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Robert Cummings
MusicWeb International, January 2020

Conductor Leif Segerstam captures the essence of this score effectively, conveying its colourful character, its wit and subtleties. True, his tempos are on the expansive side especially in Nos. 5 and 7 (tracks 7 and 9). Faster music in the ballet is generally judiciously paced or perhaps reined in just a bit, while slower music tends to be somewhat expansive. Segerstam’s approach then may go against current trends in interpreting Beethoven, but obviously that doesn’t invalidate it.

…This Prometheus is very well played and interpreted. Thus, if you want a fine performance of this ballet music with excellent sound reproduction, this new one by Segerstam may be the one to get. © 2020 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Peter Quantrill
Gramophone, January 2020

Segerstam leads nicely pointed accounts of the minuets, the second of them familiar to any viewer of Fawlty Towers. He cultivates an unfashionably rounded sonority from the strings of the Turku Philharmonic, but the songful ease and elegant phrasing of his dance-music conducting here and in the complete Creatures of Prometheus may confound some expectations. The solo harp and cello number in Act 2 is beautifully done… © 2020 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

Paul L. Althouse
American Record Guide, January 2020

The Finnish orchestra under Segerstam plays well. The performance does not sound “careful”, but rather shows great strength with lots of dynamic contrast. The solo instrumentalists, all unnamed, do quite well, particularly the cellist in Act I. The Naxos sonics are full and rich, and fine notes by Keith Anderson put everything in perspective. © 2019 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide, November 2019

Hearing the full-length ballet in the sensitive, well-paced performance by the Turku Philharmonic Orchestra under Leif Segerstam, on the Naxos label, is an opportunity to experience a side of Beethoven that rarely makes it into the concert hall. … Segerstam has a particularly good touch for this music, allowing it to flow naturally and making the slower sections somewhat serious but never heavy. © 2019 Read complete review

David Hurwitz, October 2019

…There’s lots of good music here in what is, after all, Beethoven’s longest purely orchestral score.

Most performances of the work last somewhere between 65 and 70 minutes. Leif Segerstam stretches that out to a generous 76, but the performance doesn’t sound especially slow. The reason stems partly from his loving handling of phrasing, but also because the slower tempos in the strongly rhythmic quick music only serve to make it sound more danceable as compared to swifter, more “abstract” versions. Certainly the Turku Philharmonic plays quite well… © 2019 Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, September 2019

Last month Naxos released Beethoven’s piano arrangement of the ballet, The Creatures of Prometheus, my preference certainly being this orchestral version. In my review I briefly sketched the work’s history from Salvatore Vigano commissioning Beethoven—a most unlikely choice—to write a score for a ballet to be premiered in Vienna in 1801. The original scenario no longer exists, but its basis was the legend of Prometheus being punished by Zeus for the theft of fire which he had then given to mankind. That punishment was being chained to a rock where each day an eagle would peck away his life. The ballet had little success, and when later staged in Milan in 1813, a new composer had been chosen. My review of that piano version pointed the listener towards Michael Halasz conducting the Melbourne Symphony (Naxos 8.553404), unaware of this new release from the Finnish orchestra and their septuagenarian conductor, Leif Segerstam. He will certainly grab your attention with the overture—the only part that has survived in the concert repertoire—his tempo and shaping of phrases being a hugely personal view. From therein we move into a more familiar survey of the score both imaginatively conceived and gorgeously played. Just turn to track 7, a tender Adagio from the second act and enjoy the beautiful bassoon and cello solos. A little further along and Segerstam brings a dignity to the ballet’s most extended section marked Grave. So I could continue to enumerate the performance’s attributes that, quite literally, picture the dancers on stage, not least those items for the famous Italian ballerina, Gaetano Gioia, though Beethoven saved his finest section for Vigano to dance (track 17). The ballet having failed, Beethoven reused the finale in the ‘Eroica’ Symphony. The abundance of inner detail we hear is testimony to this superb orchestra and the outstanding quality of the sound engineering. Most strongly recommended. © 2019 David’s Review Corner

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