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on 7 May 2016
It seems like heresy to award this recording only four stars and to use the word "almost" in my headline: Bohm's reading of The Pastoral has been accepted by conventional wisdom as being the best available and most reviewers here concur.

There's nothing wrong with it, of course; nothing to criticise. The VPO play like Gods, the remastered sound is virtually indistinguishable from a modern recording and it's difficult to believe it's thirty-five years old. Bohm's tempi are relaxed and expressive and it's "proper" Beethoven - from long before anyone thought "HIP" was a good idea. The most famous, successful and celebrated conductor from a similar era - Herbert von Karajan - made several attempts at The Pastoral and never approached the perfection Bohm so nearly achieves; and if I hadn't heard one recording which is, in my opinion, better, I would be awarding a full five stars.

I think that's enough teasing. Despite my admiration for Bohm and The VPO, my recommendation for The Pastoral remains the 1957 recording by The Philharmonia Orchestra, conducted by Otto Klemperer.

The two recordings, in fact, sound very similar. Tempi are virtually identical and I'd imagine (though I don't actually know) that Bohm was familiar with Klemperer's recording. If I could put into words what I think Klemperer's recording has, and Bohm's lacks, I would tell you, but I can't. The best advice I can give is to listen to both interpretations and see if you agree with what I'm about to say: Bohm's recording inspires love, deep respect and unending gratitude; but Klemperer's recording inspires awe.

The Schubert 5, by the way, included on this disc, sounds wonderful but, as I lack the familiarity with the work required to offer an informed opinion, I can't say anything more about it. I know The Pastoral pretty well, which is why I have no hesitation in recommending this recording: but, unless I hear something else really special, my top recommendation will always be Klemperer.
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on 4 December 2013
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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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 17 May 2015
For those who love Beethoven's and Schubert's symphonies, these classic accounts of one by each composer are not to be missed. Beethoven's Symphony No. 6, the "Pastoral", is one of my favourite works by this composer, and the performance here is worth the price of the CD on its own.

The conducting, playing, and recording are all first class.

If you have one or more versions of either of these works already, this inexpensive album should join them. And if you are just starting your collection, this would make an excellent introduction to two of the most famous symphonies.
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on 14 December 2017
Beethoven just doesn't get any better than this. For my money, this is THE version of the Pastoral. Lush orchestration. Mr. Bohm was born to conduct this symphony.
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on 31 October 2014
My introduction to the beauty of Brahm's symphonies was via the bargain Decca reissues when I was young, conducted by Bohm.
I spotted this offer and was not disappointed. As an interpreter of this period Bohm and Horenstein are my favourites.
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on 6 January 2018
Snabb leverans med bra kvalitet på produkten!
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on 22 September 2017
Not sure about Schubert but Beethoven he was the man.
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on 16 May 2018
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on 27 January 2016
Excellent item as described. Prompt dispatch, safe and sound. Top marks.
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on 23 June 2017
Splendid composition
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