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Beethoven: Symphony No. 3 "Eroica" and Symphony No. 8
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Beethoven: Symphony No. 3 "Eroica" and Symphony No. 8

George Szell, The Cleveland Orchestra
29 Jan. 2002 | Format: MP3

£6.99 (VAT included if applicable)
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Product details

  • Original Release Date: 29 Jan. 2002
  • Release Date: 29 Jan. 2002
  • Label: Sony Classical
  • Record Company Required Metadata: Music file metadata contains unique purchase identifier. Learn more.
  • Total Length: 1:14:04
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B001GTPNV0
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 267,028 in Albums (See Top 100 in Albums)

Customer Reviews

2.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I loved Vanska's recording of the Sixth Symphony, the Pastoral -- it's as good as any I've heard, and BIS's sound is absolutely wonderful -- a sense of space and scale, with the character of the instruments and groups superbly realized. This recording from Vanska's Beethoven series evinces a similar quality of sound -- it's balm to the ear. The Eighth here is lively, gracious, and witty -- as good as Karajan's 1970's version, which up to now has been my personal standard for this symphony. Those parts of the Eroica which most resemble the Eighth in character -- the last two movements -- are just splendid here. The third movement is a delight, and the final stretto of the last movement just makes you want to laugh out loud. But the movements that make the Eroica heroic, are the first two -- over 31 minutes of music here -- and it's a bit underplayed, to my taste. The sound is as beautiful as ever, but we get gravity -- I hate to say, mere gravity -- instead of tragedy. It just seems too soft grained. The tempi are fine, but I want more forceful accenting in both movements. To see what's missing (in a digitally recorded comparison) try the Eroica from Rattle's much-maligned set. It is, I think, a great performance in very good sound (it's live and isn't quite as refined as BIS's). Go further back, and try Klemperer (the 50's) and Bernstein (60's) in older sound, but they get at something that Vanska doesn't here.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By J. A. Peacock on 5 May 2009
Format: Audio CD
After listening to Vanska's recording of the ninth symphony, I was looking forward to this disc immensely. Unfortunately, I have to disagree with many of the reviews I have read online about this disc - I personally found it very much a mixed bag.

We very nearly have here an excellent Eroica, in excellent sound but it just falls short. The pace of the first movement is nicely judged, with an awareness of period practice in phrasing and speeds - this is not Beethoven's symphony transformed into a Wagnerian music-drama but neither is it lacking in weight and seriousness. The funeral march too is as good a performance as I have heard and the fugal section in the middle is extremely moving; the precision Vanska elicits from the Minnesota Orchestra and the clarity of the BIS recording reaps dividends here, with every line clear from the start; but there is a passion here too, as well as accuracy, which lends this movement a searing sense of mourning. The scherzo is also played well, marvellously fleet strings and ringing horns. I didn't feel the finale flowed as well as it could do, I think because Vanska takes the dynamic markings to extremes - for me this made parts of the finale sound a little choppy and ruined the sense of line.

On the subject of dynamic extremes, there is one disconcerting instance that actually really spoils the otherwise excellent first movement for me. When the horn signals the arrival of the recapitulation, it is does so at an incredibly low volume - I wasn't sure if it was even there at all the first time I played the disc and wondered if I had bought a CD that should have been recalled due to a bad edit.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Peter Street on 6 Jan. 2014
Format: Audio CD
I don't know how Amazon's algorithms are going to read this, but the consumer information page offers and pictures a recording of the Beethoven Third and eighth symphonies by the Cleveland orchestra under George Szell. The reviews are all about Vanska and the Minnesota orchestra. I hold Vanska in high regard and deplore what has happened to the Minnesota orchestra in 2013 and out of support for its musicians would buy the disc, but not necessarily if what I am going to get is Szell, which I already have. Szell's Eroica visited the Edinburgh Festival in the late sixties, as far as I recall, and folk I knew talked for days about how well it had been prepared - as reviewers over the previous decade had done about each LP in his Beethoven series. Not an unmixed accolade, or course. But if you wanted a perfect realisation of the notes in terms of the mid-century virtuoso orchestra and in stereo, you had to go to Szell. Vanska is a different breed of Beethoven conductor and is still capable of taking an audience by surprise whenever he attempts new ground, and for that matter, revisits old. Neither man, nor their musicians, deserve to be treated like junk by automatic marketing. The star is obligatory, and is awarded to Amazon, until they take the trouble to find out what they are actually selling here. I'd give Szell four at least. The Vanska disc I don't know, but when in Scotland Vanska was rivetting in everything he did and the BBCSSO played out of its skin for him, as their predecessors of the late seventies had done for the young Simon Rattle.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 23 reviews
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Vintage Szell/Beethoven 20 Jan. 2004
By Jeffrey Lee - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Little or nothing stands in the way of this sweeping account of Beethoven's Third ("Eroica") Symphony, though some might feel that in certain places during the first movement Szell is excessively driven. Some of the chords seem to be expressed with near vehemence, nevertheless, it is hard to deny that there is some measure of satisfaction with the kind of power and excitement generated by Szell, who appears to be in top form. In the ensuing funeral march that same feeling of power is wedded to an intense level of tragic and majestic expression. As in the first movement, horns assume a dominant role. At times, it seems, a kind of muted tension is present. Though different in some ways from Bohm's characterization, Szell's ceremony is nonetheless still very convincing. It displays high drama. Bohm's places greater emphasis on the sorrow of the occasion. When it comes to the scherzo, Szell has it hands down over Bohm, who just doesn't offer the former's intensity and tautness. Moreover, the Cleveland horns, once more, are commanding. Szell's forceful style advances straight to the final movement, where , for the most part, I favor Bohm's less driven and, I feel, more melodious rendition. But OH those Cleveland horns ! In the last movement, as the final sections approach, Szell uses them to impart an awesome sense of stature. The close is blazing, and the final chord is quickly bitten off. Interpretively, I prefer the sound of the more well rounded yet still emphatic final chord. In sum, though different in character from the Bohm/Vienna Philharmonic "Eroica" (see my review), I still consider the Szell/Cleveland to be among the best Beethoven Thirds.

