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Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 6 & 2

Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 6 & 2

13 Jun 2006

£5.99 (VAT included if applicable)
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Product details

  • Original Release Date: 13 Jun 2006
  • Label: LSO Live
  • Copyright: (c) 2006 London Symphony Orchestra Ltd
  • Total Length: 1:15:57
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B001HFKZMK
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 145,381 in MP3 Albums (See Top 100 in MP3 Albums)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Andrew R. Barnard on 21 Jan 2011
Format: Audio CD
This CD features two of Beethoven's more relaxed and laid-back symphonies: the 2nd and the ever-popular 6th, commonly referred to as the "Pastoral". Both symphonies come across with wonderful grace and charm, thanks to Bernard Haitink and the LSO. Haitink pulls out tremendous detail from the LSO, resulting in an incredibly moving and engaging performance of these obvious masterpieces.

This CD starts out with the 6th symphony. It doesn't take long for the listener to realize why this symphony was given this nickname. The music is gentle, graceful, and quite dreamy. Never before or again did Beethoven write a piece of music that is so soothing. The opening movement is full of irresistible charm and melody. Haitink and the LSO take full potential of the sunny qualities of this music. It is energizing and flowing, but always laid-back. This movement could well be compared to the farmer sitting and looking over his fields at the beginning of the day, preparing for and thinking about his day but enjoying the scenery in the meantime. Oh, how wonderful this music is in Haitink's hands! It is indescribable. Moving on, we come to the slow movement, which is a relaxing "Scene at the Brook". Haitink's chose of tempo is just right; the listener can feel the gently moving brook while still feeling relaxed. Beethoven made use of different birdcalls in this movement. The woodwind section thrives here, with our first-desk soloists doing a great job imitating the birds. The end result of the efforts of Haitink and the LSO is that the listener will feel as if though he were sitting by the brook himself, taking in the beauty of the surrounding scenery and enjoying the gentle calling of the birds. The next movement is the "Country Dance", with all of its respective fun and humor.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mart TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 18 April 2008
Format: Audio CD
The London Symphony Orchestra recorded a complete Beethoven symphony cycle at their resident Barbican theatre between 2005 and 2006, this CD representing symphonies 2 and 6.

There are three versions of this CD. This standard version, a hybrid multichannel SADC version, and a further SADC recording as part of the 6 CD complete symphony box set. All are of the same performance, recorded on the LSO Live label and combining digital recording methods with a `Live' venue (London's Barbican) to produce absolutely faultless versions of the works.

While I do appreciate the merits and historic importance of some of the many interpretations of Beethoven's symphonies, these LSO ones I think find their way to the top of the ever-increasing pile for several reasons - the recordings are of a stunningly clear quality, even better if played on a SACD player, and the performances are dramatic and enthusiastic but never succumbing to an over-personalised account by the conductor. Bernard Haitink does the job to perfection.

The sleeve notes provide the usual tracklist and times, plus a short analysis on each symphony, a brief biography of Haitink, and a full list of LSO orchestra members.

Of the three versions of this recording I would have to recommend the box set for sound quality, value and completeness, but any of the three provide a compelling and exciting interpretation of the symphonies.

An essential addition to any Beethoven collection.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Splendid Beethoven 6th and 2nd Symphonies from Haitink and LSO 15 Sep 2006
By John Kwok - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Distinguished conductor Bernard Haitink and the London Symphony Orchestra continue their splendid LSO Live traversal of Beethoven's symphonies in two fine performances of the 6th and 2nd symphonies, elegantly recorded by LSO Live from live concert performances at London's Barbizon concert hall in November, 2005. Those who prefer brooding, melodramatic Beethoven will be disappointed with these performances, since they adhere closely to the period instrument techniques espoused by the likes of Nikolaus Harnoncourt and Sir Roger Norrington, which means that they sound stylistically closer to recent recordings with Sir Simon Rattle, Claudio Abbado, and David Zinman conducting respectively, the Wiener Philharmoniker, Berliner Philharmoniker and Tonhalle orchestras. If you happen to be a Beethoven traditionalist, then I'm certain you'll find more pleasure in distinguished recordings by Walter, Karajan, Bohm and Bernstein which are still available. Otherwise, I think you might agree with me that Haitink has successfully reconceived his interpretation of Beethoven's scores, based now on the scores edited by the late Jonathan Del Mar in the recently published Barenreiter Edition.

