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Festive Overture Op 96 / Sym 5 in D Major Op 47


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Audio CD, November 25, 2008
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Editorial Reviews


1. Festive Overture, for orchestra in A major, Op. 96
2. Symphony No. 5 in D minor, Op. 47: Moderato
3. Symphony No. 5 in D minor, Op. 47: Allegretto
4. Symphony No. 5 in D minor, Op. 47: Largo
5. Symphony No. 5 in D minor, Op. 47: Allegro non troppo

Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 25, 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Signum
  • ASIN: B001EL3O3Y
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,219,436 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ray on January 20, 2011
Format: Audio CD
The only previous version of this symphony that I had heard was with Bernstein/nyp live in Japan. I thought I didn't like the symphony, but eventually realized that what I didn't like was Bernstein's interpretation - slow and dull, except for what should be a slow introspective tempo at the end where he just blasts through it.

This Ashkenazy/Philharmonia recording, also live in Japan, is just the opposite of Bernstein's. The tempos are fine, in fact the timings are almost identical to Mravinsky's recordings. It is brisk, stark, and unemotional. And he doesn't try to pretty-up what is already a very melodious symphony. Even the second movement, which many conductors execute in a playful way that I find peculiar, is done in a straight-forward manner which sounds very good. So, in contrast to Bernstein's langorous pace and over-wrought emotionalism, we have a recording which is lean and straight-forward, and the sound quality is excellent.

One thing to be noted - Ashkenazy seems to be one of those classical musicians who likes to intermittently grunt and hum softly to himself as he goes along. This is fairly common and is also done by George Szell and Rudolf Serkin, among other very well known performers. You hear this mainly in the beginning of this recording. If you don't like to hear that kind of stuff, then you might not like this CD, but I don't find it to be a problem at all. This is a live recording, but except for Ashkenazy's occasional and unobtrusive vocal expressions, there is no coughing or any other extraneous sounds from the audience or orchestra.

I do feel that the performance is a little TOO unemotional, especially compared with Mravinsky's recordings.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Santa Fe Listener HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on May 8, 2010
Format: Audio CD
The illustrious Philharmonia Orch. has maintained its elegant sound for decades, but it has been a late-comer to founding an in-house label, which has proved such a smashing success for the London Sym. The Signum label seems to have stepped into the breach, but it baffles me that every release so far has been nothing but bread-and-butter staples. Most of the performances have been of the kind you encounter as a season subscriber on a good day. Vladimir Ashkenazy hardly rose to the level of the Philharmonia's early leaders, Karajan, Klemperer, and Giulini. But his strongest composer is probably Shostakovich. Rather in the shade of his complete cycle recently released on Decca, here we get the ubiquitous Festive Over. and Sym. #5.

Griping aside, the overture is as jolly and vigorous as anyone would wish for. The sound is clear and balanced without being head-turning (my copy is a download, so I don't known whether the venue was chilly Royal Festival Hall or not). The big-ticket item is the Fifth Sym., which Ashkenazy begins in his usual middle-of-the-road way. It's tastefully proportioned and inoffensive, without the slightest mannerisms, a far cry from Mravinsky's passion and commitment, or Rostropovich's headlong plunge. the lower strings dig into the Scherzo, where Ashkenazy finds a tooth here and thee with which to bite. The playing, as throughout, never loses its finesse, which is both to the good and bad. Russian orchestras tend to perform with more grit, of course. The Largo is wistful and melancholy, suggesting more depth without reaching for it. Given the question of slow or fast to open the finale, Ashkenazy opts to follow the score, beginning fairly slowly but catching up when the early accelerando appears.
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Festive Overture Op 96 / Sym 5 in D Major Op 47
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