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Pierre's Tuesday Blog

Beethoven Live!

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For my final Tuesday Blog for 2017, as promised, here are some year-end fireworks from Mr. Beethoven: two symphomies that were created almost 210 years ago, on the fateful evening of 22 December 1808 - his Symphoies no. 5 and 6, performed in front of a captive audience and captured for posterity.

The first performance is from a radio broadcast of 23 May 1954, the last year of Furtwangler's life with the Berlin Philharmonic. The Pastorale is very slow, ruminative, moving to a different and more bucolic pace with a lingering, sweet quality, almost as though Furtwangler were losing himself in Beethoven's countryside for the last time.

In 1950 Victor de Sabata was temporarily detained at Ellis Island along with several other Europeans under the newly passed McCarran Act (the reason was his work in Italy during Benito Mussolini’s Fascist regime). In March 1950 and March 1951 de Sabata conducted the New York Philharmonic in a series of concerts in Carnegie Hall, many of which were preserved from radio transcriptions to form some of the most valuable items in his recorded legacy. From these concets, we are featuring his stirring rendition of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony.

Both performances are enhanced by the energy provided by the audience - don't you think?

These recordings are from LiberMusica, but you can also download them from my archives.

Happy listening!

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)

Symphony No. 6 in F Major, op. 68 ('Pastoral')
Berliner Philharmoniker
Wilhelm Furtwangler, conducting
(Live, 23 May 1954)

Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, op. 67
New York Philharmonic
Victor de Sabata, conducting
(Live, 19 March, 1950)