Even Bruno Walter, who in old age was a softer conductor than anyone before or since, didn't dare to swathe Haydn in romantic velvet. But Beethoven's Sym. 1 and 2 gave him that opportunity. These cross-over works from the world of Haydn can be successfully played as heroic precursors (by Klemperer, Karajan and Bernstein, for example), but Walter strives to make them sunny and carefree, and his approach works.
In their way, these symphonies are the ideal introduction to Walter's notions about Beethoven, but they aren't perfect. The slow movements in both works tend to dawdle, without a hint of the dance. He smothers the joke leading into the finale of Sym. 1 and fails to make the finale of Sym. 2 be as fleet as it should. Even so, the Columbia Sym. sounds quite good throughout, and the recording is among the best that the engineers managed during Walter's late years in Los Angeles. To lovers of Walter's relaxed style, this CD would deserve five stars.
Sym 1 & 2 / Coriolan Overture オリジナルレコーディングのリマスター, インポート