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5.0 out of 5 stars Unexpectedly lyrical "Pastoral, 19 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Beethoven: Symphonies 1 & 6 (Audio CD)
This recording of "Pastoral" Symphony by the Chicago SO under the direction of Reiner, made in 1961, is unexpectedly lyrical and tender. I write "unexpectedly" because Reiner is noted for his interpretations of the "odd-numbered" symphonies of Beethoven - tough and combatant. One of the reviewers on Amazon attributes it to the conductor's illness in 1960 which "mellowed" him. Be that as it may, I think it shows Reiner's versatility and insight. The playing by the orchestra is first-rate.

His tempi seem to be almost ideal (to my liking). The first movement (Allegro ma non troppo) is played at a flowing speed. The second movement is appropriately relaxed (at just over 14 minutes), following the composer's tempo indication of "Andante molto mosso"; it's a lovely interpretation, although I still like the version by Bohm and the VPO best. The thunder in the fourth movement sounds really ferocious. The fifth movement (Allegretto) has a forward momentum, expressing a joyous feeling.

This present disc was issued by RCA in around 1990, and has not been reissued in the "Living Stereo" series, unlike Symphonies Nos. 5 and 7. Although the sound quality is very good and belies its age, it certainly will benefit from further digital remastering.

The coupling, Symphony No.1, has been re-issued with Brahms's Symphony No.3 in the "Living Stereo" series with improved sound.
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Beethoven: Symphonies 1 & 6
Beethoven: Symphonies 1 & 6 by Ludwig van Beethoven (Audio CD - 1990)
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