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Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 3 & 6 [Original recording remastered]

Ludwig van Beethoven Audio CD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Product details

  • Composer: Ludwig Van Beethoven
  • Audio CD (18 Nov 2001)
  • SPARS Code: ADD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: Westminster The Legacy
  • ASIN: B00005OLDP
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 450,371 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No.3 In E Flat, Op.55 -"Eroica" - 1. Allegro con brio14:41Album Only
Listen  2. Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No.3 In E Flat, Op.55 -"Eroica" - 2. Marcia funebre (Adagio assai)13:25Album Only
Listen  3. Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No.3 In E Flat, Op.55 -"Eroica" - 3. Scherzo (Allegro vivace) 5:25£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No.3 In E Flat, Op.55 -"Eroica" - 4. Finale (Allegro molto)10:21Album Only
Listen  5. Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No.6 In F, Op.68 -"Pastoral" - 1. Erwachen heiterer Empfindungen bei der Ankunft auf dem Lande: Allegro ma non troppo 7:56£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No.6 In F, Op.68 -"Pastoral" - 2. Szene am Bach: (Andante molto mosso)10:58Album Only
Listen  7. Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No.6 In F, Op.68 -"Pastoral" - 3. Lustiges Zusammensein der Landleute (Allegro) 3:09£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No.6 In F, Op.68 -"Pastoral" - 4. Gewitter, Sturm (Allegro) 3:31£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No.6 In F, Op.68 -"Pastoral" - 5. Hirtengesang. Frohe und dankbare Gefühle nach dem Sturm: Allegretto 8:57£0.79  Buy MP3 

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting 28 Jun 2002
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Scherchen is best known for his fast tempos in Beethoven. These performances are good examples. The transfers are very well done - the Pastoral in noticeably better sound than on the MCA disk of a few years ago. No one recording will show all aspects of these great masterpieces. The Scherchen performances are well worth having for times when you want to listen at speeds close to Beethoven's metronome marks. Of the Scherchen recordings I've heard, the 4th was the most impressive. I hope this will soon be issued on CD.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Heroical" 17 Nov 2008
Format:Audio CD
If you have a heart condition, please don't buy this disc. Scherchen's Beethoven is unstoppable. Here we can hear, due to the tremendous tempi, the explosions of the feeling and the ideas of young Beethoven. The quick tempi, the harshness of the instruments, the well-driven tension, and a very clean sense of arquitecture and rythm, make this reading a must-hear. Obviously, Furtwangler's, Toscanini's and Schuricht's reading are tremendous, mainly this last one, that some way can unify the other's readings. But this is a very different "Eroica", that gives you some sense of returning to the new.
The Six is good, not so revised or transformed in the sense of colour or rythm, and I prefer Furtwangler or Carlos Kleiber. But it still is a great recording, just a little pale in comparison with Scherchen's work on the 3rd.
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Amazon.com: 3.4 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What in God's name is the fuss? 19 Jan 2006
By Wayne A. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I'm glad I have an ear that hears the general overall form and outline of a piece and then the details immediately underneath instead of the other way around. Sure, the Vienna band has a little trouble keeping up once in a while, it's not the Concertgebouw, Chicago, or the Berlin. On the other hand, they play with panache and it sounds like they're sort of having fun, in very a slightly inebriated way--real people playing instruments instead of a Mercedes engine purring, which can get on my nerves now and then. For all the almost-missed-its there are plenty of exciting dead-ons--take the opening of the last movement. I'm amazed at what they do right on this recording. Tempos are fast but not out of line with plenty of other Thirds I've heard, especially modern period instrument ones. I can't imagine why some reviewers are harping on this! This is a swift and light Third and quite a fun experience; remarkable for its era. On the other plus side, the sound is great, with a clarity that accentuates the Mercurial performance. Also, the first movement is magnificent--really captures the radicalism and excitement of this landmark structure, makes the length feel inevitable--the hallmark of a great Third.

The Sixth is equally fine in its unique way and folksy as heck. Fast also, apparently paying attention to Beethoven's metronome markings again. What matters is what Scherchen does bar-to-bar within that speed and its far more engaging than what I hear in conventionally paced recordings. Scherchen knows how to make the music bounce; this is a Sixth that feels like it actually fits between 5 and 7 instead of being some odd bird. I've always believed that performances of the Nine Symphonies should come across like they were all written by a single guy named Beethoven, instead of a Beethoven-of-the-month.

