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BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 1 in C (Dec. 21,1951). Symphony No. 2 in D ( Nov. 7, 1949 / Oct. 5, 1951). Symphony No. 3 in E flat Eroica (Nov. 28, 1949 / Dec. 5, 1949). Symphony No. 4 in B flat, Op. 60 (Feb.3, 1951).
NBC Symphony Orchestra / Arturo Toscanini, cond.
PRISTINE AUDIO PASC 597 (2 disks) TT: 70:47 / 58:43
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BEETHOVEN: Symphony No 5 in C minor, Op 67 (Mar. 22, 1952). Symhony No. 6 in F, Op. 68 Pastorale (Jan. 14, 1952). Symphony No. 7 in A, Op. 92 (Nov. 9, 1951 & Nov. 10, 1951). Symphony No. 8 in F, Op. 93 (Nov. 10, 1952). Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125 Choral (TV broadcast April 3, 1948)
NBC Symphony Orchestra / Arturo Toscanini, cond.
PRISTINE AUDIO PASC 598 (2 disks) TT: 70:47 / 58:43
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BEETHOVEN: Stymphony No. 9 in D minor, Oo. 125
Ann McKnight, soprano. Jane Hobson, contralto. Irwin Dillon, tenor. Norman Scott, baritone. Collegiate Chorale. NBC Suymphony Orchestra / Arturo Toscanini, cond. ( April 3, 1948).
PRISTINE AUDIO PASC 600 TT: 73:02
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BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 6 in F, Op. 68 Pastorale ( Dec. 1951 & May 1952). Symphony No. 8 in F Op. 93 (Nov. 1951). Symphony No. 2 in D, Op. 36 (May 1957). Symphony No 7 in A, Op. 92 (April / July1959).
PRISTINE AUIO PASC 593 (2 disks) TT: 68:05 / 67:57
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BEETHOVEN: Quartet No. 1 in F, Op. 18 No. 1. Quartet No. 2 in G Op. 18 No. 2. Quartet No, 3 in D, Op. 18 No 3. Quartet No, 4 in C minor, Op. 18 No. 4. Qurteta No. 5 in A Op. 18 No. 5. Quartet No, 6 in B flat, Op. 18 No. 6
Léner Quartet
PRISTINE AUDIO PACM106 (2 disks) TT: 2 hr. 18:28
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Pristine Audio has provided a majo rservice for record collectors by issuig nundreds of legendarty performances, all remastered and sounding better than ever. Beethoven's music is particularly well represented. Already they have issued numerous reordings by major artists of the past incuding Artur Schnabel's famous recoring of the pian sonatas. The symphonies also are well represented, with numerous major conductors recording some of them. Of particular interest are the complete sets of nine with major conuctors: Wilhelm Furtwängler, Otto Klemperer, and Willem Mengelberg. Now we have these new issues of live Carnegie Hall or studio reordings by Arturo Toscanini recorded 1948 - 1952. Pristine already has issued several performances of Sytmphony No. 9: The erliest is a 1941 Colon performance with soloists Hellwig / Kinderman / Maison / Kipnis (PASC152). There is a 1952 performance with the NBC Sytmphony (Farrell / Merriman / Peerce / Scott) (PASC120), and a 1956 performance with the New York Philharmonic (Tebaldi, Bampton, Kullman, Pinza)( PASC117). The new releases were recorded on dates listed above, and original sound quality varied. The original RCA release of Sytmphony No. 9 is heard here with the soundtrack from the television broadcast, superior to the one originally issued on disk by RCA. These new versions surely represent the best one could expect from these early brocasts. Many years ago early in huis career Charles Gerhardt was working for RCA, before he became a legend in the reord industry with his countless recordings including the Classic Film Score Series . At that time he often worked with Toscanini in his home in Riverdale playing test recordings for him of the Maestro's RCA recordings. Once Toscanini mentioned to him he was disappointed that his recording of Grofes Grand Canyon Suite sold more copies than his Beethoven symphonies. I think the Maestro would have been very peased with these new Pristine reissues.

Sir Thomas Beecham made four commercial recordings of Beethoven symphonies. Pristine already has issued the 1947 recording of the composer;s Piano Concerto No. 4 with Arthur Rubinstein (REVIEW). This new set includes all four symphonies. Earliest are Symphonies 6 and 8, mono recordings here presented in XR remastered ambient stereo , which greatly enhances the original audio. Symphonies 2 and 7 were among EMI's earliest stereo rewordings with a splendid well-balanced sound, here also enhanced by the Pristine team, with splendid results. There of Beecham's live recordings of Symphony No. 2 (1959 ), Symphony No. 7 (1957 ) and Symphony No. 9 (1956 ) also are available.

The Léner Quartet consised of players originally members of the Budapest Philharmonic. All were Hungarian: Jeno Lérner and Josef Smilovitz, violins, Sándor Roth, viola, and cellist Imre Hartman. Their historic career began in 1919, and soon they were recognized as the leading string quartet of their time. They continued to perform until the early 1940s but to diminished success as personnel - and quality - had changed. They were highly acclaimed during their first decade and made many recordings including the first complete recording of the Beethoven quartets. Here we have the first six of the Op. 18 quartets, recordings made 1926 - 1936 in London. Mark Obert-Thorn has worked miracles with these old recordings. Chamber music enthusiasts surely will wish t investigate this important issue. We look forward to future releases in this series.

R.E.B. (June 2020)