Without my realising it, I haven't added any new posts to this series for a long long time -- almost 2 years.
Recordings of the versions for string orchestra of Beethoven's opus 131 are few and far between. However these two both show the strings section of the Vienna Philharmonic in its full glory. Bernstein's was dedicated to his wife, and as usual with his style, it seems that he tried to milk even the last drop of emotions from the score here. Previn is not a name one usually associates with great Beethoven recordings, but this one is an exception. Listening to them on a cold winter night, I feel positively blessed, with my heart filled with grandeur and warmth of an integrated wholeness.