KOUSSEVITZKY Rare Beethoven Symphony Recordings Vol. 2 (1950/44) - PASC522

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KOUSSEVITZKY Rare Beethoven Symphony Recordings Vol. 2 (1950/44) - PASC522

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BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 1 - first ever release of a Koussevitzky Beethoven 1
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 6 - previously unreleased

Total duration: 59:55
Live broadcast recordings, 1950/43

Orchestre National de l'O.R.T.F.
Boston Symphony Orchestra
conducted by Serge Koussevitzky

This set contains the following albums:

We follow the first ever release a few weeks ago of Serge Koussevitzky conducting Beethoven's 4th Symphony (coupled with a previously unissued Seventh, Pristine PASC515) with another coup - the first ever issue of Koussevitzky conducting Beethoven's 1st Symphony, this time coupled with an unissued live performance of the Sixth.

The First Symphony hails from a French radio re-broadcast of a 1950 live performance with the Orchestre National de l'O.R.T.F.. Whilst this recording is pretty good for its era, with a frequency range exceeding most 78rpm releases, if not quite reaching the levels expected of the imminent hi-fi era, it did suffer from cross-talk interference from another station, allowing one to hear from time to time another piece of music bleeding through into the Koussevitzky performance. By taking a digital scalpel to the Beethoven I have endeavoured to excise this as much as is currently possible, though there are moments where the frequencies of the notes in both pieces coincide to the extent that the offending music cannot be entirely removed. That said, it is now a very occasional and very minor irritant, and one you may not notice at all.

Aside from his 1928 Victor recording, you'll struggle to find many other examples of Koussevitzky conducting the Pastoral Symphony, yet as the reviewer from the Boston Globe implies, it was a regular and popular part of his repertoire in Boston. This October 1943 recording (from later on the day that the review quoted was published), save a few blasts at peak moments, has been very well preserved from a live radio broadcast, and offers nearly the same fidelity as the later French recording. Both are essential additions to the catalogue.

Andrew Rose

BEETHOVEN  Symphony No. 1 in C major, Op. 21
1. 1st mvt. - Adagio molto – Allegro con brio  (6:38)
2. 2nd mvt. - Andante cantabile con moto  (6:34)
3. 3rd mvt. - Minuet. Allegro molto e vivace - Trio  (3:09)
4. 4th mvt. - Finale. Adagio – Allegro molto e vivace  (5:39)

Orchestre National de l'O.R.T.F.

BEETHOVEN  No. 6 in F major, Op. 68, Pastoral
5. 1st mvt. - Erwachen heiterer Empfindungen bei der Ankunft auf dem Lande.  (9:03)
6. 2nd mvt. - Scene am Bach. Andante molto moto  (11:33)
7. 3rd mvt. - Lustiges Zusammensein der Landleute. Allegro  (5:13)
8. 4th mvt. - Gewitter. Sturm. Allegro  (3:22)
9. 5th mvt. - Hirtengesang. Frohe und dankbare Gefühle nach dem Sturm. Allegretto  (8:44)

Boston Symphony Orchestra

Serge Koussevitzky, conductor

XR remastering by Andrew Rose

Cover artwork based on a photograph of Koussevitzky

Beethoven Symphony No. 1
Broadcast 25 June, 1950

Beethoven Symphony No. 6
Broadcast 23 October, 1943
Symphony Hall, Boston

Total duration:  59:55

Beethoven’s “Pastoral" has come to be one of the loveliest Koussevitzky performances. He and the Boston Symphony have done it with more finesse, however, than was true yesterday. But even those little roughnesses did not violate the mood of the "Pastoral” nor dim the lustre of Koussevitzky’s conception.

C.W.D., Daily Boston Globe, 23 October 1943 (review of performance of 22 October)