|1. Symphony No. 1 In C Major, Op. 21: I. Adagio Molto - Allegro Con Brio|
|2. Symphony No. 1 In C Major, Op. 21: II. Andante Cantabile Con Moto|
|3. Symphony No. 1 In C Major, Op. 21: III. Menuetto. Allegro Molto E Vivace|
|4. Symphony No. 1 In C Major, Op. 21: IV. Finale. Adagio - Allegro Molto E Vivace|
|5. Symphony No. 6 In F Major, Op. 68 Pastoral: I. Awakening Of Cheerful Feelings Upon Arrival In The Country - Allegro Ma Non Troppo|
|6. Symphony No. 6 In F Major, Op. 68 Pastoral: II. Scene By The Brook - Andante Molto Moto|
|7. Symphony No. 6 In F Major, Op. 68 Pastoral: III. Merry Gathering Of Country Folk - Allegro|
|8. Symphony No. 6 In F Major, Op. 68 Pastoral: IV. Thunderstorm - Allegro|
|9. Symphony No. 6 In F Major, Op. 68 Pastoral: V. Shepherd's Song. Happy And Thankful Feelings After The Storm - Allegretto|
|10. Egmont Overture, Op. 84: Sostenuto, Ma Non Troppo - Allegro|
This performance of the two symphonies is perfect - certainly close enough to perfect for me! However, the recording has a couple of flaws. There is a slight click preceding the second movement of the First Symphony, and the first notes of the fourth movement in the First are truncated a fraction of a second. There are a couple of dropouts, although those might in my individual CD/player combination.
But these are minor annoyances at worst. The performance is great. For the price, you cannot go wrong. Bon Apetit!
szell raised the ensemble and technical control of the cleveland orchestra to an astonishing level, which allowed him many hair raising plunges through the music, for example in the last movement of the 5th symphony. the orchestra could render the full dynamic range, and the strings -- for example in the first chords of the egmont overture -- were capable of a powerful, rich sonority equal to a brass choir.
the real beauty in szell's interpretations is the orchestra's almost balletic sensitivity to rhythm and musical accent. these musicians don't just play the music as a dance, they express dancing as they play. it's a treat to be surprised by this irresistible, springing dance spirit in movements that are so often played as academic forms -- the disc of the 1st and 6th symphonies provides many happy moments. one regrets that there's no szell recording of beethoven's "creatures of prometheus" available.
i love these recordings. at a time when our culture relies on noise, speed, excess, vulgarity and lack of control to get our attention, it's a treat to hear beethoven that is sonorous, sprightly, forceful, lyrical and eloquent. and at a bargain price!