23 Apr 2010

Willem Mengelberg / Amsterdam Concertgebouw - Beethoven. The Symphonies - AVRO / Telefunken 1937-1940

Symphony  no.1 in C major, op.21      I: Adagio molto - Allegro con brio  ~  II: Andante cantabile con moto  ~  
III: Menuetto (Allegro molto e vivace)  ~  IV: Finale (Adagio - Allegro molto e vivace)  
14 April 1940
Symphony  no.2 in D major, op.36      I: Adagio molto - Allegro con brio  ~  II: Larghetto  ~  III: Scherzo (Allegro)  ~  IV: Allegro molto
21 April 1940
Overture, "Fidelio", op.72c    28 April 1940
Symphony  no.3 in E flat major, op.55  "Eroica"   (Telefunken  SK 3117-22) ..not 'Live'...
I: Allegro con brio  ~  II: Marcia funebre (Adagio assai)  ~  III: Scherzo (Allegro vivace)  ~ IV: Finale (Allegro molto)  
11 November 1940         4 files zip FLAC  Mega Download

Symphony  no.4 in B flat major, op.60    I: Adagio -Allegro vivace  ~ II: Adagio  ~  III: Allegro vivace  ~ IV: Allegro ma non troppo
25 April 1940
Symphony  no.5 in C minor, op.67      I: Allegro con brio  ~  II: Andante con moto  ~  III: Allegro  IV: Allegro
18 April 1940  
Symphony  no.6 in F major, op.68  "Pastoral"     I: Allegro ma non troppo  ~  II: Andante molto mosso  ~  III: Allegro  ~  IV: Allegretto
21 April 1940                 3 files zip FLAC  Mega Download

Symphony  no.7 in A major, op.92    I: Poco sostenuto - Vivace  ~  II: Allegretto  ~  III: Presto - Assai meno presto  IV: Allegro con brio
25 April 1940 
Symphony  no.8 in F major, op.93   I: Allegro vivace e con brio  ~  II: Allegretto scherzando  ~  III: Tempo di menuetto  ~  IV: Allegro vivace    
18 April 1940
Symphony  no.9 in D minor, op.125  "Choral"   
I: Allegro ma non troppo, un poco maestoso  ~ II: Molto vivace  ~  III: Adagio molto e cantabile  ~  IV: Presto - Allegro assai
To van der Sluys (Soprano)  -  Suze Luger (Contralto)  -  Louis van Tulder (Tenor)  -  Willem Ravelli  (Bass)   
Toonkunstkoor, Amsterdam  -  Koninkliijke Oratorium-Vereniging
2 May 1940                     4 files zip FLAC   Mega Download  
Philips  6767 003  (8 LP box-set)  Issued 1977  'Live Concert Performances' from the Concertgebouw - 'AVRO', Hilversum recordings.  
...extensively edited to remove many of the 'click/ticks', and repair numerous other defects originating from the 'AVRO' Acetates...  
Symphony 3 treble re-equalized by circa <+4dB due to a dull 78-to-LP transfer.

Symphony no.5 in C minor, op.67    (Telefunken  SK 2210~13)    Recorded: 4 May 1937
Symphony no.8 in F major, op.93   (Telefunken  SK 2670~72)    Recorded: 9 November 1938
Telefunken / King Records  K17C-9507  (Japan)  Limited-edition 1985 reissue - c.1972 transfers           2 files zip FLAC  Mega Download
(Treble re-equalised due to slightly dull sound, as the above 'Eroica' )  


  1. I have a question. Tchaikovsky made numerous concert tours in the old German Empire during 1880-1895. I wonder, could the young Mengelberg see him conducting? Any idea will be welcome.
    Thank you for the promising Beethoven cicle.

  2. That needs a bit of researching! Mengelberg was music director at Lucerne, Switzerland until about 1895 -for some 4years...so would've needed to have been, presumably, a teenager to see Tchaikovsky conducting. The transfer of the Beethoven cycle isn't exactly easy - as, eg, no.8 (on the other side of no.1) is very full of 'clicks'.. The performances are, in the main, quite remarkable - as is the sound (I'm curious as to what Pickup was used to transfer the 78 acetates..)

  3. When I was listening to this recording I could not help thinking of the fact that the Netherlands would be occupied by the Nazis in the following month. The players and audience must have been under great stress - maybe listening to this helped.
    The sound is much better than I was expecting - thanks for an excellent transfer. The main quirk in the performance that I noticed was an exaggerated slowing down at various points. You would not hear that in a modern performance. I am looking forward to the rest of this cycle - it should be very interesting.

  4. Hello Stephen. Welcome to my quiet/neglected-corner. Mengelberg certainly exaggerated - both fast and slow - but tremendously exciting performances - Symphony no.2 is great. There is a 'dispute' over the dates - I'm quoting those in the Philips booklet. It will take a little time to complete the cycle - next will be 4 & 5 (circa early May). Whilst the pressings are immaculate the dubbings contained many clicks and bodged edits/repairs...so it takes more time to bring to a similar standard to other LP's.

