The first ever performance of the entire Beethoven symphony cycle took place at the Leipzig Gewandhaus in 1825, so this sequence conducted by Riccardo Chailly has plenty of history at its back.
Perhaps it's that which has spurred him and the Gewandhausorchester to such remarkable efforts here. Certainly, they play as if possessed: Chailly has opted to stick faithfully to the composer's original tempos. The effect is revelatory: even old warhorses such as the 5th Symphony are transformed into galloping racehorses, in thoroughbred performances befitting the pedigree of the material, restoring a dash and brio to works whose revolutionary aspects can once again be clearly glimpsed.
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