I guess, being polite sort of, its a matter of taste. On the other hand, to be truthful, I sense in the criticisms that sort of hyper-focus and nit-picking fussiness, combined with too much attention to surface excitement, that's making just about everything in this world a total headache these days. Honestly, I'm very glad I was able to get hold of a copy of this before it disappears forever.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rather Eccentric Readings From Scherchen 9 Jun 2004
By Jeffrey Lipscomb - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Hermann Scherchen is one of my favorite conductors - if I ever sat down and made a list of my "Top Twenty," I know he would be in there somewhere. I own (or have owned) all of his studio recordings and most of his "live" offerings as well. I admire him in modern music, some of his Bach, and all of his Haydn. But his Beethoven was, shall we say, "uneven."

The "Eroica" and the "Pastorale" recordings featured on this well-transferred CD are pretty erratic. I recall with amusement a Fanfare critic's assessment that "this 3rd is the most insane reading of a Beethoven symphony ever recorded." Well, I wouldn't go THAT far - but it is highly eccentric to be sure. The concept is fascinating - apparently Constantin Silvestri did something similar with the Bournemouth Symphony (hopefully, a radio tape of that might turn up someday - Silvestri surely achieved a higher level of ensemble playing than what is heard here under Scherchen). But I sure wouldn't want this Scherchen as my only recording of the work.

In the case of the "Pastorale," I simply get the feeling that Scherchen may have lost his interest in the music. There sure isn't much about it that you could call pastoral - it's all rather hard-bitten and unsympathetic. But at least the orchestra doesn't get caught as unawares (or napping) as in the 3rd, where some of the ensemble work verges on the comical. Scherchen's earlier 6th (once on Westminster LP 5108) was far more sympathetic - it was also 5 minutes slower.

I would suggest that, if you want to hear what Scherchen was capable of in the 3rd, then you should seek out a copy of "Hermann Scherchen: The Ultraphon Recordings" on Tahra 283/286. That wonderful set, which includes delightful readings of Mozart's Symphonies 29, 35, 36 & 40 and a fine Haydn #48, has a VERY GREAT Eroica, a fine #2, and some exquisite German Dances. That magisterial 3rd ranks among my very favorite accounts, along with Furtwangler (1944 Vienna Phil and 1952 Berlin Phil., both live), Weingartner/Vienna (Opus Kura or Naxos), Schuricht/Berlin Phil. (Originals), and the fascinating Mengelberg (studio 1940 on Pearl or Andante and the live 1942 on Tahra).

If you are seeking a Beethoven 3rd that is more "fast and straight," then try Matacic/Czech Phil. or Kletzki/Czech Phil. (different Supraphon CDs). I once thought Toscanini/NBC '53 was a great reading, but nowadays I find the maestro's driven style pretty tough to take. I have tried for over 30 years to like the mono Klemperer/Philharmonia, but for me it remains well-played and rather impersonal.

There are many great 'Pastorale" accounts. My mono preferences are Furtwangler (the live 1954 BPO on Tahra in particular) and the apposite E. Kleiber/Concertgebouw (Decca). Among the finest stereo CD accounts are Konwitschny/Leipzig Gewandhaus (Berlin Classics) and Cluytens/Berlin Phil. (deleted EMI).

To hear "fast" Scherchen Beethoven at its well-played best, give his 8th with the Royal Phil. on EMI a listen - it's a real stunner. Hopefully, we will soon get more of Scherchen's best Beethoven on CD: the 5th, Wellington's Victory, the complete Egmont, and the various overtures, including his superb Consecration of the House.

