Shostakovich’s Tenth Symphony is 50 minutes of tragedy, despair, terror, and violence and three minutes of triumph. Premiered in 1953, the best performance is still that conducted by Mravinsky. Yevgeny Mravinsky's June 3, 1955, performance with the Leningrad Philharmonic of Beethoven's Symphony No. 4 is just as great. Mravinsky was the best Soviet conductor and his passionate precision and intense interpretations were as valid for Beethoven as they were for Shostakovich. His interpretations can be hard-driven and sharp-edged, but no one could object to the lucid strength and linear lyricism he brings to the work.
…here Bernstein provides what may be the slowest recorded tempo of the first movement to date (perhaps it's worth it alone for that reason!?) – however the freshness and vitality that LB and the NYP display on the Fourth Symphony is nothing short of breathtaking!
It's pure Bernstein - it's fresh, it's youthful, it's bliss, it's ecstasy. This is one of the finest takes of Beethoven 4 I know of - which is probably Beethoven's most under-estimated symphony. Bernstein captures the exact character needed to sell this work.
For decades Szell's Beethoven cycle has been justly hailed as one of the best on discs, and the reasons are clear: lively and dramatic interpretations that are true to the Beethovenian spirit married to simply spectacular orchestral playing.
Victor Carr Jr.
…Once again, Järvi and his band have captured Beethoven's wilful and often irascible character, rhetoric, polemics and sheer genius in fully-charged performances which also reveal his deep humanity. They certainly should number among the elite.
In 2001, when Gunter Wand was an astonishing 89, he led this live concert from Hamburg with his home orchestra, the North German Radio. Wand was a benign (so far as I know) conservative like Josef Krips, happy if his wrld was circumscribed by Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, and Bruckner, who remained the taples of his repertoire.
A lifelong devotion to Mozart shows through in this genial, quick-moving, sunny reading of the "posthorn" Serenade. The posthorn soloist is fine, the first oboe a bit less so, but everyone's in high spirits. There's not a hint of dullness anywhere, making Wand's one of the best versions outside the period-performance litany. Smiles all around.
Emerging from a dark depression, Beethoven chose art rather than death, thus embracing a notion of destiny and heroism which links him to heroes of the past - and of his present.The Eroica Symphony, dedicated initially to Napoleon, and ultimately 'to the memory of a great man', was to prompt contemporary commentators to seek out interpretations in the Iliad.