In the Eighth, Szell again offers a concise reading, but though very well played, I find his view of this work a little too cut-and-dried. It won't do for repeated listening. By contrast, Bruno Walter's first two movements are more fluid and musical, but his third movement gets a little too "chummy" for me, and his third and fourth are a little too soft. My current choice in this symphony is the 1962 Karajan. When called for, he is able to combine the tautness and drive of Szell with the musicality of Walter. At times, his presentation seems a bit larger than life, but it has a sense of sweep that is attractive. Noteworthy also is the relaxed elegance Karajan brings to the third movement menuetto.
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Brilliant Beethoven 12 Jan. 2003
By Michael Brad Richman - Published on
Format: Audio CD
In the 1950s and 60s, CBS/Columbia (now Sony Classical) had the great fortune to have three of America's best orchestras and their conductors on their recording roster -- Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic, Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra, and George Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra. Nearly a half-century later, sadly only Leonard Bernstein remains a name that even the non-classical music world knows. But in the world of the compact disc, this is a wonderful thing, because while Leonard Bernstein analog stereo recordings sell at mid-price, classic performances by Ormandy and Szell are regulated to the budget line. Well, my friends there is justice because the vast majority of these "budget line" recordings are not only amazing, but some are still considered definitive more than 40 years later! One such definitive performance is this Szell recording of Beethoven's 3rd and 8th symphonies, and in fact the whole cycle is still something at which to marvel. Never did something of such high quality come at such a small price. Enjoy!
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
High Mark in the Szell cycle...!!! 8 Oct. 2004
By David Lee - Published on
Format: Audio CD
You just don't get any better in this music than what is recreated in these 60s sessions. The 8th is quite relaxed with super phrasing. The opening of the 8 is the finest on disc and a touch slower which gives the music a bit more breathe and fullness..

I find the 3rd to be one of the most intense...very clean winds and super playing throughout all sections...the recording isn't great but the performance is among the very best ever done...who can complain when the orchestra is this fine!!!
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
My Desert Island Eroica 3 Feb. 2006
By Music Lover - Published on
Format: Audio CD
While a nice little symphony, you don't typically hear heated debates about what the best version of the 8th is. However, if you flip through the relevant pages of this website, you will see reviews where people line up in favor of their favorite version of the magnificent 3rd, known as the "Eroica" symphony. I have heard many wonderful versions of Eroica, but this is my desert island Eroica. The wonderful range of colors, the precision of the orchestra, the control and vision of the conductor transform Eroica from a symphony into an experience. Don't believe me? Listen to the first movement about 6 minutes into the track. The staccato chords getting progressively quieter has never been played more precisely and perfectly than on this CD. It sounds like the distant echo of a war call. That's just one example of the beauty of this performance. And even if you already own 10 other versions of Eroica, the disc is so cheap that there is no reason not to own this one. I wholeheartedly recommend this CD to anyone who loves Beethoven.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Electric Beethoven 1 April 2004
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Audio CD
In spite of some reservations about the recording and it's sound, Szell gives a polished and intense account of Beethoven 3...surprisingly there are a few moments of large rubato in Movement One of the "Eroica" which don't normally occur in modern interpretations. The brass are very good and have a clean and clear attack...the strings on this recording are the real star. Very fine idiomatic Beethoven. However, as a reference check the Bohm Eroica with Vienna and Steinberg in Pittsburgh...Yes, Pittsburgh!
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