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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sublime Pastoral
Although over 35 yours old, this recording of Beethoven's Sixth is truly sublime. The playing of the Vienna Philharmonic is superb, and the pianissimi in the slow movement are breathtaking. Böhm's tempi are ideal, and expressively flexible. This is no whistle-stop tour of the countryside from an air-conditioned coach; you feel you are out in the open and free to...
Published on 5 Nov 2007 by Musica Vita

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9 of 44 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but boring
This is cetainly a finely played account of Beethoven's 6th and the same can be said of Schubert 5. However if your anything like me you will find this CD unbearable. Grammophone recommends this CD saying that Bohm takes a 'leisurely' approach, but for me it's just slopy. If you're new to these works you won't have a problem as there is nothing wrong with the overall...
Published on 21 Oct 2005 by Mr. J. E. Matthew


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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sublime Pastoral, 5 Nov 2007
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Musica Vita (Birmingham, UK) - See all my reviews
Although over 35 yours old, this recording of Beethoven's Sixth is truly sublime. The playing of the Vienna Philharmonic is superb, and the pianissimi in the slow movement are breathtaking. Böhm's tempi are ideal, and expressively flexible. This is no whistle-stop tour of the countryside from an air-conditioned coach; you feel you are out in the open and free to linger in the most beautiful areas, take part in the peasants' lively dance, and run from the approaching storm. Many performances of the Pastoral are dull, but not this one!

The Schubert Fifth is also a very good performance, although I wish DG had been able to put Böhm's exquisite "Unfinished" together with the Beethoven on this CD.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best recording of beethovens 6th, 17 Sep 2007
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Jørgen Jepsen (Horsholm, Denmark) - See all my reviews
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This recording 1971 of Beethovens 6th is one of Karl Böhms greatest recordings. His reading of this symphony is glorius and it remains one of the finest of the work ever recorded. The sound quality is splended. A real desert island CD. Buy it.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Glorious, 1 Aug 2011
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enthusiast "enthusiast" (sussex, uk) - See all my reviews
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Bohm's Pastoral with the Vienna Philharmonic has always stood high amongst recommended recordings. It is leisurely but never boring - not for a single second - being full of incident and glorious glowing sound. Even today when our sympathies are for much faster and more shocking Beethoven - although Harnoncourt also treats the Pastoral in a leisurely and flowing way - Bohm's account sounds so right. The Schubert account here is also very good.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous!!, 21 Feb 2012
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Bacchus (Greater London - Surrey) - See all my reviews
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This particular recording of Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony has been regarded as the top recommendation by critics since it was first released. For me, that has tended to be a reason to avoid. I always have a fear of being disappointed.

I am working through my collection of LPs in alphabetical order and have just reaquainted myself with this recording (I don't know the Schubert recording so am just commenting on the Beethoven). My fear was that it might be a tad too tame or sleepy and lack the more revolutionary fire that other conductors have brought to it. Knowing about Beethoven's despair at at the gradual loss of his hearing and his revolutionary tendencies, a middle of the road performance like this one may seem less relevant to modern listeners.

I had no need to worry. I think it is a marvellous interpretation. The Vienna Philharmonic play like gods, absolutely gorgeous string tone and lovely piquant wind playing. I did find that the storm movement lacked the kind of violent edge that other conductors bring to this section of the work but it is still exciting. This is just wonderful music making from an orchestra and conductor with complete understanding of the music and each other and I would recommend anyone to listen to it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Glorious performance of "Pastral", 13 Dec 2013
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This is a glorious recording made in 1971. I used to have the original LP version a long time ago. By the time of the recording, Bohm was very old and he probably let the orchestra play as they wanted. The VPO, of course, excels in Viennese classics and this sunny programme music totally suites their style.

The tempi in the first and the second movements are slightly slower than the recordings by other well-known conductors. Although this may not be to every listener's taste, I think it is appropriate, given the happy and serene feelings the composer depicted while staying in the countryside outside Vienna in summer. The second movement ("Scene by the brook") has a tempo marking of "Andante molto mosso". How wonderfully the VPO plays this movement, using subtle rubato! No other recordings I have listened to so far - with the possible exception of Erich Kleiber and Reiner - are as expressive as the present Bohm version.

