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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely Powerful & Life-Affirming 5th, 30 Oct. 2009
Scriabinmahler (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Beethoven-Symphony 5, Overture 'Leonora' no.3 (Audio CD)
I'm usually not impressed by Ashkenazy as a conductor, except by his magnificent reading of Strauss' Tone Poems, and I rarely feel like replaying Beethoven symphonies conducted by anyone, but this performance of 5th struck me like a lightning from the bold opening and completely grabbed me to the final Allegro in which the surge of life-affirming force explodes. I immediately replayed each movement for closer listening.

Ashkenazy conducts as if possessed by Klemperer and Furtwängler's spirit at the same time, and this immensely powerful and gripping performance of 5th will blast any rivals away. Interpretation-wise, the astonishing vitality and energy of Ashkenazy's reading reminds me Furtwängler's wartime account, while Philharmonia's playing is vibrant in every detail as if conducted by Klemperer.

It was a big surprise to find this performance, outside the mainstream Beethovenians, that capture the transcendental spirit of the composer so masterfully. Recorded beautifully in digital stereo, 1981, Kingsway Hall, London.
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