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Arturo Toscanini - NBC Symphony Orchestra, Volume 2 (Symphonies 5,6,7,8)

Arturo Toscanini Audio CD
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Product details

  • Orchestra: NBC Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: Arturo Toscanini
  • Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Audio CD (24 Nov 1998)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Bmg
  • ASIN: B00000F1BQ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 193,726 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Symphony No. 5 In C Minor, Op. 67: Allegro con brio
2. Symphony No. 5 In C Minor, Op. 67: Andante con moto
3. Symphony No. 5 In C Minor, Op. 67: Allegro
4. Symphony No. 5 In C Minor, Op. 67: Allegro
5. Symphony No. 6 in F Major, Op. 68 - Pastorale: Happy Feelings Aroused On Arriving In The Country
6. Symphony No. 6 in F Major, Op. 68 - Pastorale: Scene By The Brook
7. Symphony No. 6 in F Major, Op. 68 - Pastorale: Peasant's Merry - Making
8. Symphony No. 6 in F Major, Op. 68 - Pastorale: Thunderstorm
9. Symphony No. 6 in F Major, Op. 68 - Pastorale: Shepherds's Song: Joyous Thanksgiving After The Storm
Disc: 2
1. Symphony No. 7 In A Major, Op. 92: Poco sostenuto - Vivace
2. Symphony No. 7 In A Major, Op. 92: Allegretto
3. Symphony No. 7 In A Major, Op. 92: Presto - Assai meno presto - Presto
4. Symphony No. 7 In A Major, Op. 92: Allegro con brio
5. Sympnony No. 8 in F Major, Op. 93: Allegro vivace e con brio
6. Sympnony No. 8 in F Major, Op. 93: Allegretto scherzando
7. Sympnony No. 8 in F Major, Op. 93: Tempo di Menuetto
8. Sympnony No. 8 in F Major, Op. 93: Allegro vivace

Product Description

Arturo Toscanini ~ Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 5-8

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Drive and passion from a proto-modernist 11 April 2012
By Ralph Moore TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
There is a wry irony in the increasing deprecation of Toscanini as an insensitive speed-merchant in Beethoven, considering that for a generation now authenticists have been trying to convince us that adherence to the composer's (absurd) metronome markings is the only orthodoxy - yet Toscanini was going full steam ahead as early as the 1930's, anticipating the current fad for breathless propulsion by fifty or more years.

I consider Toscanini's drive and vigour to be equally valid as an interpretative principle; he never trivialises or miniaturises the music by simply scampering through it in the manner of some modern practitioners and there is always the sense of something great and grand happening. The razor-sharp attack, the precision, the sense of purpose, dignify rather than demean Beethoven. Occasionally I do become impatient or even frustrated with the constant rush: the lilting second subject of the opening movement of the Seventh, a semitone figure alternating first between D and D-flat, then A and A-flat, really is too fast and is thus robbed of its contrast with the first subject.

Sometimes he was rushed by the demands of the radio station to adhere to a schedule, hence the first movement repeat in the Fifth had to be spliced in by the engineers for the recording - they simply used a loop and duplicated the first statement - but Toscanini's approach is all of a piece and he invariably generates real thrills in his near-manic interpretations.

The sound in these early 1950's recordings has been immeasurably improved in this re-mastering; it really is better than we have ever heard before and virtually silences the old complaints about its boxiness: this is just good, clean mono, now.

