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Beethoven: The Creatures of Prometheus

Cappella Aquileia/Marcus Bosch (CPO)

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

The Creatures of Prometheus
Cappella Aquileia/Marcus Bosch
CPO 555303-2   62:17 mins

Beethoven was naturally attracted by the myth of Prometheus, bringer of most things he valued, so it’s not surprising that he wrote music expressing his enthusiasm for it, notably in the ‘Eroica’ Symphony and the great set of Variations, Op. 35. More surprisingly he wrote this hour-long ballet for it, consisting of 18 items, mostly very short, though the Overture and Finale top six minutes apiece. The tone is for the most part quite light, and in this lucid version the orchestra is appropriately small. Under Marcus Bosch dynamics are limited, wind instruments predominate over strings, and it is just conceivable that this music should accompany dancing. What is surprising is how lightweight almost all of it is, given the sovereign significance Beethoven attached to the subject, far more imposingly expressed in his two great Promethean works. The performance is idiomatic but I might have preferred it to be a bit weightier.

Michael Tanner