A high density DSD recording, live at the Barbican Centre on 16-27 November 2005
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“For anyone who wants first-rate stereo sound and a broadly traditional reading, it is hard to imagine more profoundly satisfying accounts than these. The playing of the LSO is nowadays quite magnificent, and they are fully justified in releasing their public performances.”
“Very appealing, this – the punchy, neatly packed sound; the way the timps thwack away at the right-hand side of the stage, the antiphonally placed fiddles busying to and fro, Haitink's unmannered, high-energy but essentially nonaggressive approach to both symphonies. The first thing that strikes you about the Pastoral is its sensitive shaping. The second is the lively pacing, but never breathless or unduly hurried. The 'Scene by the brook' ebbs and flows at roughly the prescribed speed and yet the LSO's playing, ever warm-hearted, never adopts 'period' affectations: it's as if the laudable old guard has had a wash, a brush-up and a slight change of heart regarding tempo and articulation. The 'Peasants' Merrymaking' enjoys something of Toscanini's bacchanalian drive, the storm a measure of his dynamism. The Second Symphony is formal but fun. The opening Adagio molto is pretty powerful, the principal allegro light on its feet but rock-steady and with an imposing and firmly held bass-line. Again, Haitink keeps the slow movement on the move without sacrificing gravitas. Both readings are profoundly satisfying, the work of musicians who know the scores backwards, love playing them and know what not to do. To say that they provide a new benchmark would be crass; but Haitink and the LSO seem set to provide one of the top Beethoven symphony cycles of the digital era.”
“...an interpretation from Haitink that looked beyond the Second's springy geniality and incorporated what brief elements of darkness he could find as a counterweight”
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