Günter Wand

Beethoven: Symphony No. 3 "Eroica"; Symphony No. 8

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Not one of the greatest recordings of Beethoven's Symphony in E flat major ever made, not as searing as Furtwängler or as mercurial asMengelberg or as furious as Toscanini or as monumental as Klemperer or as sleek as Szell or as commanding as Böhm, Günter Wand and the NDR Sinfonieorchester's 1987 recording was still one of the better recordings of its time. Of course, its time was filled with crummy recordings by the mediocre Maazel and the boring Ozawa and the vapid Muti and the stodgy Sawallisch and the dreary Masur, so it's not like there was a lot of competition out there. Still, Wand was a more than competent conductor, he knew the work inside out and sideways and, better yet, he loved the work and knew how to get the best out of his orchestra, all qualities lacking in most of his contemporary competition. And if Wand's recording is not in the same class as the greatest recording of the Symphony in E flat, it is still worth hearing. His approach is light and driven, but not lacking in weight and strength, and his forms are well shaped and his logic is inescapable, if ultimately not especially compelling. RCA's remastered sound lacks weight and depth.

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