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Beethoven: Symphonies No 5 & 7 / Bernstein, New York Philharmonic

Release Date: 04/05/2011 
Label:  Sony   Catalog #: 68881  
Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This release combines a pair of Beethoven performances by conductor Leonard Bernstein, in his prime, with the New York Philharmonic; the Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67, was recorded in 1961, and the Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92, in 1958. Both have been digitally remastered, and the earlier recording actually comes out a bit better; by 1961 Columbia's engineers had figured out how to use the backdrop of LP sound to accent orchestral strings, an effect difficult to reproduce on CD. Charismatic, gifted, and genre-crossing, Bernstein was on top of the American musical world during this period, and these recordings remained strong sellers for some years. Hearing them half a century on reminds listeners (or apprises them anew) of several Read more things. The first is that the New York Philharmonic, though certainly more than competent, did not have a trademark strength like its chief competitors in Philadelphia, Cleveland, Chicago, and Boston. You hope for brilliance that is not there. But you're also reminded that Bernstein was a subtler conductor than he is sometimes given credit for being. His histrionic style on the podium belied a well-considered, detailed approach to these works, for which he was confronted by decades (or more) of established tradition. The Symphony No. 5 is broad rather than exceptionally violent, with a lovely free space for the oboe cadenza in the first movement; Bernstein has it expand beyond its structural significance into a moment of sudden and profound personal reflection in the midst of societal tumult. In the Symphony No. 7 Bernstein is deliberate and persistent in the first movement's slow introduction and never really turns up the voltage until the finale, which thus acquires its proper bacchanalian mood. As with other albums in this Sony reissue series, the CD version includes both photographic reproductions of the original artwork and booklet reprints of the jacket text, with added French and German translations.

-- James Manheim, AllMusic.com
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Works on This Recording

Symphony no 5 in C minor, Op. 67 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
Period: Classical 
Written: 1807-1808; Vienna, Austria 
Symphony no 7 in A major, Op. 92 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
Period: Classical 
Written: 1811-1812; Vienna, Austria 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 AN AMERICAN TREASURE February 28, 2017 By Charles Schormann (Eustis, FL) See All My Reviews "Leonard Bernstein had a wonderful ability to breathe new life into well known and important symphonies. The Beethoven 5th and 7th are prime examples of this. In any one else hands these recordings could have been good, maybe very good. Mr Bernstein does himself and the music proud by reaching in and waking up the heart of these pieces, blowing the dust and cobwebs off centuries of standard interpretations and making music exciting again. My collection has about 35 iterations of the 5th and less of the 7th. These recordings reminded me how exciting these 'old chestnuts' really are." Report Abuse
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