This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.
Notes and Editorial Reviews
...[A]n historic set of performances, a gramophone landmark, not because they are hitherto unrivalled but because through a mixture of flair and pragmatism Norrington and his players have articulated the period instruments' case in Beethoven just about as compellingly as it is possible to imagine at this particular time... The reading of the Fourth Symphony is full of energy and wit, which, by and large, is how I prefer it to go, though this tends to be a minority view, with conductors often drooling over the slow introduction and playing the finale in the light of the ma non troppo marking. In the finale, Norrington is quick and vivid but he leaves space enough to let the ruminative cross-currents through, a kind of dissident conservative
lobby that tends to remain smugly silent when the conductor opts for a more leisurely tempo. As Norrington plays the movement it is very brilliant, very eventful, and very amusing. The symphony's slow introduction is flowingly paced with no loss to its sense of mystery and the Allegro con brio is just that, and as exhilarating as it always is when it is played with pace and flair.
...But what of the new Seventh? The reading itself is predictably enterprising, most obviously in the Allegretto which is taken swiftly, at the metronome, but phrased and articulated almost as though it were an arioso, an unusual idea persuasively realized. By and large, the performance and the booklet notes are well co-ordinated, but I was relieved to find that Norrington doesn't treat the third movement trio like an old Austrian pilgrim's hymn. Toscanini pointed the way here over 50 years ago but many conductors still trudge lugubriously through this fine trio...
-- Richard Osborne, Gramophone [11/1989, from the review of EMI 49852]
Works on This Recording
Symphony no 7 in A major, Op. 92 by Ludwig van Beethoven
London Classical Players
Written: 1811-1812; Vienna, Austria
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