Of the two symphonies on this CD, I have a slight preference for Haitink's account of the 6th Symphony, since he excels in emphasizing the light textures and period instrument influences of this score, in some respects more so than either Abbado or Zinman in their critically acclaimed accounts. For example, I don't find the "swiftly flowing brook" noted muscially in the second movement to be as brisk as another customer reviewer has complained. Nor do I shed tears for a less melodramatic "storm" 4th movement, or the beautiful elegy to nature which is the symphony's fifth movement; instead I am thrilled with the superlative playing by London Symphony Orchestra musicians within the wind, horn and string sections, and Haitink's consistently brisk tempi (But I will concede that he does slow his tempo a bit in the fifth movement, rendering it as if it was a hymn in praise of nature's beauty and innate goodness.). Of course I also enjoy the London Symphony Orchestra's fine playing of the 2nd Symphony, but there is nothing here which truly distinguishes this version as being markedly different from those I've heard with Abbado, Zinman or Rattle conducting. Without question, I am confident that this fine CD will earn ample praise and interest from long-time fans of Beethoven's symphonies, conductor Bernard Haitink and the London Symphony Orchestra.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Did not feel the passion and fire - a bit bland 9 Dec 2011
By Vikram Ramanathan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Haitink's lean and quick style has been a revelation to me in the LSO live cds of the Beethoven's 5th, 7th and 9th. The lean style does help focus and simplify the music, but in the 2nd movement of the 6th the quick phrase style does not capture the emotional content of the 2nd movement but works in the first movement. Basically this style suits movements like the relatively faster movements and scherzo. This recording is sonically brilliant but the style of the reading does not overall evoke the 6th. The rustic power and swag of the third movement is missing; replaced by a feeble density where we require wholesome force; The storm section of the 6th is well done I must say; As much I tried to like this recording, I would say this one is great in patches but as a whole there is Something just off. The reading of the 2nd is also just about average.
Sunny performances of these great symphonies 21 Jan 2011
By Andrew R. Barnard - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This CD features two of Beethoven's more relaxed and laid-back symphonies: the 2nd and the ever-popular 6th, commonly referred to as the "Pastoral". Both symphonies come across with wonderful grace and charm, thanks to Bernard Haitink and the LSO. Haitink pulls out tremendous detail from the LSO, resulting in an incredibly moving and engaging performance of these obvious masterpieces.

This CD starts out with the 6th symphony. It doesn't take long for the listener to realize why this symphony was given this nickname. The music is gentle, graceful, and quite dreamy. Never before or again did Beethoven write a piece of music that is so soothing. The opening movement is full of irresistible charm and melody. Haitink and the LSO take full potential of the sunny qualities of this music. It is energizing and flowing, but always laid-back. This movement could well be compared to the farmer sitting and looking over his fields at the beginning of the day, preparing for and thinking about his day but enjoying the scenery in the meantime. Oh, how wonderful this music is in Haitink's hands! It is indescribable. Moving on, we come to the slow movement, which is a relaxing "Scene at the Brook". Haitink's chose of tempo is just right; the listener can feel the gently moving brook while still feeling relaxed. Beethoven made use of different birdcalls in this movement. The woodwind section thrives here, with our first-desk soloists doing a great job imitating the birds. The end result of the efforts of Haitink and the LSO is that the listener will feel as if though he were sitting by the brook himself, taking in the beauty of the surrounding scenery and enjoying the gentle calling of the birds. The next movement is the "Country Dance", with all of its respective fun and humor. Haitink excels in the humor department - this is music full is wit and entertainment. The bassists of the LSO are especially good here. The next movement is a rather rude interruption to the country-dance, as storm clouds appear on the horizon. The LSO's timpanist brilliantly depicts the thunder. The storm clouds are soon past, however, and we come the gentle finale. All the stress of the storm is past, and the entire world seems to be exploding in a song of thanksgiving. Haitink doesn't need any help here, either. The LSO captures the mood in a wonderful way; the music is reminiscent of a farmer coming home from his long, hard day of work, glad to be alive and well, and glad for the chance to once again sit, relax, and enjoy the gently rolling farmlands.