There is a kind of tensile, primordial and visceral excitement in Toscanini's Beethoven which makes it essential listening. These sets are available very cheaply on Marketplace, so everyone can have them as a supplement to a cycle in modern sound.
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Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Great Toscanini 31 July 2001
By Hermes Camacho - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Toscanini was probably the most dominant maestro the world has ever known. Wherever his presence was felt, whether it be La Scala in Italy, The Met, Philadelphia, or NYP, it lingered even after he left. There have been many stories of when Toscanini left, not only did the quality of the performances diminish, but the respect of the musicians toward his "replacement." Granted it wasn't intentional, but rather a general feeling of incompetence in the new conductor in light of the old. When Toscanini would switch with Stokowski for guest conducting stints between Philadelphia and NYP, utmost respect was exhibited toward Toscanini in Philly, while in New York, the musicians resented Stokowski's different, although masterful and extraordinary, interpretations and style.
This reissue of Beethoven's last four great symphonies before the monumental ninth are among Toscanini's best. The fifth symphony is crisp and clean, the trademark Toscanini style (everyone talks about Stokowski's "Philadelphia Sound" or rather "Stokowski Sound," but what about the "Toscanini Sound?"). It is probably not the best of his numerous Symph. 5 recordings, but it is still very good. The climactic section in the coda leading to the four note heavy segment is hair-raising (the descending eigth note line in the violins into the driving four note phrases). His tempos are superb and closer to the proper tempo as compared to most maestri of the day. The second movement is quite lilting, lyrical, yet with an air of majesty and nobility. The third movement scherzo continues the sound of majesty and the transition into the finale is not only powerful, but right on target to Beethoven's original tempo marking (from 96 to 84). The Seventh is a treasure, like always, but the trumpet, from time to time, particularly in the fourth movement, comes out a little too much more than it should (I imagine it an engineering fault -- Toscanini would never have permitted an overzealous trumpet). The Finale of the seventh is poweful and triumphant, and again, follows Beethoven's tempo (It seems as if in the recapitulation, 3 or so minutes into the movement, the sound seems to become STEREO. It's quite amazing the sound quality change). Even the second movement, which is still a little under Beethoven's tempo, is faster than was accepted in Toscanini's time...it was Toscanini's relentless servitude to the composer to follow the score to the letter and/or help (not re-write) the composer's intentions see light.
It's a recording worth buying, but for the best recording of the Seventh Symphony, turn to his 1936 NYP recording...it is spectacular, particular the last movement. Still, this recording was good enough for Toscanini (as he had the final approval), and is a superior recording to many of the old, and even new school of conducting and conductors. Germans play German music right? Furtwangler, Karajan, Klemperer, Bohm? No! The Italian Toscanini.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clarity, Fidelity, Power... 17 July 2001
By Hank Drake - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I was skeptical when these new CDs were issued. My thoughts were that the early 1990s Complete Toscanini reissue was probably the best that could be humanly done to restore the very pinched and nasal sounding originals. Since I had already bought half of that set, I wasn't about to spend more of my hard-earned money on a marginally improved RE-reissue.
I was wrong. In 1997, RCA totally reorganized and inventoried its massive vaults, which had been in disarray for decades. As a result, many original sources which had been declared "lost" were now "found." This new remastering is strikingly improved sonically over all earlier issues. Utilizing the best technology now available, RCA has also done the right thing by hiring a musician--conductor Ed Houser--rather than whiz-bang technicians to supervise the remastering. The NBC Symphony Orchestra now sounds better than ever before, with greater clarity, smoother strings, fuller winds, and less blotting out during fortissimos.
Perhaps no conductor of the 20th Century has been as misunderstood as Arturo Toscanini, as evidenced by the critical backlash with which he was assailed in the years after his death. That criticism was partly in reaction to the equally unbalanced adulation heaped upon him during his lifetime. I remember once mentioning to an acquaintance my admiration for Toscanini's Beethoven and Brahms, and he shot back, "He conducts everything too fast!" In fact, in comparison with other recordings and broadcasts of his era, Toscanini's conducting was not generally faster than average. In relation to TODAY'S phlegmatic tempos, however, Toscanini's pacing is definitely brisk. But what most people are hearing as fast is, in fact, Toscanini's characteristic rhythmic vitality and, occasionally, drive, which brings the faster movements to sparkling life. Likewise, the slow movements are never dragged, and glow with Italianate warmth.
