TCHAIKOVSKY: Romeo and Juliet FantaFantasy Overture. Symphony No. 4 in F minor, Op. 36. Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Op. 64. Symphony No. 5 in E miknor, Op. 64 (mvts. 2 and 3).
Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra / Willem Mengelberg, cond,
PRISTINE AUDIO PASC 511 (2 disks) TT: 2:08:06

DONIZETTI: Lucia di Lammermoor
Joan Sutherland (Lucia). Richard Tucker (Edgardo). Frank Guerra (Enrico). Nicola Moscona (Raimondo). Robert Nagy (Nermnno). Thelma Votipka (Alisa). Metropolitan Opera Chorus and Orchestr / Silvio Varviso, cond.
PRISTINE AUDIOO PACO 144 (2 disks) TT: 1:55:34

HAYDN: Sonata No. 62 in E flat. SCHUBERT: Impromptu in G, Op. 90 No. 3. SCRIABIN: Vers la flamme, Op. 72. Prelude in F sharp, Op. 32 No 1. Prelude in F sharp, Op. 42 No. 4. Etude in C sharp minor OP. 8 No. 12. KABALEVSKY: Sonata No. 3 in F, Op. 49. CHOPIN: Fantasie in F minor, Op. 49. Nocturne in E minor, Op. 72 No. 1. Impromptu No. 1 in A flat, Op. 29. Nocturne in F sharp, Op. 15 No. 2. Polonaise in A flat, Op. 42.
Vladimir Horowitz, piano

Pristine's catalog already includes major William Mengelberg recordings (in particular his live Beethoven series, Mahler 4, Ein Heldenleben, to mention only a few). Here is another major issue: all of the famed conductor's Columbia recordings of Tchaikovsky, superbly remastered by Mark Obert-Thorn. Performances are unique, often marked by portamento, always spectacularly played. Symphony No. 4 is given a reading of blazing intensity, and Romeo and Juliet is unlike any other. We have two movements of Symphony No. 5 recorded in 1927, one of the rarest Mengelberg recordings as it was issued only on French Columbia (one might wonder why only two movements were recorded). Also we have the later "complete" recording made in 1928, unusual in that there are two cuts in the finale ( Mengelberg claimed were authorized by the composer's brother Modest). Mengelberg adds a cymbal before the climax of the coda (Paul Van Kempen in his 1951 Phillips recording added two!). MOT's CD notes give detailed history of Mengelberg's Tchaikovsky recordings. This is a fascinating issue, highly recommended. All of these were issued previously on the Pearl label, reviewed on this site (REVIEW), but this new version surely is the one to have uilizing the latest technology to recreate original sound. Let us hope Pristine will issue more of Mengelberg's Telefunken recordings. And how about a remastering of those remarkable Van Kempen 1951 - 1952 Tchaikovsky recordings?. We can hope.

Pristine here offers another treasure from the Met archives, a magnificent performance of Lucia di Lammermoo, a broadcast December 9, 1961 with Dame Joan Sutherland at the height of her career. This is, indeed, a stunning performanc, near definitive. And the supporting cast is equally fine. It was a great day at the Met (seldom experienced in recent years!). Those who love bel canto opera surely should investigate this. Andrew Rose's remastering has improved sound heard on the Sony issue of this performance. A worthwhile issue recreating the Met at its best!

Pristine is expanding their Horowitz catalog with a series of live solo concert performances. This is Volumer I, a concert February 2, 1948 in Carnegie Hall recorded for Horowitz's own use. Andrew Rose has remastered original disks recreating the Horowitz sound very well, and this filled disk (79:52) contains the entire concert except for encores which are available as a download. Horowitz plays with great delicavcy in much of this music, but he pulls out all of the stoops for the A-flat Polonaise. This is a wild, impetuous, electrifying reading , and one wonders why the piano didn't disintegrate during it. Exciting, and remarkable, indeed.

R.E.B. (October 2017)