Sony Classical Originals: Beethoven Sinfonien Nr. 5 in c-Moll & Nr. 7 in A-Dur
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Neu in der Serie Sony Classical Originals
Besser als das Original. Die neue Serie Sony Classical ORIGINALS bietet auf faszinierende Weise ein ganz neues Erlebnis legendärer Aufnahmen aus dem Zeitalter der Langspielplatte. Alle Aufnahmen wurden mit größter Sorgfalt und mit der neuesten Technik remastered, die vollflächigen Cover sind Eins-zu-Eins Reproduktionen der Original LP-Cover, und sämtliche Texte sowie die LP-Labels wurden originalgetreu übernommen.
Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven Sinfonien Nr. 5 in c-Moll und Nr. 7 in A-Dur New York Philharmonic
"Eine beispielhafte Interpretation...so brillant wie überzeugend"
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Unusually, all three conductors take all the repeats in the 7th (Bernstein might omit one in the scherzo), and show how magnificent this symphony is when heard that way--giving it a grander scale and allowing the time to ratchet up tension and excitement even further. Sound quality on all three is excellent for the time. Konwitschny's recording, the earliest, puts you virtually inside the orchestra, yet still captures a sense of the hall ambience. Bernstein's is not quite as close-up, and while today's highly detained recordings may be slightly more 'airy' in the treble, there are many details, such as the rosiny, woody textures of the string sound, which are captured wonderfully and give this excellent presence. Leinsdorf's is slightly more distant, yet gains in realism from smooth sound and slightly less graininess.
Bernstein's reading in the outer movements of the 7th on the surface seems quite straightforward. Yet tempos are perfectly judged at the start with the ultimate climax of the movement in mind, and it's the perfect proportioning of the movement as a whole, rather than the highlighting of individual phrases, that counts here. There is much in the outer movements of Bernstein's 7th that reminds me of Toscanini's New York recording from 1936. Bernstein finds more mystery in the slow movement than does Konwitschny, and the scherzo, often problematic for me, seems just right. The various sections are perfectly balanced to reveal the full textures of the music, with even quiet tympani taps coming through well enough to add their part. At no point is there any trace of the self-indulgence for which Bernstein would later become known; both the 2nd and the 7th are simply beautifully shaped, and delivered with love and excitement. Revel in this. For the moment, and the foreseeable future, this is the Beethoven 7th I will turn to first.
First, the good: The sound quality is exellent for the 7th.
Sound quality is a tad too compressed for my liking on the 5th, though this may come down to the state of the actual recording.
The 5th is entirely competent, but came across as a little workmanlike to my ears. There was little of the characteristic Bernstein fire I look for from his 60's recordings with the NYPO. Tempi regularly reminded me of the Kleiber recording without that subtle something in the Kleiber that keeps me on the edge of my seat.
Of the 7th I would say the same until the final movement. It's entirely too slow and it's not often that I've come across this kind of sluggishness in Bernstein's 60's recordings. It was extremely disappointing, and it's a shame because the sound quality really is pretty good.
There are better recordings out there. I'm a big fan of the John Eliot Gardiner recordings of both of these works, but for a single disc of this particular program you're probably better off with the Kleiber. Not exactly a novel suggestion, but a tried and true one.
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