Erich Leinsdorf / Boston Symphony Orchestra

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Intense and driven, Leinsdorf’s interpretation of Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony gives us a fresh reading of this familiar music. With insightful performances featuring a flexible and brilliant Boston Symphony Orchestra, all three works are new to Leinsdorf’s discography. The ICA Classics Legacy series represents an historic account of performances by some of the world’s greatest artists. This DVD features some of the earliest televised concerts with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and their Music Director, Erich Leinsdorf. While the material has been restored using the greatest care and state-of-the-art techniques, certain visual artefacts and distortions remain in some instances due to the age of the film. Despite this, it remains of exceptional musical interest and historic value and is released here for the first time on DVD.

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Throughout his career, Leinsdorf’s skill, reliability, efficiency and comprehensive repertoire kept him busy in the recording studio

Perhaps one reason why this performance is so remarkable is that Leinsdorf approaches the over-familiar music so freshly; he is not taking the old warhorse out for a comfortable trot. More to the point is Leinsdorf’s insight, his rigorous observance of the markings in the score, his disinclination to wallow in traditional but distended rubato, not to mention a degree of involvement and emotional intensity he is not often given credit for because he did not invariably display it. His years in the opera house have taught him about character and drama in music. Once again, his face is impassive, but his eyes are eloquent and at points even frightening.

Another important factor is the solidity, flexibility and brilliance of the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s playing, which the musicians seem to take for granted, even if Leinsdorf does not. All of the now-legendary principal players shine.


Ludwig van Beethoven, Egmont, Op. 84

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Symphony No. 5 in E Minor, Op. 64
1. Andante – Allegro con anima
2. Andante cantabile, con alcuna licenza
3. Valse. Allegro moderato
4. Finale. Andante maestoso – Allegro vivace

Directed by: David M. Davis & William Cosel
Venue: Sanders Theatre, Harvard University (Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA)
Production date: 2012
Recording date: 15/04/1969 (Beethoven), 15/01/1963 (Tchaikovsky)
Duration: 47 min
Production: © Boston Symphony Orchestra & WGBH Educational Foundation under exclusive licence to International Classical Artists Ltd

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