When the Eighth Symphony was first performed in 1814, it was not accorded
the same tumultuous reception as the Seventh. Beethoven was not pleased
because he considered it the superior of the two. This is a short and
concise work, replete with gaiety and little musical jokes. The second
movement, in fact, is a witty imitation of the ticking of the newly
invented metronome. For the third movement, Beethoven returns to the
classical minuet of the 18th century. This recording is part of Bernstein's
complete cycle of Beethoven symphonies recorded with the Vienna
Philharmonic Orchestra live in Vienna. The series won the Ace Award, the U.
Cable TV Association's top award for outstanding quality and entertainment
value. Bernstein's impassioned renderings of Beethoven move audiences in a
unique way. "Beethoven has always meant universality to me, ever since my
early adolescence, when I first heard that unforgettable cry of 'Brüder!'.
From that moment on, every... symphony came to mean heart-to-heart
communication, travelling satellite-fashion via the cosmos itself. I offer
[this cycle] to all music-loving ears as a testament of faith and of my
most profound reactions to this greatest of all composers."
(Leonard Bernstein, 1980)