BERLIOZ: Requiem, Op 5.
BARBER: Violin Concerto. HONEGGER: Symphony No. 4 "Deliciae
Basiliensis". SIBELIUS: Symphony No. 7 in C. Op. 105.
BRAHMS: Symphony No. 2 in D, Op 73. Symphony No. 4 in E minor, Op. 98.
BRAHNS: Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 68. Variations on a Theme by
Haydn, Op. 56.
Sir Thomas Beecham always has been identified with music of Berlioz, and has made a number of memorable recordings. One work he did not record commercially is the mighty Requiem, Op. 5. H gave two live performances of the work in England, the first in Royal Festival Hall in 1958, the second took place December 13, 1959 in Royal Albert Hall, a venue far better suited for the massive forces involved. Richard Lewis was the ideal tenor soloist with the augmented Royal Philharmonic Chorus and Orchestra. This is an impassioned performance and it has been captured very successfully by the BBC technicians. ¹his was the same year Horenstein gave his definitive performance of Mahler's Symphony No. 8 which was recorded in excellent stereo and is available on Pristine (REVIEW). The audio on this Berlioz recording is remarkably clear and detailed. This performance has been issued previously on BBC Legends, but it sounds better than ever in this superb XR remastering by Andrew Rose. This disk is essential in any Berlioz collection
Here is another of those "illegal" Boston Symphony recordings made privately using a microphone in a heating vent in Symphony Hall, audio transferred to high quality disks. First we hear the [remiere performance of the 1948 revised version of Barber's Violin Concerto. This is from a concert January 7, 1949. The superb soloist is Ruth Posselt, concert violinist married to Richard Burgin, Assistant Conductor of the BSO. Then we have music of Honegger, a composer usually not associated with Koussevitzky. From a concert April 1, 1940 we hear the Symphony No. 4 Deliciae Basilliensis. The program ends with a favorite of the conductor, Symphony No.7 of Sibelius, from a concert December 17, 1948. Fascinating performances all, and audio, as remastered by Andrew Rose, is remarkably well-balanced and satisfying.
In his CD notes Mark Obert-Thorn gives details of the convoluted history of Leopold Stokowski s first recordings of Symphonies 2 and 4 of Brahms. The original version of Symphony No. 2 made in 1929 didn't satisfy Stokowski and they remade the second side of the second movement. However, even Stokowski didn't know just where in the sore to begin the remake, and began recording at the wrong spot—12 bars late. And the recording was issued that way! When they realized their mistake, they inserted an earlier take of the music and re-released Symphony No. 2. Symphony No 4 was recorded twice. The first, made in 1931 in Camden studios with a reduced orchestra, was issued on 14 10-inch 78s. Two years later the symphony was recorded again, and this is the version heard on this CD. The main problem on both symphonies was audio; Mark Obert-Thorn has worked wonders in restoring the primitive original sound. ¹his is a disk for those who want to have a complete Stokowski collection . The conductor i in 1977 made another recording of Symphony No. 2 , and two additional recordings of Symphony N. 4, in 1940 and 1974. The superior audio on these surely gives listeners a more accurate representation of Stokowski's interpretations.
Wilhelm Furtwängler made many rewordings of music of Brahms, many with the Berlin Philharmonic Vienna Philharmonic Orchestras. His interpretation of Symphony No. 1 is famous, and even with lesser orchestras he made this music a monumental listening experience. This magnificent performance was recorded October 27, 1941 with the Hamburg Radio Orchestra . Under the conductor's inspired leadership, the orchestra plays superbly. Also included we have the Haydn Variations. These have been issued before but now thanks to Andrew Rose's technical expertise and XW ambient stereo reprocessing we can enjoy these performances outstanding performances in best possible sound. This audio picture is infinitely superior to what is heard on the recent Berlin Philharmonic multi-disk set of live Furtwängler radio broadcasts 1939 - 1945) (REVIEW).
R.E.B. (June 2019)