Erich Leinsdorf conducts Beethoven and Tchaikovsky
Boston Symphony Orchestra, 1963-1969
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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.