The great German conductor Hermann Scherchen began his career as a violist, playing with the Bluthner Orchestra of Berlin while still in his teens. He began conducting in 1914 and worked in Latvia and Germany until 1933, when he moved to Switzerland in protest of the Nazi regime. Although Scherchen was a major champion of contemporary composers such as Schönberg, Strauss, Webern, Berg and Varèse, he was no stranger to the classic repertoire. He is perhaps best known for his orchestral arrangement of Johann Sebastian Bach's The Art of Fugue. Also of note is his 1958 recording of Beethoven's third symphony for the Westminster label, containing what is still one of the fastest first movements ever recorded and the closest to Beethoven's own metronome marking. This volume from the three CD complete set of Beethoven symphonies is culled from various recordings made between 1951 and 1954 and offers a fascinating record of Scherchen's view of these immortal works.