Toscanini Conducts Beethoven: Complete Symphonies & Selected Overtures (From the Legendary October-December 1939 Cycle)
|Listen Now with Amazon Music|
Ludwig van Beethoven: Complete Symphonies & Selected Overtures (1939)
|Amazon Music Unlimited|
|New from||Used from|
This box set from Music and Arts of the Complete Symphonies and Selected Overtures of Ludwig van Beethoven is of great historical significance, partly because it was one of the few occasions when Arturo Toscanini recorded the entire cycle, but more importantly because it marked his break with Europe at the beginning of World War II. Recorded in autumn 1939 with the NBC Symphony Orchestra, these are volatile interpretations, taken for the most part at lightning-fast tempos and delivered with a ferocity that suggests Toscanini's public anger over the state of the world, if not his personal anguish over his separation from Italy. While the performances were well-recorded and have been remarkably restored through the label's "revolutionary harmonic balancing process," they are a little hard to take if you listen to more than one disc at a sitting, mostly because Toscanini's versions are intense, forceful, and often severe, and the NBC Symphony Orchestra is whipped into a frenzy for most of the time. There is little breathing room in the allegros and scherzos, and in some cases the slow movements are pressed harder than they should be, so the music's elegance, warmth, and beauty barely come through. Toscanini's rage over the war was justified, but his driven and indignant versions of Beethoven's symphonies and overtures are of another era, when authoritarian conducting could lead to indulgences that distorted the music. Some will find these performances too unstable and volcanic to be truly enjoyable, and the set will serve better as a document of a troubled period in Toscanini's career than as a collection of Beethoven's works for our own time. Despite the good cleaning of the sound, dynamic levels are variable and some tracks still have considerable surface noise. ~ Blair Sanderson, Rovi
"In general, the early NBC records are the best" --Classicalnotes,net
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- Product Dimensions : 4.75 x 5.5 x 0.5 inches; 5.18 Ounces
- Manufacturer : Alliance
- Date First Available : May 24, 2007
- Label : Alliance
- ASIN : B000R7G6LI
- Number of discs : 5
- Best Sellers Rank: #117,683 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
This recording was from the first cycle from 1939.At that time I was a new commer to classical music and that performance made
A great impressIon on me.Shorty after I went to a record store and wanted to purchase that recording.I was advised to wait ,because Arturo Toscanini and the NBC Orchestra in a process of recording a new cycle of Beethoven Symphonies.So I waited
And I purchased the new set on 7 LP's Issued on RCA Victor LM-6901,in 1956.I loved the new recordings and I listened to them
hundreds of times, but the Eroica from the first cycle lingered very long in my memory. In 1984 my daughter bought me for my
birthday a Franklin Mint Edition Of Toscanini best recordings on 30 LP's and among them was the 1939 recording of Eroica Symphony issued on LP for the first time.
Both cycles are almost identical as musical and interpretatative statements, so the best thing is to review them together. The main
difference is the timing in the three following Symphonies.
Beethoven cycle of 1939: Symphony No.2.
First movement. 12:19 .Second movement:10:39 . Third movement 3:09 . Fourth movement :6:18.
Symhhony No.4 .First movement:12:26 .Second movement:8:49.Third movement: 6:05 Fourth movement :6:53
Symphony NO 9: First movement:12:24 .Second movement:12:33.Third movement :13:01.Fourth movement:23:18.
Beethoven cycle of 1949-53.
Symphony No .2: First movement:9:19.Second movement:9:59.Third movement3:16.Fourth movement:6:03.
Symphony No.4. First movement:9:54 .Second movement:8:46 .Third movement:4:58 Fourthmovement :6:57
Symphony No.9.First movement:13:30.Second movement:13:09 Third movement4:21 Foutth Movement:23:24.
The 1939 recording of the 9th Symphony is the shortest performance I have ever. Heard.
Wilhelm Furtwangler once asked Toscanini : Why are you playing it so fast? Toscanini's reply was: That's the way I feel.
It is astonishing .It does not sound fast at all.Yes,it sounds brisk,with amazing clarity and drive .yet it is very musical.To compare
the two Toscanini recordings of the symphonies ,it is really beautiful experience.They both give you complete satisfaction,because
They sound so perfect,and in fact theta are per;ect and if you want to make any comparison with other conductors ,than the only
Rival recordings will be the one conducted by Wilhelm Furtwangler.All the above information applies two both cycles and the
Overtures.Harvey Sachs in his biography of Toscanini made the following observation."The most amazing thing about Toscanini
Howeever,was that his struggle to achieve ,a beautiful performance was absolutely a matter of life and death.Therefore this is the
Reason why this two Beethoven cycles of all Beethoven symphonies are so unique and beautiful.
