GLAZUNOV: From the Middle Ages Suite, Op. 79. DUBENSKY: Fugue
for 18 Violins. Stephen Foster - Theme, Variations nd Finale.
CESANA: Negro Heaven. GERSHWIN-BENNETT: Symphonic Picture
of Porgy and Bess.
TCHAIKOVSKY: Manfred Symphony, Op.58. Waltz from Eugene
Baba Yaga, Op. 56. RIMSKY-KORSAKOV: Dubinushka, Op.
69. GLINKA: Russlan
and Ludmilla Overture.
GUIDO CANTELLI - New York Phiharmoniuc broadcasts, Volume II
The Indianapolis Symphony, founded in 1930, is Indiana's major cultural institution. In its early years they made a number of recordings with then music director Fabien Sevitsky. In following years, other conductors included Izler Solomon, John Nelson, and Raymond Leppard. Since 2011, Krzysztof Urbanski is Music Director. The orchestra has made few commercial recordings; this site praised a recent Naxos world premiere recoding of Mohammed Farouz's Zabur (REVIEW)
Pristine is now issuing early recordings of the Indianapolis Symphony. Russian conductor Fabien Sevitzky (b. 1891) is forgotten today although he was highly respected early in the 20th century. Appointed music director of the Indianapolis Symphony in 1937, he held that position until 1955. He was a nephew of Serge Koussevitzky of Boston Symphony fame, who requested that he shorten his name to Sevitzky to avoid confusion. He played double bass in the Philadelphia Orchestra and organized the Philadelphia Chamber String Sinfonietta which made a number of RCA recordings all of which have been issued on Pristine PASC 375. Through the restoration efforts of Mark Obert-Thorn, Pristine will be issuing all of Sevitzky's Indianapolis recordings. Here they offer works of Glinka (Russlan and Ludmilla Overture), Rimsky-Korsakov (Dubinushka), Liadov (Baba Yaga), and Tchaikovsky (Waltz from Eugene Onegin / Manfred Symphony).
Manfred, recorded in 1942, was the first complete recording of the work. It is a strong performance with some tempi that seem unusually slow; producer Mark Obert-Thorn describes this in detail in the program notes, also the odd use of a snare drum instead of a tambourine in the final movement. The Orchestra is in fine shape in all of this music, and the sound surprisingly good for its time. For those who love Manfred, as I do, this is a major release.
The second disk is a rather odd compilation of recordings made 1941 - 1934. The Glazunov is of interest as Sevitzky studied with the composer many years earlier. The two Dubensky works are of limited musical interest, and Negro Heaven by Cesana is a forgettable group of dances. The symphonic suite from Porgy and Bess was made by Robert Russell Bennett, commissioned by Fritz Reiner. This new Pristine series is an intriguing glimpse into the American orchersral scene of the time.
Pristine continues their series of quality reissues of live recordings by Guido Cantelli. This site praised their recent issue of two Carnegie Hall New York Philharmonic concerts, March 6 and 13, 1955, both featuring major pianists: Walter Gieseking (Mozart Concerto No. 21), and Rudolf Firkusny (Beethoven Concerto No. 3 .(REVIEW). Titans of the keyboard also are featured on these two broadcasts, Wilhelm Backhaus playing Beethoven's Concerto No. 4 (March 18, 1956)) and Walter Gieseking, Beethoven Concerto No. 5 (March 25, 1956). CD notes quote extensively comments by Keith Bennett from his book Guido Cantelli: Jusr Eight Years of Fame: These tell of Cantelli's unhappiness about the NYP's negative reaction to him, so much so that he was considering canceling future engagements. Judging from what is heard on the two concerts, one would never suspect discontent from the quality of these vivid performances which include a seldom presented Creston overture and a blazing reading of Strauss's Don Juan. Andrew Rose has included most of Jim Fassett's announcements, and the XR restoration is excellent. A quality and important issue.
R.E.B. (September 2017)