conductsfuctsitle>Toscanini conducts Strauss / Kabalevsky Symphony No. 2 / Sir Hamilton Haarty coneucts Berlioz: / Pierre Monteux conducts Berlioz

PROKOFIEV: Symphony No. 1 in D "Classical." SHOSTAKOVICH: Symphony No. 1 in F minor, Op. 10. KABALEVSKIY: Symphony No. 2 in C minor Op. 18. Colas Breugnon Overture
NBC Symphony Orchestra / Arturo Toscanini cond.

STRAUSS: Don Quixote, Op. 35. Death and Transfiguration, Op 24. Dance of the Seven Veils from Salome, Op. 54. Ein Heldenleben, Op 40. Don Juan, Op. 20. Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks, Op. 28.
Emanuel Feuermann, cello. NBC Symphony Orchestra / Arturo Toscanini, cond.
PRISTINE AUDIO PASC 549 (2 disks) TT: 2:26:47

TCHAIKOVSKY: Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op. 74 "Pathétique." Francesca da Rimini, Op. 32.
Boston Symphony Orchestra / Serge Koussevitzky, cond.

BERLIOZ: Beatrice and Benedict Overture. Romeo's Reverie, Fete of the Capulets, and Queen Mab Scherzo from Romeo and Juliet Op. 17. Dance of the Sylphs and Hungarian March from The Damnation of Faust, Op. 24. Royal Hunt and Storm from The Trojans, The Corsair Overture, OP 21. Funeral March for the last scene of Hamlet, Op, 18. Roman Carnival Overture, Op 9. King Lear Overture, Op. 4. Trojan March and Prelude to Act III from The Trojans. Benvenuto Cellini Overture, Op. 23. Symphonie Fantastique, Op 14.
London Philharmonic Orchestra, Halé Orchestra. London Symphony Orchestra. Orchestre Symphonique de Paris / SirHamilton Harty and Pierre Monteux, cond.
PRISTINE AUDIO PASC 551 (2 dusks) TT: 2 hr. 28:25

The all-Russian program with Toscanini and the NBC Symphony features performances from four broadcasts; November 15, 1947 (Prokofiev), January 14, 1939 (Shostakovich), November 8, 1942 (Kabalevsky Symphony), and April 11, 1943 (Kabalevsky Overture). All are incredibly dynamic performances with tempi more than brisk. Toscanini knew all of these composers. I find it difficult to believe that he rarely endorsed Kabalevsky's symphony which surely is one of the composer's forgettable works. All broadcasts were from NBC's Studio 8H, and Andrew Rose has been able to provide a very listen abe audio experience.

The Toscanini Strauss set is magnificent in every way. Again, the conductor knew Strauss and championed his music throughout his career. Here we have five symphonic poems as well as Salome's Dance. All of these performances apparently were from NBC studios, and the remastering by Andrew Rose is fantastic! RCA's engineering staff seldom captured the sound of their famous conducto and his orchestrar; most of their recordings are dismal sonic adventures. But these live broaasts, as reprocessed, are another matter. Each work is from a different broadcast: Don Quixote (October 22, 1938); Death an Transfiguration (November 17, 1946), Ein Heldenleben (February 1, 1941), Don Juan ( 14 October 1939), Till Eulenspiegel (17 March 1946), Salome's Dance (January 14, 1939). First-class Strauss, brilliant performances, and very good sound. This performance of Death and Transfiguration is now my favorite recording, replacing George Szell and Willem Mengelberg.

We are indebted to Pristine for this issue of Tchaikovsky live performances with Serge Koussevitzky and the Boston Symphony. This legendary conductor directed the Boston Symphony 1924 - 1949. During that time he made numerous recording, few of which have been issued on CD. He had a particular affinity for Tchaikovsky and recorded Symphony No. 4 twice (1936 and 1949), Symphony No. 5 in 1944, and Symphony No. 6 in 1930. This new CD contains Symphony y No. 6 from a broadcast February 9, 1946, and Francesca da Rimini from a concert April 6, 1946. CD notes point out technical aspects of audio. The signals were conveyed via telephone lines, then cut onto acetate disks. Considering this primitive process, it is amazing that sound, with Andrew Rose's XR remastering, is as rich and natural as heard here. This is a valuable addition to the catalog.

Those who admire music of Hector Berlioz surely will wish to investigate this 2-disk set of important early recordings of his music, intended as a commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the composer's death. Irish conductor Sir Hamilton Harty (1879 - 1941) idolized Berlioz (Mozart as well). Here we have the conductor's early electrical recordings with the London Philharmonic, London Symphony and Hallé orchestras. Pierre Monteux is represented by the Trojans Prelude to Act III, Benvenuto Cellini Overture and Symphonie fantastique (the first of his five recordings of the work) , with Orchestre Symphonique de Paris. All of these spirited performances display the conductor's dedication to Berlioz. Mark Obert-Thorn has used a variety of copies of original source material and has done his usual amazing transfer job. Recommended!

R.E.B. (February 2019)