It is worth noting that the repeat in the first movement of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony was created editorially. This performance originated from a 1952 telecast, and Toscanini had to skip the repeat for timing considerations. RCA does not credit the liner notes, but they are reprints of Mortimer H. Frank's excellent notes originally written for the early 1990s CD release.
RCA has so far only released Toscanini's core repertoire with the NBC Symphony--but they are more than welcome additions to the catalogue. The Maestro's recordings with the New York Philharmonic, and The Philadelphia Orchestra should also be remastered, post-haste. Then, RCA, which has given us magnificent reissues of Kapell and Rubinstein, should get to work and replace their botched Vladimir Horowitz reissue from the 1990s, using this magnificent Toscanini reissue as a template.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thank God For Toscanini! 28 July 2000
By Michael Newberry - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
What is there to say about Toscanini, but that he is the greatest conductor I have ever heard. His integration of structure, momentum, and detailed expression is without peer. I don't know how its possible but the first cord from each of these Symphonies, seems to set the whole in motion. He creates an overwhelming sense of anticipation, moves through waves of feeling, and then lets loose with cataclysmic precision. And he does something that I have rarely heard, but he makes every note seem as if it's a human expression. I don't mean that its as if it was made by the thought or feeling of the composer, but that the orchestra itself is an intensely passionate and intelligent animal whose form of expression is solely by sound. His interpretations never sound like musical abstractions, which are how most conductors' interpretations sound to me. There is something primordial in hearing Toscanini, that feeling makes me recall that someone said that the first musical instrument was the voice.
The sound, for '52 recordings, is remarkably good, really! And the booklet has wonderful insights and factual notes about Toscanini and these Beethoven Symponies.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Still the archtypal Beethoven conductor 27 Aug 2001
By madamemusico - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
In Toscanini's lifetime, he was often reviled--particularly by Europeans--for his supposedly "insensitive" Beethoven and Brahms, but as time has receded from his active career we now recognize that he was merely too far ahead of his time. His 1933 Beethoven 5th with the NY Phil, also available on CD (and quite beautiful in its own way), is much more of its time: tempo fluctuations, rhetorical phrasing and a perhaps too-wide dynamic range that leads to certain notes being almost inaudible. In this set, however, it is only the 7th symphony that suffers from a tight, tense, inflexible reading, not to mention poor, boxy sonics that kill the conductor's intent. This 5th, once one gets past the slightly rushed first movement, is a model of classical balance and elegance; the 6th is moving in its emotional but unsentimental delineation of the score (though his BBC 6th is better); and the 8th is unsurpassed in its sweeping drama. In short, a fine addition to the "new" Toscanini legacy, for now and in the future.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Impetous and Dramatic Beethoven 26 Jun 2005
By Doug - Haydn Fan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
For modern listeners Toscanni's approach may be quite a shock. We do not hear conductors eliciting this sort of frenzied playing today, and it's our loss. But no amount of praise for the performances can hide the limitations of sound emanting from the old Mono discs. Too, Toscanni's performance here of the Fifth has almost impossible speeds: more like a live performance by Munch than a measured recording. This is not a bad thing, but for someone hoping to hear Toscanni at his complete best I would suggest the Rossini overtures, or the last Act of Rigoletto. Even sonic limitations cannot hide his total mastery in these works. His Wagner can also be simply jaw-dropping. Which leads me to suggest you hear Toscanni performances of Beethoven in the more vocal works, Fidelio or the Ninth symphony or the Missa Solemnis, should you care to take the measure of the man in Beethoven. As for the symphonies, there are many, many Toscanni performances. The early New York Philharmonic performance of the Beethoven 7th is very fine, even exalted, but again, we're talking a nearly eighty year old recording! As for the Fifth, its safer to invest in the modern performance of the late Carlos Kleiber, which comes along with a fine Beethoven 7th.
If you want to live very dangerously try a live performance under Furtwangler. Just remember, old mono recordings are just as capable of blowing your speakers out as new CDs!
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