    Description[Transcript]: I’m really getting into my Beethoven arrangements this 250th anniversary year, and here’s another one from period wind ensemble Boxwood & Brass. I love the textures, the creamy clarinet, the slightly tart oboe sound, the deftly manipulated hand-stopped horns. This anonymous arrangement of the Pathetique sonata is from Vienna in 1810. … ‘The rondo finale of Beethoven’s Pathetique Sonata played by the period wind ensemble Boxwood & Brass in that Viennese arrangement. Those piquant timbres are equally effective in the Overture and incidental music from Beethoven’s Egmont and an arrangement of his seventh symphony, whose presto almost seems to chuckle with these period wind sounds. Beethoven Transformed they’ve called it, volume 1 [sic], it’s a new release from Resonus Classics.’
    Producer/AuthorAndrew McGregor
    PersonsEmily Worthington
  • TitleClassical CDs Weekly: Beethoven, Josquin, Tabea Debus
    Degree of recognitionInternational
    Media name/outletThe Artsdesk
    Media typeWeb
    CountryUnited Kingdom
    Date7/11/20
    Description"these two discs feature period arrangements of Beethoven, the technical and expressive demands demonstrating how good the players would have needed to be. ... this account [of Beethoven's Septet] brims with wit and energy. ... Friedrich Starke’s version of the Egmont Overture is magnificently earthy, neatly partnered with Boxwood bassoonist Robert Percival’s transcriptions of four extracts from Beethoven’s incidental music to Goethe’s play. Anonymous versions of the Sonata Pathétique and Symphony No. 7 take greater liberties, transposing, cutting and occasionally recomposing. They’re tremendous. Particularly the symphony, now in G major and shortened to help preserve the players’ lips. It makes for joyous listening, the first movement’s vivace a thrilling blend of chugging bassoons and brassy natural horns. These CDs are enchanting, funny and exciting. Even if your shelves are overburdened with Beethoven, make space for them."
    Producer/AuthorGraham Rickson
    URLhttps://www.theartsdesk.com/classical-music/classical-cds-weekly-beethoven-josquin-tabea-debus
    PersonsEmily Worthington
  • TitleBeethoven: Septet in Eb Op. 20 (arr. Czerny)...
    Degree of recognitionInternational
    Media name/outletFanfare
    Media typePrint
    CountryUnited Kingdom
    Date30/05/20
    Description"I quickly came to delight in the Boxwood musicians’ superb playing and vivid tonal palette, in writing that is sometimes highly demanding and virtuosic, especially in the final movement. ... The Boxwood musicians’ performance differs from that of another period-instrument ensemble, Mozzafiato (Sony), principally in its smoother, more burnished sonority—not that the more pungent Mozzafiato sound is a demerit—and in its more deliberate tempos in all movements except the Menuetto. The Boxwood ensemble offsets the greater energy of the Mozzafiato performance with care for phrasing and shaping. The tempo difference is especially marked in the Rondo finale, for which the Boxwood track listing curiously omits the tempo marking of Allegro. While I would wish for the prancing rhythm of the A section to be brought out more assertively in the Boxwood rendition, I find the Mozzafiato treatment and also that of the Vienna Wind Soloists (Decca) somewhat hurried. In the less frantically paced Boxwood performance, the listener can savor the beauty and poise of the playing and the clarity and precision of the articulation.

    The sound of this recording is spacious, clear, well balanced, and realistic with excellent definition of the individual instruments and their timbres. This release demonstrates that the products of Beethoven’s youth, despite his dismissive attitude toward them, have much to offer and should not be overlooked. Those who enjoy Classical chamber music for winds will find much pleasure in this disc, which is recommended.
    (Four stars)
    Producer/AuthorDaniel Morrison
    PersonsEmily Worthington
  • TitleBeethoven Transformed vol. 1
    Degree of recognitionInternational
    Media name/outletEarly Music Review
    Media typeWeb
    CountryUnited Kingdom
    Date19/05/20
    DescriptionCzerny’s arrangement is a valuable rediscovery, which to my mind enhances the original. .... Both works are given charming performances by Boxwood and Brass, and indeed the distinctive sounds of their period instruments help to bring this music vividly to life. I have enjoyed very much both of the previous CDs by this enterprising group, and await with interest the continuation of this promising series.
    Producer/AuthorD. James Ross
    URLhttps://earlymusicreview.com/beethoven-transformed-volume-1/
    PersonsEmily Worthington
  • TitleHome listening: a Bach odyssey ends as non-stop Beethoven begins
    Degree of recognitionNational
    Media name/outletThe Guardian
    Media typePrint
    CountryUnited Kingdom
    Date1/12/19
    Description"Beethoven 250 gets off to a flying early start": Review of Beethoven Transformed vol. 1
    Producer/AuthorStephen Pritchard
    URLhttps://www.theguardian.com/music/2019/dec/01/angela-hewitt-bach-six-partitas-review-boxwood-brass-beethoven-transformed-vol-1-st-johns-advent
    PersonsEmily Worthington
  • TitleChamber Reviews: Beethoven Transformed vol. 1
    Degree of recognitionInternational
    Media name/outletBBC Music Magazine vol. 28/3
    Media typePrint
    CountryUnited Kingdom
    Date1/12/19
    Description"Boxwood & Brass prove dazzlingly persuasive advocates of the form. Founded in 2013, this sextet of clarinets, natural horns and bassoons brings vibrant musicality, a wonderful warmth of sound and total technical precision to this recording. ... these thoughtful and assured performances bring to life every subtlety and colour in these works, making for an instructive and hugely enjoyable listen."
    Producer/AuthorKate Wakeling
    PersonsEmily Worthington
  • TitleAndrew Benson Wilson - Earl Music Reviews +
    Degree of recognitionNational
    Media name/outletAndrew Benson Wilson - Earl Music Reviews +
    Media typeWeb
    CountryUnited Kingdom
    Date7/11/19
    Description"Boxwood & Brass have been exploring this repertoire since their foundation and are proving to be outstanding advocates of the music of the Harmonie. ... They play with a magnificent sense of period style and colour, all having solo roles as well as contributing to an outstanding consort sound"
    Producer/AuthorAndrew Benson-Wilson
    URLhttps://andrewbensonwilson.org/2019/11/07/beethoven-transformed/?fbclid=IwAR0WwiGZasyouJ9keHhhdf2A1llNnSzhfVky0qrTfKPmlvrWyNnerK53tAo
    PersonsEmily Worthington
  • TitleBeethoven Transformed: volume 1 of Boxwood & Brass' new project
    Degree of recognitionNational
    Media name/outletPlanet Hughill
    Media typeWeb
    CountryUnited Kingdom
    Date6/11/19
    Description"delightful and very, very full of colour. If you know Beethoven's Septet only in its original version and on modern instruments, then here you experience two layers of difference - the move from wind and strings to wind only and the move from modern to period instruments. The range of colours is magical ... Rhythmically the performance is full of an engaging bounce and lightness, and the Tempo di Menuetto and the Scherzo both make me want to smile. Being a serenade, the music in the Septet veers towards the lighter side, Beethoven enjoying himself. And it is clear that the musicians of Boxwood & Brass were doing so as well, and this enjoyment is clearly conveyed."
    Producer/AuthorRobert Hughill
    URLhttps://www.planethugill.com/2019/11/beethoven-transformed-volume-1-of.html?fbclid=IwAR0yTzQ0F50s3mqyF9Oj34dUuUzaYO6-MBRH5RRvVi_7ptGhOFzwhzZ_CWQ
    PersonsEmily Worthington