The 25 Essential Beethoven Recordings: Symphony No. 1

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Every day this month, except for Sundays and Thanksgiving, we'll unveil a new installment on an ongoing survey of the 25 essential Beethoven recordings. We invite you to discuss our choices and share your own favorites recordings in the comments box below.

We begin with one of Beethoven's most unsung symphonies, the Symphony No. 1 in C Major, Op. 25, a quintessentially Classical piece premiered when the composer was 29 years old.

Conductor Herbert Blomstedt recorded Beethoven's symphonies when he was the music director of the Dresden Staatskapelle in the late 1970s and early 80s. It is impossible to listen to this East German orchestra without a keen sense of its distinguished history, one that goes back to 1584, and includes having such resident conductors as Weber and Wagner.

Blomstedt's interpretative approach is clear and precise. The strings have a transparent sheen and the winds play with a notable intensity. This recording was made in Dresden's Lucaskirche and the church's acoustics provide a halo around the ensemble but never give way to muddiness. The album has been reissued in a pairing with the Third Symphony, on Berlin Classics.

Symphonies No. 1 and 3
Dresden Staatskapelle
Herbert Blomstedt, conductor
Berlin Classics

Available at Arkivmusic.com