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Syms 3/6

3.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Only 1 left in stock.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Nov. 16 2001)
  • SPARS Code: ADD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • ASIN: B00005OLDP
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #183,681 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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1. Sym No.3 in E flat Op.55 'Eroica': 1. Allegro Con Brio
2. Sym No.3 in E flat Op.55 'Eroica': 2. Marcia Funebre. Adagio Assai
3. Sym No.3 in E flat Op.55 'Eroica': 3. Scherzo. Allegro Vivace
4. Sym No.3 in E flat Op.55 'Eroica': 4. Finale. Allegro Molto
5. Sym No.6 in F Op.68 'Pastorale': 1. Awakening Of Cheerful Feelings Upon Arrival In The Country:..
6. Sym No.6 in F Op.68 'Pastorale': 2. Scene By The Brook
7. Sym No.6 in F Op.68 'Pastorale': 3. Merry Gathering Of Country Folk: Allegro
8. Sym No.6 in F Op.68 'Pastorale': 4. Thunderstorm: Allegro
9. Sym No.6 in F Op.68 'Pastorale': 5. Shepherd's Song: Happy And Thankful Feelings After The Storm...

Product Description

Scherchen's Beethoven was one of the glories of the old Westminster LP catalogue, and it's wonderful to have them back, if only to vindicate memories of a bracing Pastorale and one of the most exciting Eroicas ever made. For all of today's obsession with following Beethoven's metronome markings, Scherchen got there first. In 1958, he sets a torrid pace and does it with more expression and feeling than most of today's groups can muster. By the end of the first movement, he leaves you limp. The famous "funeral march" flows nicely, never plodding. Scherchen doesn't have to milk sentiment to convey the emotional content. The Scherzo's a real roller-coaster ride, and the Finale bristles with power. This great Eroica is coupled with an excellent Pastorale. The opening "arrival in the country" is bursting with fresh expectancy. In the second movement, the brook bubbles merrily, flowing even faster than Toscanini's. The rest of the work is full of original touches. The early stereo sound holds up well. Even if you know these symphonies well, you need to hear Scherchen. --Dan Davis

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
It is possible to read contradictory assessments of Hermann Scherchen's 1958 stereo account, for Westminster, of Beethoven's Eroica Symphony. (It's not only possible, but usual, to encounter contradictory assessments of Scherchen!) A number of commentators say that it is a mess: that Scherchen's decision to apply extremely rapid tempi leaves the conductor waving about madly while the orchestra, trying to catch up, falls into disarray. Others admit that Scherchen's idea is "mad" (to cite one of them) but add that, despite some scrappy ensemble in the Scherzo and the Finale, the concept is valid and the reading truly exciting. René Tremine sums up in the introduction to his annotated Scherchen discography: "The stereo remake of the Eroica is one of Scherchen's most curious interpretations. His wish to respect Beethoven's tempi to the letter produced a very quick performance (like René Leibowitz's recording), so fast that many thought it was a joke. The orchestra tried to do its best but by the finale it is totally over-run and on the brink of chaos." When I saw that DG had reissued this notorious recording as part of its new, Westminster archive series, coupling the Eroica with its stereo stable mate the Pastoral, my curiosity was aroused. I like Scherchen for many things: for his Mahler, for example, and for his Bach, especially his different versions of The Art of the Fugue. So I decided to give it a try. It's definitely not in the camp of Furtwängler of Celibidache, who tend to rein in the pace for the sake of grandeur; it's maybe a bit closer to Klemperer, who, like Scherchen, was a "modern" rather than a "romantic" in his interpretations. Really, however, it's wild and sui generis.Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD
Hermann Scherchen was one of the most individual conductors of the 20th Century who rarely failed to take a fresh approach to a work. Beethoven is often refered to as a firebrand musical revolutionary but far too many performances bring him off as a rocking chair bound has been. That is not the case here. The revolution is on and Scherchen is leading it. His performance of the 3rd Symphony is probably the most exuberant and bracing performance ever recorded. From note one Scherchen does not let up and the Vienna State Opera Orchestra is kept constantly on its toes. They almost loose it at times but that too adds to the excitement of the performance. The performance of the 6th is as invigorating and spirited. This is a new remastering for the Westminster Legacy series. It is in stereo and it manages to tame many of the rough edges of the previous release on MCA. If you are tired of hearing Beethoven stale and dry this is your antidote.
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Format: Audio CD
Hermann Scherchen is one of my favorite conductors - if I ever sat down and made a list of my "Top Twenty," I know he would be in there somewhere. I own (or have owned) all of his studio recordings and most of his "live" offerings as well. I admire him in modern music, some of his Bach, and all of his Haydn. But his Beethoven was, shall we say, "uneven."
The "Eroica" and the "Pastorale" recordings featured on this well-transferred CD are pretty erratic. I recall with amusement a Fanfare critic's assessment that "this 3rd is the most insane reading of a Beethoven symphony ever recorded." Well, I wouldn't go THAT far - but it is highly eccentric to be sure. The concept is fascinating - apparently Constantin Silvestri did something similar with the Bournemouth Symphony (hopefully, a radio tape of that might turn up someday - Silvestri surely achieved a higher level of ensemble playing than what is heard here under Scherchen). But I sure wouldn't want this Scherchen as my only recording of the work.
In the case of the "Pastorale," I simply get the feeling that Scherchen may have lost his interest in the music. There sure isn't much about it that you could call pastoral - it's all rather hard-bitten and unsympathetic. But at least the orchestra doesn't get caught as unawares (or napping) as in the 3rd, where some of the ensemble work verges on the comical. Scherchen's earlier 6th (once on Westminster LP 5108) was far more sympathetic - it was also 5 minutes slower.
I would suggest that, if you want to hear what Scherchen was capable of in the 3rd, then you should seek out a copy of "Hermann Scherchen: The Ultraphon Recordings" on Tahra 283/286.
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Get this if only for the 3rd. From the very opening of the first movement, Scherchen leads the orchestra through a breathtaking rendition. You get an incredible sense of urgency throughout the first movement. This isn't simply fast Beethoven. It contains all of the drama and passion that make the 3rd the breakthough symphony of the 19th century. It is a very different feeling from other great reads of the third such as Szell's, Bohm's or Karajan's. One of the differences is that Scherchen does not have a great orchestra to lead. That is why I give it four instead of five stars. One can only imagine what this would sound like if it were the VPO or the BPO. The Vienna State Opera Orchestra is pushed to its limits and unfortunately it shows in some spots particularly in the final movement. Scherchen has the orchestra going full tilt toward the end -- to the point where it sounds as if everything is in danger of completely falling apart because they are going so fast. Yet they mangage to make it the end together in one piece. The total effect far compensates for any technical deficiencies of the orchestra. This is an enjoyable, breathtaking, exhilirating rendition.
I listen to this only for the third because I am completely biased in favor of Bohm's rendition of the 6th. The tempi here may be "correct" but Bohm's got it in terms of all the beauty of the 6th.
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