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  • Great Conductors: Weingartner Symphonies 3 & 4
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Great Conductors: Weingartner Symphonies 3 & 4


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Audio CD, February 18, 2003
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Product Details

  • Orchestra: London Philharmonic Orchestra, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Conductor: Felix Weingartner
  • Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Audio CD (February 18, 2003)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Naxos
  • Run Time: 76 minutes
  • ASIN: B00007FKQ1
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #396,858 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Allegro Con Brio
2. Marcia Funebre: Adagio Assai
3. Scherzo: Allegro Vivace
4. Finale: Allegro Molto
5. Adagio - Allegro Vivace
6. Adagio
7. Menuetto: Allegro Vivace
8. Allegro Ma Non Troppo

Customer Reviews

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Mark-Obert Thorn, the producing engineer, has done it again.
J Scott Morrison
The performance is very flexible and spontaneous in tempo, while maintaining the forward thrust and architecture that holds the work together.
Ralph J. Steinberg
I would place this recording second only to Cluytens, who conducts my very favorite Eroica ever.
The Man in the Hathaway Shirt

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By J Scott Morrison HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 20, 2003
Format: Audio CD
I'd been waiting for this one! In my college freshman English composition class, for our first essay, we were asked to write five pages on something we knew very well. It took me one nanosecond to decide to write on the Felix Weingartner recording of Beethoven's Third Symphony. I'd first heard it on a 78rpm set (as I recall it was twelve discs!) that belonged to my aunt. Then I bought my own LP of it in the early 1950s. I remember I wrote fifteen pages and even then had to pare it down somewhat. I remember my comp teacher wrote in the margins, 'Whoa, boy!' I wrote two pages alone on the 'false' horn entry against shimmering string tremolos ushering in the first movement recapitulation.
You get my drift. This is a great performance of the 'Eroica.' It is not idiosyncratic like some, and it is not stodgy or self-aggrandizing like others. There is great subtlety - for instance, those initial E flat chords don't hit you upside the head; rather, they announce that something of great import is to follow. And it does. The funeral march is not played as a pompous dirge, but as a heartfelt song of mourning and consolation. The scherzo is fleet but also full, partly because of those wonderful wide-bore Viennese horns. The finale variations have an overall line that doesn't fall apart into the individual variations, but builds to a stupendous climax. Weingartner was one of the most amazing moulders of orchestral sound. His sforzandi, for instance, are always gauged exactly to match the surrounding orchestral dynamic; they don't punch you, they energize you.
The Fourth, called a 'slender Greek maiden between two giants' by Schumann, is gentle, dancing, full of genuine but slightly hesitant feeling. Listen to how the ending of the first movement reaches an almost transcendant intensity.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By The Man in the Hathaway Shirt on September 23, 2004
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Oh that some conductor were performing Beethoven symphonies with this kind of authority today. These early 30s recordings by Felix Weingartner and the Vienna Philharmonic with No. 3 and the London Philharmonic with No. 4 are superb in every way, with rock solid, propulsive interpretations and disciplined and tight playing by the ensembles. They belie the myth that orchestras back in "those days" were loose and undisciplined, albeit chock full of feeling with thick vibrato. If it weren't for the sound you would almost think you are listening to modern ensembles. The London Philharmonic in particular sounds very similar to its present-day incarnation. And Weingartner leads both groups in rousing, crisp performances that know they are masterworks. The Eroica is truly heroic, with a recap in the first movement that will make your hair stand on end. The variations at the end are magnificent and the funeral march has all the dark menance with none of the overstatedness of some other conductors. I would place this recording second only to Cluytens, who conducts my very favorite Eroica ever. That puts this performance above *Furtwangler,* but that's the straight dope. The Fourth is almost as great--after listening to this I put on Leonard Bernstein, Vienna Philharmonic 1980--often cited as a great recording--and it paled in comparison, with puny ideas (no ideas) and only lots of speed to show for itself. (More on that and Lenny's other Beethoven symphonies with the VPO in an up-coming review.) The slow movement is as tender as I've ever heard but Weingartner never loses the forward-flowing rhythm that moves things along. The wind playing, so critical (I think this symphony has some of Beethoven's best scoring, particularly for the winds and the timpani), is masterfully blended here.Read more ›
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Lipscomb on July 7, 2004
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is the finest transfer of Weingartner's classic "straight" Eroica that it has been by pleasure to hear. While there is no getting around the excessive reverberance of the Vienna concert hall, this excellent transfer by Obert-Thorn is even better than the Brian Crimp effort once on an EMI LP set devoted to "The Art of Felix Weingartner." While I marginally prefer the Opus Kura (Japan) transfer of Weingartner's Beethoven 9th, this Naxos CD provides just about all we can expect to hear from the Eroica (the Opus Kura here is just too cavernous and noisy, even though the orchestral sound is at times more immediate).

I continue to marvel at how much variety of expressive nuance Weingartner achieves here within a single, rather uptempo pulse. Of the other "classical" conceptions of this work on CD, only Erich Kleiber/VPO (1955 on Decca) and Carl Schuricht/BPO (live 1964 on a deleted Originals CD set) are in the same league. Perhaps the closest to a combination of Weingartner and Klemperer in over-all approach - lean, direct, and rhythmically supple, yet weighty in emphasis - was the Lovro von Matacic account with the Czech Philharmonic. That first appeared on a stereo Parliament LP and is now available in an excellent CD transfer from Supraphon.

Of course, there are also several superb "personalized" readings of the Eroica that deserve a hearing - among my favorites are those by Furtwangler, Kabasta, Knappertsbusch, Scherchen and Mengelberg.

This transfer of the 4th Symphony is also superb - it's a big improvement over the old Columbia Entre LP (coupled with the 2nd) that has served me well all these years. It's also a wonderful performance: along with the Schuricht, I would say it's the benchmark for the "straight and true" approach to this work. Again, there are also some remarkable, more "romantic" interpretations that merit a hearing: most notably, Furtwangler, Konwitschny, Mengelberg and Georgescu.

Very highly recommended!
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