Beethoven
Coriolan Overture, Op.62
Symphony No.5 in C minor, Op.67
London Philharmonic Orchestra
Klaus Tennstedt

Coriolan recorded on 23 February 1992 in Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, London; Symphony No.5 on 30 August 1990 in Royal Albert Hall, London
CD No: LPO – 0087
Duration: 43 minutes
Reviewed: October 2015

A short-measure playing time should not be confused with, as here, inspiring musical nourishment. Klaus Tennstedt leads a Coriolan Overture that is weighty and dramatic, dynamic and detailed, emotionally burdened, with much lyrical consolation, and a wonderful sense of theatre when the music’s denouement is reached. Rightly, applause is removed.

Tennstedt (1926-98) became venerated during his time with the London Philharmonic, and it was apparent that his concert performances tended to be of a thrill that was not always replicated in the ‘red light’ of the recording studio, so the LPO’s now-copious catalogue of Tennstedt live is of importance.

Beethoven’s Fifth (from the 1990 Prom season, and previously available on BBC Legends) is particularly powerful and trenchant, never rushed or slick (as some so-thought ‘authentic’ accounts can seem to be): here is weight and sentiment moulded into a noble and incandescent interpretation of compelling quality.

It’s good to report that the ADD recorded sound relays the two venues faithfully and – even better – that the new re-mastering has been achieved with discretion (not always the case on this label) – well done Deborah Spanton for being dedicated to ‘true’ tones rather than obsessed with removing hiss. The LPO certainly fills the Royal Albert Hall – enough to wonder if brass and basses have been bolstered somewhat – but there is also the convincing suggestion that on the night Tennstedt was using the full resources of the LPO: this is ‘big’ Beethoven for a big venue. The Finale is given a majestic outing that heads transcendentally and triumphantly to a Proms-audience roar of appreciation.

 

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