Firstly I’m puzzled by the cover of
this disc - why the bathing huts? Secondly,
the CD sleeve says that they are legendary
masterpieces and also legendary performers
BUT these are not Legendary performances!
The Greig piano concerto is an old fave
of mine which I try not to play too
often. I remember being transfixed by
Lipatti’s brave performance on LP many
years ago and the CD is readily available.
Sadly the version by Eric Morecambe
and ‘Mr Preview’ seems unavailable but
there are many fine versions by luminaries
like Stephen Kovacevich and Clifford
Curzon. If you don’t know the piece
don’t get this as your first. It’s not
bad but it lacks tension and despite
good playing the performance doesn’t
catch fire. All the notes are in place
and in the right order but there are
no thrills. Neeme Järvi conducts
competently but the Orchestra don’t
sound fully engaged.
The highlight is the
Two Nordic Melodies, especially
the second which would work well at
the "Last Night of Proms"
but I’m not sure how often I want to
In the Peer Gynt
suites Morning sounds perfunctory,
rather as if they’d played it too often.
My son called it "an honest reading".
I really like these works and Beecham’s
recording, now on GROC EMI 669662 is
a favourite. I really think you should
get this! The suites are played well
generally and the Gothenburg Symphony
Orchestra is clearly a fine band. In
the famous In the Hall of the Mountain
King I felt it all a bit plodding
at the beginning as it we were being
told "it’s goin’ to get faster"!
The climax is held back and there’s
no Beecham "let it rip".
This looked like a
good collection when I spotted it in
the sales rack a few weeks back but
it’s a mixed affair with only the "Two
Nordic Melodies" approaching top
class. I dare say it will suffice as
background but it lacks magic!
And no, I still don’t
know why the beach huts are there!
David R Dunsmore
See also review
by Stephen Francis Vasta