Following the "Pastoral" Symphony, we hear the earlier 2nd Symphony. Like the "Pastoral", this is one of Beethoven's more gentle works. There isn't any of the drama of the "Erioca" Symphony here. But the work does have a beauty all of its own. After a long introduction, the main theme enters. Haitink makes some lively frolicking music out of this movement. Haitink once again excels in the humor department. He clearly has period awareness, and his rendition is full of jagged rhythms and sharp accents. Next up is the Largo, a truly gorgeous slow movement. Haitink is equally at home here, and the listener is surrounded with the lovely string playing of the LSO, not to mention the amazing woodwinds. Next comes the Scherzo, with all of its own individual charm. Haitink, needless to say, makes this piece very fun. The finale is, in my mind, nothing but a joke. Haitink is brilliantly witty as well, employing a great deal of his humor ability.

Needless to say, I am extremely enthusiastic about this recording and I cannot recommend it highly enough. Just one little tip for those of you who, like me, want to take advantage of music deals: the mp3 version of the COMPLETE set of the Haitink Beethoven Symphonies is only 15 bucks. The entire set is fascinating and you might as well get the whole thing. Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 1-9 [Special Edition] [Hybrid SACD] [Box Set]
7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Mostly gentle, flowing Beethoven with a whiff of period flavor 18 July 2006
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Nearing eighty, it's rather late for Bernard Haitink to be rethinking Beethoven--or maybe it's never too late. These live accounts of the Sym. #2 and #6 from London show signs of period influence in faster tempos, punchier accents, and lighter textures. The second movement of the Pastorale presents one of the fastest-flowing brooks I've ever heard in this work. Haitink has also decided that "depth" and "profundity" are a no-no. Along with Abbado and Rattle in their complete cycles, this isn't Beethoven the heroic struggling revolutionary but a somewhat restless child of Haydn.

Pendulums swing, so a new generation may find the Scherzo of the Pastorale normal at just over four minutes flat, but where is Beethoven's rustic rough humor? It skips by without notice. The storm is tenser and faster than anything given us by Walter, Furtwangler, Klemperer, Bernstein, Karajan, Giulini or the earlier Haitink himself. One is reminded instead of the million-selling Beethoven cycle from David Zinman in Zurich (Arte Nova). But tradition returns here in the finale, where Haitink's fairly broad tempo for the concluding hymn sounds like the old days. Even so, his aim is to glide toward the rainbow, not pray to heaven.

This Second Sym. is a dead-ringer for the updated versions from Rattle and Abbado, all speed and sharp accents with lots of crash and bang on the timpani to remind us that it's Beethoven. Being such an early work, the Second takes well to period treatment, and Haitink retains his gift for melodic shaping in the Larghetto. Neither the Scherzo nor finale is rushed, but I don't hear any special exubreance, either. The LSO plays well without standng out in any way.

In all, Haitink was never really strong as a Beethoven conductor, and although he's changed his spots (some of them, at least), the result is pleasant wiithout being exciting or new.
1 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A great recording. 29 Jun 2007
By M. Thompson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this recording. I think the London Symphony is the best in the world.
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