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  Sony Classical -
  SS 06012
  Beethoven: Symphony No. 6 - Columbia Symphony Orchestra/Walter
  Beethoven: Symphony No. 6 "Pastoral"

Columbia Symphony Orchestra
Bruno Walter (conductor)
Track listing:
  Classical - Orchestral
  Single Layer
Recording type:
Recording info:
  SRGR707 in Japan.

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Related titles: 5

Reviews: 4 show all

Review by drdanfee December 17, 2005 (7 of 8 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:

By the time conductor Bruno Walter got around to recording this reading of the Beethoven Sixth Symphony, almost everybody who was anybody in classical music of that era agreed that he practically owned the contemporary performance rights to utter preeminence in this work.

The phrasing is sung, instead of snapped in the modern Beethoven style that owes so much to three or four decades we have spent in recreations of period instrument playing. The tempos are flexible, as if breathing. The flexibility of phrasing and tempos is always rooted, as deeply as possible, in the bedrock of the symphony's harmonic argument, and then to equal degree in the dramatic and narrative flow.

In short, people don't conduct Beethoven like this any more.

But no matter.

However much our own thought and period instrument experiences may have come to inform how we now think the composer is expressing himself, to hear this recording again is to appreciate with new zest and new heart that Beethoven's importance is inseparable from the kind of humanity that Bruno Walter and the Columbia Symphony Orchestra find in him, exactly through his music.

By the way.

All the comments about tape hiss being preserved make me wonder what kinds of equipment people are using to play this SACD.

Probably if you are listening on headphones, you will be that much more aware of the background noise inherent in the master tape. But the music is so staggeringly figural that I cannot believe anybody would fail to notice it, lost in favor of that (minimal) background tape noise.

I wonder how people manage, listening past all the other everyday noise that threatens to intrude upon our home systems? The miracle of listening to recorded music is part and parcel of the brain's miraculous abilities (bio-psycho-acoustically) to process the signals the ear is receiving, and to focus one empathic attentions on the point, which is the music.

Now, some musical training of some kind probably helps this kind of ability to focus or pay attention. But anyone who can manage to hear their friends talking to them on an outside, busy, noisy urban street, has the basic brain ability to shut out competing noise in favor of paying attention to the other person talking.

Listening past tape hiss or other (minimal) master tape residual noise ... well it is just like that.

In any case, this reading is a peak all its own in the mountain ranges of recorded Beethoven Sixth Symphonies. Anyone who can't hear the music yet should just take a break and come back later. No matter who else records this symphony,... and there have been and will be some deserving candidates;... this particular recording will continue to stand on its own, and can therefore be very highly recommended.

The rating says five stars. I say: there are too many stars to count. Get this SACD, and listen to Beethoven the humanist who plumbed and characterized all those joys and struggles we have come to call the human condition.

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Review by thepilot October 21, 2004 (4 of 7 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
This is one of the true glories of the gramophone. A performance of Beethoven's Pastoral symphony that speaks with the true voice of the composer and cannot be faulted in any way. The sound quality is simply amazing considering the age of the recording with wonderful clarity, air and body and the only problem is the analoque hiss that is a little bit stronger than usual. A desert island disc.

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Review by analogue February 26, 2009 (2 of 4 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Yes there is some tape hiss on this release and the actual tapes are not exactly pristine so there are some problems with the sonic character of this Beethoven sacd and the actual dsd transfer.

But the performance is truly magnificent and some of the musical cresendo's are spectacular and tremendously moving. So it becomes a balancing act really and there has to be some compromise on the buyers part. And if one buys a very good sacd player I am sure the sound would become much better.

Expect some dated fidelity.......the master tapes are about 50 years old you know. But the sound is still excellent. Walter's take on this symphony is magnificent. The best I have ever heard and because of this it becomes a little timeless. There is so much tenderness and passion in this recording.

Beware...........this sacd can become very loud but in the best way. and to get the best sound one should crank the volume up a tad as there are some very gentle moments. This is one of the reasons it shines. It's pure emotional bliss.

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Works: 1  

Ludwig van Beethoven - Symphony No. 6 in F major, Op. 68 "Pastoral"