Beethoven – Symphonies Nos. 5 & 6
Riccardo Chailly, conductor
This charming album brings together two of Beethoven’s most popular symphonies, Nos. 5 and 6, and the overture Coriolan. Riccardo Chailly and one of the best orchestras of Europe, the Gewandhausorchester, achieve an outstanding result in the rendition of these wonderful masterpieces, which they perform with freshness and insight.
Riccardo Chailly Conducts Beethoven’s Symphonies Nos. 5 & 6 and Coriolan: an Overview
On the whole, this recording of the Symphonies Nos. 5 & 6 and of the Coriolan overture is remarkable for its inexhaustible vitality. As in other albums that Chailly dedicates to Beethoven’s music (as those of the other symphonies and the “Emperor” Concerto with Nelson Freire), this one too gives a strong impression because of its enthralling energy.
In the Coriolan overture, this energy has a heroic shade. What is noteworthy about this piece of music is the incisiveness and the precision with which Chailly highlights every musical phrase and the accuracy, even the meticulousness, with which the orchestra incessantly chisel its colours.
In the two symphonies, we find the same enthusiasm measured in different ways. In the First Symphony, the alternation between resilience, torment and patience is carefully represented as part of a general picture where the main feelings seem a stoic acceptance of the fate. Listen to the dark colours of the first movement and compare them with the quiet, light nuances of the second.
While the Symphony No. 5 is closer to Coriolan for its spirit, the Symphony No. 6 (or “Pastoral Symphony”) distinguishes itself for the plain, placid fluidity of its music. Definitely, Chailly and the Gewandhausorchester have made clear once and for all what the term “pastoral” implies. Here everything is delightful and light, both in shades and atmosphere. Overall, this symphony is, in the present recording, the most coherent in its outcome exactly because of the insistence on a single mood. Furthermore, the orchestral colours in this work are simply delightful, especially the woodwinds, with their high-spirited tone and brilliant charm.