The rest of the work is also performed marvellously. The final movement is an apotheosis of the nature that Beethoven worshipped. I have listened to many different recordings so far, but no other version can match the present Bohm's version.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable visit to the country!, 12 Oct 2012
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I bought this recording largely on the review of Musica Vita and others extolling it. I already have the Norrington recordings of the Beethoven symphonies, but the Pastoral symphony to me stands out - at least for the first three and last movements - among his symphonies as depicting a mood of joyful relaxation. The Norrington performance takes the first movement at a breakneck speed - the "coach ride through the countryside!" - and I think he saw the temp marking "Allegro" and didn't go on to read the "ma non troppo"!! I just could not listen to it anymore!!

The Pastoral symphony was one of the first classical works I knew. My parents gave me an LP in the mid 1950s of a performance by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra under William Steinberg and rightly or wrongly that has always been my benchmark for the work. At the age of 10 I knew every note of the work!! I wanted to find a performance that lived up to that and so bought the Bohm recording. It is a superlative performance. I must say that I was a little disappointed that the opening phrase of the first movement did not tail off with a slight ralentando, and thought that maybe having bought this recording I was in for yet another roller coaster ride!! However that was my first and last disappointment! The first movement is just that sunny joy at being away from the hustle and bustle of life and enjoying the smells and sounds and sights of countryside. The tempo is just right and also for the slow movement. Some reviewers said it was slow but never ever does it drag. Instead every nuance and shading is uplifting through to the bird song calls at the end of the movement. The third movement is also at a fairly steady tempo but rightly so as these are heavy footed lumbering peasants dancing to the village band. As the opening theme comes around again only to be cut short by the approaching storm, Bohm puts in a slight accelerando - maybe the peasants' are scurrying to get everything under cover before the heavens open? The storm itself breaks out with an Olympian fury that I haven't heard matched in other recordings. The timpani really do "thunder"!! And then the sun comes out again and the last moevemnt is again at a delightful happy yet not rushed tempo. If you want a Pastoral Symphony you can listen to again and again - and again - this is it!!
The Schubert 5th Symphony is as near perfection in music as I think could ever be achieved. I often think that the youthful Schubert wrote what Mozart would have written had he lived into his 40s and 50s. Bohm and the Vienna Philharmonic bring this work off superbly and it makes a good contrast to the Beethoven.
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5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful!!!, 19 Feb 2014
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I am a real fan of DG recordings and looked this one up before buying - you just can't seem to go wrong with them. This is a wonderful rendering of the Pastoral and the Schubert is pretty good too! Sit back, close your eyes and enjoy!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Words defy me, but this is good., 22 Dec 2013
There is a difference between a bad production and a good production. But the music stays the same. And the 6th is the best ever on DG. Nothing compares to it, never has done, never will do - it will last from here until eternity.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Bohm's DG 1971 "Sixth" one of the top classical LPs of that decade!, 4 Dec 2013
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As such it joins Pollini's Chopin Etudes, or the Alban Berg's Mozart on Teldec, as benchmark records that EVERYBODY had or aspired to. No classical collection was complete then - or now - without them. Also, the one Beethoven recording I could not be without.

Klemperer, Karajan in his attempts, even Kletzki never came close to Bohm's technically perfect and poetic reading of the Pastoral. Just take as an example the point in the idyllic Szene am Bach where the lullaby melody is ebbing and momentarily stops at that remarkable point (8.08) where a chapter closes, a page turns or sleep descends on the mind, or a ticking clock stops...along with the bird calls and sounds of nature. This is a sublime existential touch not found anywhere else! I find Bohm's easy going yet tight control over the tempi and dynamics across this whole work, not just here, because the thunder storm scene is as exciting as anything you will find elsewhere, conducive to that spirit of the classical age of the C18 the Enlightenment, the sense of sheer pleasure and enjoyment which is itself a worthwhile achievement (as Kenneth Clark pointed out) of civilization. Thus the Pastoral Symphony is very much a musical counterpart of Watteau, Fragonard and Lancret. It is another aspect of humanity that Beethoven chose to analyse, describe and celebrate in his symphonies. Enjoyment.

How many classical programmes across the world feature this symphony at some point in their Spring or Summer concerts? How many music lovers are consciously reminded of this music by the view of the countryside from a train, of a bus ride? For myself, it is always this particular recording I remember.

Other recordings simply do not exist.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Far from "boring", 19 Oct 2012
This recording of the sixth symphony is slow in places (though Klemperer is slower in the third movement) but at the moment it's top of my list of favourite interpretations of the Pastorale - alongside Karajan, Klemperer and Harnoncourt.

Bohm often gets lukewarm reactions but I find his conducting (here) is precise and bright. I can only say that I love both recordings. The sound is superb too.
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Beethoven: Symphony No.6 "Pastoral" / Schubert: Symphony No.5
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