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Complete Collections - Beethoven: 9 Symphonies / Toscanini


Release Date: 12/09/2003 
Label:  Rca Victor Red Seal Catalog #: 55702   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Jan PeerceNan MerrimanEileen FarrellNorman Scott
Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony OrchestraRobert Shaw Chorale
Number of Discs: 5 
Recorded in: Mono 
Length: 5 Hours 55 Mins. 

CD not available: This title is currently only available as an MP3 download.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

NBC Symphony/Arturo Toscanini. RCA Victor Gold Seal 60324-2-RG [5 CDs, with Leonore Overture No. 3; also available singly] (recorded 1949-52), reissued on RCA 55702.

These readings represent Toscanini’s last thoughts on the Beethoven symphonies, recorded when he was in his mid-eighties. They are taut, energetic, cohesive performances, and utterly distinctive in their balance of lyricism and dynamism. The NBC Symphony was not the greatest orchestra then, or ever; despite the legend that grew up around it, there are places where one can hardly help noticing the problems with tuning in the winds, the frayed string ensemble, the less-than-ideal tone in the brass. But these recordings capture an orchestra playing with absolute
Read more commitment, and one that had been superbly well rehearsed at that.

With Toscanini, the music is always moving toward something. The sense of impetus in these accounts is truly remarkable, whether it expresses itself merely as a surging forward, or as an electrifying, headlong rush to the finish. The scherzo of Eroica is wonderfully fleet and vibrant, the storm in the Pastorale violently powerful, the opening Allegro of the Second impetuous, brilliant, almost fierce. The whole of the Seventh Symphony is explosive, though the ensemble in the scherzo is not especially good.

These are all studio recordings made in Carnegie Hall, except for Nos. 4 and 5, which are broadcast transcriptions (and noisier as a result), and No. 7, which is a hybrid. The sound, thanks to excellent remastering, has remarkable impact and clarity, with full dynamic range, good detail, and no evidence of the egregious processing that marred so many earlier incarnations of these readings. – Ted Libbey, author of The NPR Guide to Building a Classical CD Collection, reviewing a previous issue of the same recordings of the Beethoven symphonies conducted by Arturo Toscanini. Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Symphony no 1 in C major, Op. 21 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1800; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: December 21, 1951 
Venue:  Carnegie Hall, New York 
2.
Symphony no 2 in D major, Op. 36 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1801-1802; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: November 7, 1949 
3.
Symphony no 3 in E flat major, Op. 55 "Eroica" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1803; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: December 6, 1953 
4.
Symphony no 4 in B flat major, Op. 60 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1806; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: February 3, 1951 
5.
Symphony no 5 in C minor, Op. 67 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1807 
Date of Recording: March 22,1952 
6.
Symphony no 6 in F major, Op. 68 "Pastoral" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra
Written: 1808 
Date of Recording: January 14, 1952 
7.
Symphony no 7 in A major, Op. 92 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1811-1812; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: November 9/10 1951 
8.
Symphony no 8 in F major, Op. 93 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1812; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: November 11, 1951 
9.
Symphony no 9 in D minor, Op. 125 "Choral" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Jan Peerce (Tenor), Nan Merriman (Mezzo Soprano), Eileen Farrell (Soprano),
Norman Scott (Bass)
Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Robert Shaw Chorale,  NBC Symphony Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1822-1824; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 3/31/52 & 4/1/52 
Language: German 

Sound Samples

Adagio molto: Allegro con brio
Andante cantabile con moto
Menuetto: Allegro molto e vivace
Adagio: Allegro molto e vivace
Adagio molto; Allegro con brio
Larghetto
Scherzo; Trio
Allegro molto
Allegro con brio
Marcia funebre: Adagio assai
Scherzo: Allegro vivace; Trio
Finale: Allegro molto; Poco andante; Presto
Adagio; Allegro vivace
Adagio
Menuetto: Allegro vivace
Allegro ma non troppo

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  2 Customer Reviews )
 Still Great after all these years August 29, 2012 By Dennis Collins (Fremont, CA) See All My Reviews "The Toscanini set was my first collection of the Beethoven Symphonies on LP and introduced me to Beethoven"s works. I have subsequently replaced them over the years with collections by Bernstein, Walter, Von Karajan and LSO. I was pleased to find that they still hold up as a substantial intrepretation of Beethoven's works and mark Toscanini recordings as seminal in my classical music education
"
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 Fidelity and Power December 16, 2011 By T. Drake (South Euclid, OH) See All My Reviews "RCA/BMG have reissued these recordings numerous times since their initial LP release. To the best of my knowledge, they've never been out of print. The sound on various incarnations has varied, from the clean but compressed mono originals, fake stereo reissues in the 1960s, to at least four CD issues. In 1997, RCA totally reorganized and inventoried its massive vaults, which had been in disarray for decades. As a result, many original sources which had been declared "lost" were now "found." This new remastering is strikingly improved sonically over all earlier issues. Utilizing the best technology now available, RCA has also done the right thing by hiring a musician - conductor Ed Houser - rather than whiz-bang technicians to supervise the remastering. The NBC Symphony Orchestra now sounds better than ever before, with smoother strings, fuller winds, increased dynamic range, and less blotting out during fortissimos.

Perhaps no conductor of the 20th Century has been as misunderstood as Arturo Toscanini, as evidenced by the critical backlash with which he was assailed in the years following his death. That criticism was partly in reaction to the equally unbalanced adulation heaped upon him during his lifetime. I remember once mentioning to an acquaintance my admiration for Toscanini's Beethoven and Brahms, and he shot back, "He conducts everything too fast!" In fact, in comparison with other recordings and broadcasts of his era, Toscanini's conducting was not generally faster than average. In relation to TODAY'S phlegmatic tempos, however, Toscanini's pacing is definitely brisk. But what most people are hearing as fast is, in fact, Toscanini's characteristic rhythmic vitality and, occasionally, drive, which brings the faster movements to sparkling life. (The finale to Beethoven's Seventh Symphony is an example: the tempo is not unusually fast, but it SEEMS faster than normal because of the precise articulation and clarity.) Likewise, the slow movements are never dragged, and glow with Italianate warmth.

It is worth noting that RCA has made one major change in this reissue of Beethoven Symphonies: the 1949 studio recording of the "Eroica," heard in previous complete sets has been replaced by the 1953 live Carnegie Hall version. RCA does not credit the liner notes, but they are reprints of Mortimer H. Frank's excellent notes originally written for the early 1990s CD release.

RCA has so far only released Toscanini's core repertoire with the NBC Symphony--but they are more than welcome additions to the catalogue. The Maestro's recordings with the New Your Philharmonic, and The Philadelphia Orchestra should also be remastered, post-haste.

Follow up: Toscanini's Philly recordings have been remastered and issued Arturo Toscanini: The Complete Philadelphia Orchestra Recordings 1941-42. Get them, you won't regret it.
"
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