BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 4 in B-flat Major, Op. 60 – London Philharmonic/Georg Solti – Pristine Audio

by | Apr 10, 2009 | Classical Reissue Reviews | 0 comments

BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 4 in B-flat Major, Op. 60 – London Philharmonic/Georg Solti

Pristine Audio PASC 150 (CD-R or download), 30:35 [www.pristineclassical.com] ****:

Recorded by London Decca in 1950, this restored inscription by Geog Solti (1912-1997) and the London Philharmonic comes fairly early in the conductor’s career, given that his repute had been established as a pianist, working with violinist Georg Kulenkampff. The girth and color response of the LPO proves resonant from the first, especially as we proceed from the solemn, ominous Adagio of the first movement to its unbuttoned Allegro vivace, in which the bassoon and flute play prominent roles in the muscular throes of energy. The sudden explosions and bass rumblings proceed with a fine, internal logic, rather Italianate in the manner of Toscanini.

The heart of the symphony, the Adagio, Solti takes as a pesant Andante, emphasizing the almost Latin counter-rhythm in the secondary strings that whirls and sways as it evolves. Lovely flute and oboe work complements the ubiquitous presence of the clarinets and tympani that alternate between risoluto and espessivo affects. The LPO horns make their contribution no less virile and attractive. The Scherzo moves furiously up to the first appearance of the Trio, feast for the woodwinds and horns set on dainty, tripping feet in the strings. The final Allegro vibrates busily, a tussle of limpid, fleet energies and some emotional rampages that only Beethoven can master. We can still detect elements from Haydn, but the sheer force of motion transcends that personality and bears some limitless source of electrical power.  The coda cuts like a swift, sure knife into this too, too solid flesh. A “sleeper” album conscientiously awakened by Andrew Rose and his XR remastering process.

–Gary Lemco

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