This set brings together Barbirolli’s commercial recordings of Beethoven with the Hallé Orchestra made between 1947 and 1959. An earlier Hallé recording of the Seventh Symphony was never completed – just six 78-sides were recorded for HMV in 1945. Barbirolli’s final recording of a Beethoven work was of the Eroica, with the BBC Symphony Orchestra in May 1967 (Barbirolli Society SJB1040).
Barbirolli’s ‘off-air’ Beethoven recordings include the Coriolan Overture and Symphony No. 4 (New York 1936-37 – SJB1038), a 1941 performance of the Fourth Piano Concerto with Joseph Hoffman and Symphony No.5 with the Hallé (BBC 1966 – BBCL4193).
Barbirolli studied, played and conducted the works of Beethoven throughout his long career. As a young pupil he studied, in his spare time, the scores of Beethoven symphonies and string quartets and also the works of Bach, Haydn and others. By the age of twelve he had played cello in all the Beethoven string quartets – ‘a liberal education in itself’, as he was to say later. His early musical upbringing was a classical one and later, in his teens and early twenties, this ‘classical education’ was to be enriched and extended by his participation in a great deal of chamber music as a cellist; as an orchestral musician; and in conducting his string and chamber orchestras. Perhaps, temperamentally, he belonged to the romantic tradition – his name will always be associated with composers such as Elgar, Vaughan Williams, Brahms, Mahler, Sibelius, Puccini and Verdi, whose works he interpreted so well and felt so deeply – but he also championed the works of Beethoven and conducted them frequently throughout and indeed to the very end of his life. www.barbirolli.co.uk
Click on any of the works listed above for alternative recordings.