Konwitschny: Beethoven Symphony No. 6 "Pastorale" - Eterna 825 415
Jacket VG+ / LP EX / German pressing
This handsome LP from Eterna (825 415, German pressing, blue label – later issue, stereo) features Franz Konwitschny and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra’s magnificent account of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6 in F Major Op. 68 “Pastorale”.
Konwitschny was a highly regarded Wagnerian and Brucknerian, and his affinity for the music of Beethoven was no less distinctive, and shares many of the same musical virtues: lucid, beautifully balanced textures with a superb sense of architecture and grand design.
Had his set enjoyed the promotional dollars lavished on von Karajan’s contemporaneous DG effort, Konwitschny’s cycle might well have enjoyed a more lasting catalog life, rather than the more itinerant existence it has generally languished in. This cycle, originally made for Eterna during the years 1958-1961, has enjoyed some exposure during the CD era courtesy of Berlin Classics, though its considerable merits still remain too little known.
This dramatic account of the Sixth was recorded at the Bethanienkirche, Leipzig on 15 March 1960.
In surveying the complete cycle, the superb critic editor Rob Barnett wrote for MusicWeb-International.com:
"The main work is a Pastoral which is effortless without being facile. Leipzig's first oboe is sheer delight in the Allegro (track 4). The conductor's predilection in this work is clear - lovingly traced outlines and a graceful contentment are what speaks out most persuasively. This is heard to best effect in the first and last movements. The music is moved forward with firm conviction as if Konwitschny knew that he could not afford to dawdle overlong in this music.”
This is a large-scaled, yet vital performance, with the Leipzig players producing a rich and warmly burnished sonority, revealing the towering stature of both conductor and orchestra.
There are superb liner notes on the reverse side of the jacket by Harry Goldschmidt, printed in German, English and French. The cover art reproduces a detail from Michelangelo’s fresco “The Expulsion from the Garden of Eden”.
The gradations of condition I use are as follows: MINT, Near-Mint, Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor.
The condition of the jacket is VERY GOOD+. There is the slight shelfwear and aging, but that is all. There are no seamsplits, owners’ markings, or other defects and the album remains solid, bright, and attractive – overall, a very good collector's copy.
The condition of the LP itself is EXCELLENT. Though there is light surface noise throughout, in general the playback remains quite fine. However, those wanting a flawless or near-MINT copy are kindly advised to look elsewhere. Overall, this rates as an excellent collector's copy.