Beethoven: Symphony No. 6 in F (Pastoral); Egmont Overture

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COMPOSERS: Beethoven
LABELS: Tring
WORKS: Symphony No. 6 in F (Pastoral); Egmont Overture
PERFORMER: RPO/Mark Ermler
CATALOGUE NO: TRP 001 DDD
Beethoven’s most amiable symphony is given a polished performance by the RPO, which also appends the Egmont Overture with a lively, dramatic flourish. The release is among the first of a new series of bargain-price discs that will feature the orchestra playing such familiar items as The Four Seasons, The Planets, Ravel’s Boléro, and so on.

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One could raise a few quibbles about this Pastoral – for me, the Andante is a step too leisurely, the overall sound a shade too lush – but basically this is a strong, assured version. Whether it’s necessary is a different question: there are, after all, several perfectly good mid- and bargain-price versions already on the market. This leads us to the wider question of whether we need yet another cut-price label specialising in the same limited repertoire of ‘mainstream’ classics that the plethora of existing cut-price labels already have well covered. Isn’t there a record company out there with the imagination to try something else? There are many lesser-known but intriguing composers – from CPE Bach to Charles Alkan to Elizabeth Maconchy – whose works music-lovers would surely be tempted to explore if offered at bargain prices. Graham Lock