[Update 4-15-08] While I still find this stereo Scherchen 6th to be a disappointment, a recent re-listening to this swift Eroica has persuaded me that it truly is, in a quirky and somewhat haphazard way, a uniquely exhilarating account. However, I prefer its earlier transfer on MCA, coupled with an excellent First, to what DG Universal has produced here].
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Eroica Vivacissima 8 Aug 2002
By Thomas F. Bertonneau - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
It is possible to read contradictory assessments of Hermann Scherchen's 1958 stereo account, for Westminster, of Beethoven's Eroica Symphony. (It's not only possible, but usual, to encounter contradictory assessments of Scherchen!) A number of commentators say that it is a mess: that Scherchen's decision to apply extremely rapid tempi leaves the conductor waving about madly while the orchestra, trying to catch up, falls into disarray. Others admit that Scherchen's idea is "mad" (to cite one of them) but add that, despite some scrappy ensemble in the Scherzo and the Finale, the concept is valid and the reading truly exciting. René Tremine sums up in the introduction to his annotated Scherchen discography: "The stereo remake of the Eroica is one of Scherchen's most curious interpretations. His wish to respect Beethoven's tempi to the letter produced a very quick performance (like René Leibowitz's recording), so fast that many thought it was a joke. The orchestra tried to do its best but by the finale it is totally over-run and on the brink of chaos." When I saw that DG had reissued this notorious recording as part of its new, Westminster archive series, coupling the Eroica with its stereo stable mate the Pastoral, my curiosity was aroused. I like Scherchen for many things: for his Mahler, for example, and for his Bach, especially his different versions of The Art of the Fugue. So I decided to give it a try. It's definitely not in the camp of Furtwängler of Celibidache, who tend to rein in the pace for the sake of grandeur; it's maybe a bit closer to Klemperer, who, like Scherchen, was a "modern" rather than a "romantic" in his interpretations. Really, however, it's wild and sui generis. To my ears, the ensemble does not lapse as badly as the critical remarks suggest, although the conductor does drive the musicians at a perfervid clip. The music reaches its most Dionysiac in the Finale, which is, after all, marked by Beethoven himself as Energico. As an experiment, it works. One wouldn't want this in a collection as the main representation of the Third Symphony, but as an adjunct to more mainstream interpretations it has considerable merit. The Pastoral is likewise quirky but effective, not that one couldn't criticize it. The First Movement is a tad too fast: speed does not necessarily equal the ecstasy and "spiritualization" of nature that Scherchen finds in the score. The storm, on the other hand, is the most dramatic that I've heard. The Westminster engineers were ahead of the pack in 1958 and the re-mastering results in a spacious sound-picture faithful at the same time to the details. This is a CD worth the tariff. I recommend to interested Scherchenites or Beethovenians to take the plunge.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Grab hold of that lightning bolt! 23 Sep 2013
By Donald A. Ketchek - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
My review and rating covers Symphony #3 only.

Over the last decade and more, the "new historically informed" Beethoven has taken hold and has now been recorded with a number of conductors and orchestras. Much faster tempos - following Beethoven's metronome markings - supposedly make these recordings new and revolutionary. But as seen in this recording, the faster tempos are not new - nor so revolutionary. Scherchen beat the newcomers to the punch - by 40 years or so!

Personally, I grew up with the older, slower, romantic Beethoven. So I haven't totally jumped on the new faster Beethoven bandwagon. Some of my favorite symphony performances include those slower performances conducted by Bohm (Symphonies 4,6,8,9) and Giulini (6,7,9). But for years, I never really enjoyed symphony #3, and the performances by Bohm, Giulini and others always left me wondering why the 3rd Symphony was so highly regarded. It seemed ponderous and slow.

Then I took out this CD from the library. It was a WOW moment! The excitement and the energy are almost overwhelming! After listening to this performance, the Eroica became one of my favorite Beethoven symphonies! Is it perfect? No, far from it! The orchestra struggles at times to keep up - especially in the 4th movement when they are clearly running out of gas. Compared to some of the newer recordings, the orchestra is not nearly as technically proficient. But even though they seem on the verge of chaos at times, it is nonetheless glorious! None of the modern recordings that I have heard (Abbado, Rattle, Gardiner, Norrington) comes close to the energy and excitement that Scherchen and his crew generate! The closest that I have heard is Jarvi and the DKB - a fine performance, but still falling short in terms of sheer energy.

If you are looking for clean, technically perfect playing, you might want to look elsewhere. But if you want edge-of-the-seat excitement and energy - give this CD a try!
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Actually, not that fast at all, and a decent overall recording 14 July 2006
By S. J. Snyder - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
The overall time for Eroica only clocks in at a minute or so quicker than two modern, and acclaimed recordings, which I have -- John Eliot Gardiner with the Symphonie Revolutionaire et Romantique on original instruments and David Zinman with the Zurich Tonhalle in a historically informed performance on modern instruments.

It is true that the playing quality of the musicians is at times uneven. And the recording quality, while decent, is problematic at times. The two combine, it would seem, in some overly blaring sounds from the horns. Even given that Scherchen was looking for a rugged and dynamic performance, this comes off as too much.

But, Scherchen has nuances as well. Take the timpani in the funeral march, where the timpanist appears to use rubber mallets, in contrast to the softer malleting you often here. The sharper attack on the timpani sound is a good thing.

As for the Pastorale, how he gets through the first and third movements 20 percent faster than anything else I've heard, I don't know. It doesn't sound that much faster, but I don't know for sure if he's skipping any repeats or not.

In sum, I wish he could have had more recordings in better studios with better orchestras.
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