The earlier cycle is a must for every experienced music lover.For the new commer to music ,who never heard symphonies of
Beethoven.I recommend the second cycle recorded between 1949-53 ,simply because of a fuller and ,better sound.
The Magic of Tosvanini is such ,that you desire to hear his recordings , more and more.
Firstly, I must say that Music & Arts have done a great job with the re-mastering. I own the RCA Gold Seal edition on Toscanini's 1950's cycle Beethoven symphonies that also included the 1939 recording of the "Leonore No. 3" overture, so I could make an objective comparison. In my opinion, the noise reduction and clarity on the Music & Arts release is remarkable.
Now, as to why I could not award 5 stars to this product:
1. In most of the tracks, the few seconds' intermission between the end of one movement and the start of another have been almost completely removed, making it seem - and I should add, rather artificially so - as if there is virtually NO pause between movements. The removals are all the more apparent because, despite Music & Arts' best efforts at the noise reduction, there is still some residual background hum (understandably so), and because of that, you can very clearly hear the obvious cut between one track and the next. I had my car speakers on high volume when listening to the Second Symphony, and the sudden jump from the final principal note at the end of the First Movement to the commencement of the Second Movement was, I have to say, rather jarring (one generally does not end an "Allegro con brio" movement and jump straight into a "Larghetto" movement without so much as a pause, not unless the two movements were written as such).
2. On to the packaging. Now, I appreciate that one buys a CD box set primarily for the CD's and their contents. I also appreciate that the product is clearly advertised as "5 CD's for the price of 4", so the word "economical" should ring loud. But to package the CD's in a card-box box and worse, with the CD's in white envelopes (one of which already had a half-inch tear on its edge)? One buys such items for keeps, and surely it would therefore be logical that the packaging should be suited to withstand the ravages of wear-and-tear in the years to come. It is not as if this is my first box-set purchase from Music & Arts - having the hindsight of previously purchasing their release of Furtwängler's war-time recordings of Beethoven's symphonies that came in a sturdy plastic CD case, this downgrading in packaging quality on the part of Music & Arts is rather disappointing.
3. I would not have minded paying a little more for an additional CD to the set that would have allowed for the inclusion of all the Overtures (from what I gather, this was done by the now-out-of-print Naxos release a decade ago). The absence of "Fidelio", "Coriolan" and "The Creatures of Prometheus" makes the set feel rather incomplete. Not sure I understand the rationale behind Music & Arts including only 'selected' Overtures.
All said, and to end on a positive note, the music is still highly enjoyable (even if, as previous music reviewers have mentioned, the Ninth Symphony does sound rather rushed and agitated).
Top reviews from other countries
Die bei Music&Arts erschienene Ausgabe ist (bis dato) die am meisten empfehlenswerte Überspielung! Wenn auch Naxos durch die komplette ungeschnittene Rundfunkübertragung mit Ansagen, Applaus in voller Länge und alle den Sinfonien-Zyklus ergänzenden Stücken uns innerlich ein Live-Erlebnis (quasi am Radio) entstehen lässt, so führen uns die Music&Arts Veröffentlichung (um im Bild zu bleiben) ein Stück weit direkt in den Konzertsaal mit seiner trockenen und dennoch warmen Akustik. Die Sinfonie Nr.8 sollte man aber in der Naxos-Veröffentlichung behalten: Diese ist ein überspieltechnischer Glücksgriff und besser gelungen als im "Music&Arts-Zyklus". Ansonsten hat M&A hier die definitive Version dieser Sternstunden hingezaubert - vielleicht kaum überbietbar... Aber wer weiß? Mal sehen, ob die Zukunft noch weitere positive Überraschungen bezüglich dieses wichtigen Zyklus bringt.
Anmerkung vom April 2014: Bis jetzt gilt meiner Meinung nach noch diese Rezension, was die "Zukunft" betrifft :-)
- - - - -
Über ein Feedback (Kommentare) zu meinen Bemühungen des Rezensierens würde ich mich freuen! Lesen Sie gern auch andere meiner weit über 200 Klassik-Besprechungen mit Schwerpunkt "romantische Orchestermusik" (viel Bruckner und Mahler), "wenig bekannte nationale Komponisten" (z.B. aus Skandinavien), "historische Aufnahmen" und immer wieder Interpretationsvergleiche und für den Kenner bzw. Interessierten meist Anmerkungen zum Remastering!
フルトベングラー や C・クライバーも良いけど、コレもまた違って良かったです！