  5. Hi Frank,

    This is such a valuable addition to your blog, or any blog for that matter. I think everyone needs to hear these performances, interpretive and sonic warts and all. No question that the the CGO was the premier European orchestra of its time and that Mengelberg was the most charismatic and willful of conductors. What a combination the two! Again, most, most valuable service; I'm sure that you will improve upon what has come before you, whether on vinyl or cd.


  6. Hello Fred. I wouldn't claim these as being anything more than honest transfers - with most of the 'glitches' removed/ameliorated. After these beautifully mastered 1977 LPs, subsequent efforts may have been made to 'smooth over' various defects (have the Japanese LP of the Telefunken 5/8 - which is rather 'filtered'). Yes - this must've been the finest ensemble at the time - Mengelberg behaves more like a Circus Lion-Tamer - getting the utmost precision from them. Even though there are various 'competing' editions I did want to include this set; one of a bare handful of LP issues bought from eBay subsequent to my ceasing collecting LPs some decade ago, as I always considered it a 'must have' - having heard a few performances when the set was issued - but it was a 'way too expensive' box for such old material at that time - and was anyway quickly deleted..

  7. I can't open any of these files....what's happening this time ???
    centuri (a very big fan of your blog....)

  8. Thank you! I have always wanted to hear this 8 LP set.


  9. Hello, Nick.
    Just to suggest you try using Clickrepair, which does a wonderful job at removing unwanted noises (the manual removal is left for the very few it misses or does not reduce enough), without altering at all the "wanted" sound.
    You can try it free. After that I bought it happily...
    (Even Maready, with his perverse love for clicks and pops uses it!!!)

  10. Mengelberg was a great conductor.

    Thank you for posting these terrific live recordings. The C major Symphony is outstanding. As far as I know, Mengelberg also conducted the 3rd Symphony, Op. 55, the same day (14 April,1940). I heard a transfer, the interpretation is great, though the sources were not optimal.

    Concerning the Tchaikovsky/Mengelberg question. I can not answer it, but I know Rachmaninov's account of Tchaikovsky's conducting: R. thought is was a disaster.

    Tchaikovsky heard the young Gustav Mahler and praised him as a terrific conductor.

  11. Thank you for the Sixth!

  12. Thank you for all of these!

  13. Bravo Mengelberg! Bravo the Music Parlour!

    These performances are in the class of their own. Imagine that they were recorded live, sometimes during the same concert, as with Symphonies Nos. 4 & 7.

    I am not sure that the Eroica from November 11, 1940 is a concert performance: there is no audience noise and no applause.

    More Mengelberg, please! He
    was a terrific Brahms and Schubert conductor too.

  14. The Telefunken 'Eroica', whilst also recorded in the Concertgebouw, is a 'studio' recording - as with previous Telefunken/Mengelberg's. Have some other Mengelberg - on 78 - but HMV shellac is pretty dreadful (ie, NYPSO 'Heldenleben' as well as the 'Eroica', in pre-war albums) & only a few Columbia/COA 78 sets.

  15. The Link of the Third doesn't work. Please repair! However they are a wonderful uploading! Thank you for all of these!

  16. Hello. The 'Eroica' link Does work (lots of downloads - so may well upload the Telefunken 5/8) but, sometimes, with Megaupload you get a 'temporarily unavailable' message. I always check them - so am aware of this 'intermittent problem' - but do appreciate any reports so that I can re-upload, if necessary.

  17. Thank you for the rapid reply! I wasn’t able to download it. I got a message: “the source file is illegible”. It is do you think of?

  18. Have just tested the Megaupload file via IE8 ('Regular' download - 45sec wait) with no problems. The FLAC also opens/plays OK...so, presumably, a problem @ your end...but have additionally now put the file onto Sendspace (which is rather slow/er to download).

  19. Sendspace was OK. It's was very kind of you! Thank you for your help!

  20. Thanks for finishing this project! Great job!

  21. Thanks again - Jerry

  22. does anyone know of mengelberg conducting brahms, schubert,, beethoven capitol telefunken p8078

    1. I don't think any of the Telefunken-Capitol/Mengelberg LPs were issued in the UK (by Decca).

      Apparently P8078 has 'amazing sound'...though these LPs were rather remarkable...

  23. Anonymous12 May, 2012

    thanks for this marvelous set..

  24. Just listening to Eroica and everything Mengelberg does differently works - very fresh rendition. No doubt he was a great conductor just on this account.

    Nice transfers, too. Even the hiss "faded to nonexistence" in less than a minute of listening.

    Thanks a lot!

  25. Muchas gracias!! Excelente grabacion!

  26. OUCH OUCH double OUCH, I just bought the Music and Arts downloads today for $45. THEN three hours later, I find this blog. OUCH and double OUCH. Will pay more attention in future to your wonderful body of work here. Thank you. OUCH.

    1. 'Lucky Mr M&A'..as I've never received a Red-Cent in over 5 years (and it costs me over =$600 p/a to retain net access..and @ $45/set this would have bought a nice Rolls-Bentley...