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Bruno Walter & the Columbia Symphony Orchestra Perform Beethoven: Symphony No. 3, 'Eroica,' & the 'Coriolan' Overture (Stereo CD) CD

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Audio CD, CD, January 4, 1989
$3.63 $0.01

Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 4, 1989)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Sony Music Entertain
  • ASIN: B00000DS8I
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #688,664 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mary Ann and Ken Bergman on June 27, 2012
Format: Audio CD
Beethoven composed his third symphony, "Eroica," in 1803-4 and conducted its first public performance in 1805. The sobriquet comes from Beethoven's original intent to name the symphony "Bonaparte," after the French leader whom he greatly admired, but after Napoleon declared himself emperor and threatened to invade Austria, Beethoven removed his name and wrote (in Italian): "Heroic Symphony, composed to celebrate the memory of a great man."

The Eroica symphony proved to be revolutionary. It was much longer than any symphony written up to that time, and it was very dramatic, though it mostly adhered to a classical symphony structure. Its first performance met with mixed reviews, though later it proved to be popular. The opening allegro con brio, with its long, inventive development section, is one of Beethoven's greatest movements, and so is the inspired marcia funebre that follows. After the riotous scherzo with its trio of three horns, comes a finale that is a mix of rondo, theme and variations, and fugue; it features some of Beethoven's finest music, but structurally it is a bit of a hodge-podge.

The Eroica that I owned and listened to for many years was the 1953 Toscanini performance with the NBC Symphony on LP. It's a hard-driving rendition, especially in the opening movement, and is certainly exciting in its way. Besides being monaural, the recording was made in NBC's Studio 8-H, notorious for its dry, reverberationless sound, preferred by Toscanini because every note could be discerned on the hi-fi equipment of the day, but deficient in instrumental color and warmth.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Discophage TOP 1000 REVIEWER on March 5, 2009
Format: Audio CD
If I may start with a personal note, when I was a kid, growing up in Europe, Bernstein and Stokowski were anathema to my music-loving father, especially in the German Romantic repertoire, bywords for vulgarity and (in the case of Stokowski) tampering with scores. Europe was dominated by other interpretive models back then: Furtwängler, Klemperer and Karajan were the heroes. Later, when Bernstein left Columbia/CBS and recorded for DG, and at the same time began favoring a more deliberate and heavy-weight (Germanic?) approach, my father changed his mind about him and expressed great appreciation of his second Beethoven-Vienna-DG cycle, as well as the remakes of Mahler and Sibelius he recorded for the German label. But still, as a kid, I grew up with an ingrained bias against Bernstein, at least when it came to Beethoven and Brahms - so much so that I didn't even need to hear it to know that it wasn't any good.

Eventually I grew up too, and made up my own mind. When I finally got around to listening Bernstein's New York Beethoven cycle (as well as his Sibelius), somewhere in the early 1990s, my appreciation of Bernstein in his New York/Columbia years changed radically. The Eroica, recorded on January 27, 1964, was one of the high points of the cycle.

Fans of Bernstein may be surprised that I call his Eroica "Toscanini in much better sound". Toscanini was always viewed as something of a radical, even a maverick, in Beethoven, and conventional wisdom was that he conducted everything, not just Beethoven (but including Beethoven), too fast and too relentlessly. Bernstein may have been criticized by some in his New York years, but not for those reasons.
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Format: Audio CD
Walter's Eroica, recorded in January 1958 and his third studio recording after those he made in 1941 and 1949 with the New York Phil, is an excellent "traditional" reading. It may be exceptionable to call it that, because that kind of interpretive approach wasn't dominant before World War II; it became more so after. Tempos are almost always on the slow side, a far cry not only from Beethoven's controversially fast metronome marks but even from what the tempo indications at the beginning of the outer movements seem to suggest: "Allegro con brio" (1st movement), "Allegro molto" (finale).

Walter's first movement is spacious, leisurely, powerful in a heavy way rather than urgent, explosive and biting like Toscanini's (Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 3), Scherchen's (Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 3 & 6), Bernstein's (Symphony 3 " Eroica ", The Bernstein Century - Beethoven: Symphony no 3 'Eroica' / Bernstein, New York PO) or Leibowitz' (Symphonies No. 1 & 3). Tempo is even more spacious than Furtwängler's (in his last studio recording from 1952 with the Vienna Philharmonic,
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