Symphony No. 5 in C minor ("Fate"), Op. 67: 1. Allegro con brio
- 1. Allegro con brio (06:04)
- Bagatelle for piano in A minor ("Für Elise"), WoO 59 (03:01)
- Leonore Overture No. 3 in C major, Op. 72b (13:13)
Piano Sonata No. 14 in C sharp minor ("Moonlight"), Op. 27/2: 1. Adagio sostenuto
- 1. Adagio sostenuto (06:34)
String Quartet No. 13 in B flat major ("Lieb"), Op. 130: 5. Cavatina: Adagio molto espressivo
Symphony No. 9 in D minor ("Choral"), Op. 125: 4. Finale: Chorus on Schiller's 'Ode to Joy'
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This disc is part of a series constituting Sony/BMG's entry into the eco(?)-packaged
ecycled-performance great classical composers sweepstakes. The performances on the disc, and their sound engineering, were state of the art in about 1970, and as such, the sound is a problem; the particular sheen that engineers tried to impart to orchestral strings in that era tends to transfer as harsh to CD without a certain level of tweaking that hasn't been done here. The opening "Symphony No. 5" first movement by the Boston Symphony under Charles Münch is worst and probably the oldest; the George Szell/Cleveland Orchestra "Symphony No. 9" finale is the best, capturing the startling dynamic range of that performance. Musically the news is great all around. The German and Central European exiles who dominated American musical life after World War II saw their work come to fruition during this period, and the Columbia and RCA labels from which these recordings are drawn were internationally prestigious. You get snippets from a couple of real classics here: the Szell, where the stoic Hungarian tapped the Wagnerian side of his conducting personality to produce a truly riotous reading, and the sober but quietly hypnotic "Moonlight Sonata" opening movement from Rudolf Serkin. The rest are only a small notch below. Finally, if you're going to spend precisely one hour listening to Beethoven, you'd do better to pick any of the extended pieces included here and listen to all its movements, all the way through; the way Beethoven balances his "Moonlight" opening movement in the finale of the "Piano Sonata No. 14 in C sharp minor, Op. 27/1," is equally satisfying if not so well known. However, it's hard to argue with these selections, which balance the familiar (the "Moonlight," the "Symphony No. 5," the ubiquitous "Für Elise") and the new for most casual listeners (the Cavatina from the "String Quartet No. 13 in B flat, Op. 130"), as well as showcasing different instrumental genres and moods. Although individual movements are excerpted from larger pieces, they are not further chopped up. An above-average choice of its type for new listeners.
|Label:||Sony Bmg Europe|