Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Best Choral after Furtwangler's

Sir Georg Solti has done some marvellous readings of Beethoven's symphonies. The Seventh stands out. He has given a definitive performance of the A Major Seventh with the Vienna Philharmonic. He would have got that distinction with this performance of the Choral too, if not for that stupendous performance by Furtwangler with the Berlin Philharmonic at Bayreuth in 1951. That is probably the best performance of a Beethoven symphony or any symphony conducted ever by any conductor. This reading by Solti remains the second best if just for the breadth of the spacious and heavenly playing of the Adagio. Its overripe presentation may have been a bit too much for many people but it just works so juicily well for me. The tempi are broad and solid with a stress on the double basses and the timpani. The timpani was also Furtwangler's forte. This is a mighty lofty effort by Solti.

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