- Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92
- Symphony No. 8 in F major, Op. 93
Even though Oehms Classics' 2006 releases of Ludwig van Beethoven's symphonies are unlikely to be hailed as the last word on these masterpieces, they deserve attention for the precise conducting of Stanislaw Skrowaczewski and the committed playing of the Saarbrücken Radio Symphony Orchestra, and should be appreciated for their impressive musicality and expressive richness. The "Symphony No. 7 in A major" and the "Symphony No. 8 in F major" receive mainstream interpretations from Skrowaczewski, who seems to follow some aspects of modern research by keeping tempos brisk and articulation crisp, while at the same time he observes more traditional approaches, as in maintaining a full-sized symphony orchestra, using full-bodied modern instrumentation, and so on. This compromise seems to be the most sensible and appealing solution to win over a broad audience, since it can potentially please both enthusiasts of period style and fans of more conventional approaches; but few will argue with Skrowaczewski's polished results, regardless of their stylistic persuasions. The "Symphony No. 7" is graceful and elegant, and the "Symphony No. 8" is lively and rollicking with humor, and both performances have the coherence and emotional balance to satisfy the expectations of all but the fussiest partisans in the debate over authentic performance practice. Oehms recording is wonderful in its spacious depth and wide frequency range, and these are undoubtedly among the best-sounding Beethoven symphonies of the year.