£16 post free World-wide

 


555 sonatas 9Cds mp3 files
Only £22


 


Benjamin: Written on Skin £16

Search
What's New
Previous CDs
Concerts
Jazz
Nostalgia
Composers
Resources
Announce
Labels index


Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    



CD REVIEW

Some items
to consider


BRAHMS Complete Edition
58CD £95.22


Shostakovich 14 Petrenko


Rachmaninov #3
Prokofiev #2

 


Dunedin Consort

Peter Grimes

Hymn of Jesus: Sea Drift

Complete Mozart Edition
Mozart complete edition

Vaughan Williams Symphonies 5 & 8 £11

Weiner, Klepper, Bloch, Schulhoff £12 post free


Available again


alternatively Crotchet   AmazonUK   AmazonUS

Barbirolli: New York Philharmonic - Live Recordings 1937-1943
CD1
Cťsar FRANCK (1822-1890)
1. Symphony in D minor [37:23]
Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869)
2. Benvenuto Cellini Ė Overture [10:11]
Charles GRIFFES (1884-1920)
3. The White Peacock [5:54]
Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918)
4. Ibťria (Images) [19:11]
CD2
Mario CASTELNUOVO-TEDESCO (1895-1968)
5. King John Ė Overture [8:39]
Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)
6. Concerto for Violin, Cello and Orchestra in A minor, Op. 102 [29:57]
Arthur BENJAMIN (1893-1960)
7. Overture to an Italian Comedy [5:40]
Arcangelo CORELLI/John BARBIROLLI
8. Concerto Grosso [17:12]
Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911)
9. Symphony No. 5: Adagietto (incomplete) [4:46]
Albert Spalding (violin), Gaspar Cassadů (cello)
Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra of New York/Sir John Barbirolli
rec. 15 October 1939 (1); 30 October 1938 (2,3); 14 November 1937 (4); 15 March 1942 (5); 26 March 1939 (6); 20 April 1941 (7); 23 February 1943 (8); 17 December 1939 (9). Venue(s) not stated Ė Carnegie Hall, New York?
GUILD GHCD2330/31 [75:21 + 71:51]



In 1936 Arthur Judson, the legendary General Manager of the Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra of New York caused something of a sensation by offering a young, largely unknown British conductor a ten-week engagement. This would have been a daunting enough prospect under any circumstances but the fact that Judson wanted this young man to take the place of Toscanini, who had just acrimoniously resigned the orchestraís podium, made the challenge even greater. However, it was a challenge that John Barbirolli accepted and within a few weeks of his arrival in New York he had made such an impression that he was named the orchestraís permanent conductor, a post he held until 1943.
 
Barbirolli suffered a torrid time at the hands of some of the New York critics and a legend grew up that his time there had been a failure. Over time the record has been set straight, partly through the work of JBís biographer, Michael Kennedy. Mr Kennedy has made it abundantly clear that Barbirolli had enjoyed the respect and affection of the majority of the orchestra and of most of the New York public. In recent years a steady stream of recordings has been issued which further attests to the excellence of much of Barbirolliís work in New York and to the evident rapport between conductor and players. This well-filled set from Guild offers further proof of Barbirolliís New York achievements.
 
These are off-air recordings of broadcasts of live concerts. Presumably acetates are the source and it has to be said that the sound quality is variable. The recording of the Franck symphony is perhaps the most sonically compromised: thereís a good deal of surface noise, the sound crumbles and distorts at climaxes and the bass often booms. Yet, notwithstanding those qualifications, the quality of the music-making shines through. Anyone with an ear for fine playing or conducting will find the pluses far outweigh the sonic minuses.
 
The Franck Symphony is not a favourite of mine but I enjoyed this performance. Barbirolli conducts with zest and flair. He generates great tension in the slow introduction to the first movement; in his hands itís as brooding as Iíve heard it. Then, when the main allegro is reached (2:59), he makes the music turbulent and purposeful. In short, itís an impassioned reading. I also like the quite fleet tempo that he adopts for the slow movement, which prevents the music from becoming bogged down. The finale is one of the most bombastic symphonic movements I know but I welcomed Barbirolliís energy and sense of freedom. The New York audience clearly appreciated the performance and Iím not surprised.
 
In his very interesting notes Robert Matthew-Walker states that Barbirolli never recorded Ibťria commercially. Actually, Iím not sure thatís correct for in the discography in his first edition of his biography of JB - I havenít seen the revised edition - Kennedy lists a recording made with the New York orchestra on 7 February 1938. He even supplies Victor and HMV matrix numbers. However, Iím not aware that that recording has ever made it onto CD so this present collection still offers a precious opportunity to Barbirolli enthusiasts. Itís a colourful score and eminently suited to JB. He brings a fine snap to the rhythms of the first section, Par les rues et par les chemins and in the following Les parfums de la nuit he generates an atmosphere that beautifully combines sultriness and delicacy. In all of this heís aided by some very sensitive orchestral playing. The final movement is entitled Le matin díun jour de fÍte. At the start Barbirolli realises very successfully Debussyís depiction of the slow awakening of the day but then conveys all the vibrancy and gaiety of a town en fÍte. A most enjoyable performance.
 
The other substantial work in the anthology is Brahmsís Double Concerto. Here Barbirolli, always a good Brahms conductor, especially in his younger days, has the benefit of a fine pair of soloists. The American violinist, Albert Spalding (1888-1953) is well paired with the Spanish cellist and one-time Casals pupil, Gaspar Cassadů (1897-1966). These three fine musicians combine to give an account of the first movement thatís a judicious mixture of ardour and warm lyricism. In the second movement a welcome forward momentum is maintained but this never compromises the essential songfulness of the music. And the finale, in which Brahms is in unbuttoned mode, is nicely turned by all concerned.
 
The shorter items include a couple of rarities. The percussion is over-prominent at times in the Benjamin overture Ė a fault of the engineers, Iím certain Ė but despite crumbly sound Barbirolliís bright and breezy account of this engaging piece survives. I didnít know the Castelnuovo-Tedesco piece and I canít say that it impressed me greatly. However, Barbirolli plays it for all itís worth, most especially the soaring, romantic string tune that appears at 1:48. The Berlioz overture is done with real panache.
 
The last track of all is an intriguing and tantalising fragment. Later in his life Barbirolli became a distinguished Mahler conductor. At the time of his New York sojourn, however, he had done little Mahler and in his concert of 17 December 1939 he played not the complete Fifth symphony but rather the celebrated Adagietto in isolation. The beginning and end of the performance have not survived but even so thereís enough to hear to establish that, thirty years before his wonderful EMI recording, Barbirolli had a real feeling for this movement. He gets the New York strings to play with great ardour for him and itís a crying shame that only the torso of this performance has come down to us.
 
As I said at the outset, the sound quality on these CDs is variable but the remastering engineer, Peter Reynolds, has done a terrific job in restoring these old recordings. Now, thanks to Guild, in association with the Barbirolli Society, we have a further opportunity to re-evaluate JBís work in New York. A failure in New York? I donít think so.
 
John Quinn
 



 


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Prťalable
Alto
Arcodiva
CDAccord
Centaur
Hallť
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly newsletter
 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
.
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Comment
Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips


Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools




Return to Review Index

Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.