Bruno Walter helped shape the very essence of interpretive style among conductors. Walter's rendition of Beethoven's sixth symphony is perhaps the greatest ever recorded — his reading of the score comes off sounding like a piece of literature or poetry, but that is a great thing and perfectly blends with the music to create a benchmark recording.
And here, once again, Analogue Productions has taken a classic and shaped it to make the premier reissue of this famed recording. Mastered by Ryan Smith at Sterling Sound from the original analog tapes, everything about this reissue radiates quality.
Written in 1808, Beethoven's Symphony No. 6 in F Major ("Pastoral"), Op. 68, is deemed one of the most influential by the famed composer. Unlike the vast majority of assumed names by which his works have become known, Beethoven directed from the very outset that his sixth symphony be titled "Pastoral Symphony," or a recollection of country life. It was a musical approach to the forces of nature that inspired Beethoven.
Walter's late life was marked by stereo recordings with the Columbia Symphony Orchestra, an ensemble of professional musicians assembled by Columbia Records for recordings.
Originally released in 1958, this recording still sounds fresh, with a broad soundstage, persuasive depth, and a remarkable sense of "air" and presence. Simply because of Walter's vibrant, fluid interpretation, taking into account both variable tempi and heightened accents, the result is one of the most passionate, awe-inspiring recorded versions of this symphony that's ever been recorded.
1. I. Allegro ma non troppo (The awakening of joyful feelings upon arrival in the country)
2. II. Andante molto moto (The Brook)
3. III. Allegro (Village Festival)
4. IV. Allegro (The Storm)
5. V. Allegretto (Shepherd's Song)