TCHAIKOVSKY: Violin Concerto in D, Op. 35. Serenade mélancolique. BRUCH: Scottish Fantasy, Op. 46.
Arthur Grumiaux, violinist; New Philharmonia Orch/Heinz Wallberg/Jan Krenz (Tchaikovsky), cond.
PENTATONE PTC 5186 117 (ADD) TT: 71:35

HAYDN: Symphony No. 88 in G. Symphony No. 99 in E flat. BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 1 in C, Op. 26.
Royal Concertgebouw Orch (Haydn); BBC Symphony Orch (Beethoven); Sir Colin Davis, cond.
PENTATONE PTC 5186 126 (ADD) TT: 78:02

BEETHOVEN: Piano Trio No. 2 in E flat, Op. 1 No. 2. Piano Trio No. 5 in D, Op. 70, No. 1.
Storioni Trio
PENTATONE PTC 5186 071 (DDD) TT: 61:10

If you're interested in surround sound, get all three of these—at least the first two. They offer Philips four-channel recordings made in 1975 now released for the first time in their original format. Vittorio Negri produced these and he did a magnificent job in capturing glorious orchestral sound, perfectly balanced, with plenty of space around the performers. What is heard here is extraordinarily natural, the best seat in the house. Grumiaux's violin glistens in this environment, perfectly balanced with the orchestra. And the performances are outstanding in every way. Davis and the Concertgebouw recorded 17 of Haydn's symphonies beginning in 1975 and continuing through 1983, recognized as among the finest recordings of these works—it great to have at least two of them in their original format, and let us hope more will follow although it is unlikely the later recordings were done in quad. Pentatone already has issued the Davis/BBC SO quad recording of Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 (REVIEW); let us hope more will follow, although the label also has another splendid surround recording of all of Beethoven's symphonies, with Kurt Masur and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra (REVIEW).

The Storioni Trio gets its name from the instrument played by Wouter Vossen, a violin from Cremona dating from 1794. The cello, played by Marc Vossen, is an even older instrument, dating from 1700. These fine performances were recorded in a Philips studio in Eindhoven September, 2004, produced by Wilhelm Hellweg, engineered by Jean-Marie Geijsen. Performers are in front, and the rich sounds of the trio have been captured with uncommon clarity, yet with space around them. The only minus point is that playing time is rather slight (61:10); another trio easily could have been included.

R.E.B.(July 2005)