Aureole etc.




Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line




If it’s the Czech works you’re after, do not hesitate

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


CD REVIEW

Some items
to consider

 


New App by the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra for iOS and Android!


BAX Orchestral pieces


CASKEN Violin Concerto

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 

alternatively Crotchet

 

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)
Violin Concerto in D major op. 77 [41:38]
Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847)
Violin Concerto in E minor op. 64 [29:54]
Gioconda De Vito (violin)
Orchestra Sinfonica di Torino della RAI/Wilhelm Furtwängler
rec. live 7 March 1952 (Brahms), 11 March (or 6 June?) 1952 (Mendelssohn)
ISTITUTO DISCOGRAFICO ITALIANO IDIS6532 [71:33]

Experience Classicsonline


Oh dear, what a pity …

About fifteen years ago RAI began broadcasting in the early afternoons a long series of “Concerti DOC”, archive documents from their extensive vaults. For all I know they still do but my time schedules are rather different now. I taped a large amount of it and more recently put onto CDR the items I considered worth preserving, including these two. Neither my home-taping equipment nor my home-CD-making equipment was exactly of the highest professional standards, so what a pleasure, I thought, to be able to have these valuable performances professionally transferred and made to sound as well as they reasonably can.

The trouble is the Mendelssohn, in particular, sounds worse, much worse. Right from the beginning the opening orchestral bars have a husky, scrubbed sound, as though the recording has been de-noised and de-clicked and de-hissed and God-knows-what-elsed. The violin has a shrill, teeth-edging, dentist-drill penetration without a trace of quality. If these strings were made of catgut, the cat must have been still alive.

My copy is muddier, with a bit of rumble, but it has a certain fullness and the violin retains enough quality for you to hear that it is actually being played very beautifully.

The differences are smaller in the Brahms though at the beginning of the finale, for instance, I seem to hear a little more presence to the violin in mine. But surely a professionally-made thing you actually buy in the shops should sound better than something you tape at home.

There is no trace anywhere of the “RAI Trade” emblem so I take it these performances were home-taped by someone with equipment no better than mine, maybe worse, and have been doctored mercilessly. Though nothing will disguise the fact that these 1952 recordings were not state-of-the-art even in their day I am quite sure that sympathetic treatment by someone authorized to use the original tapes would yield reasonable results.

Under the circumstances it seems pointless to describe the performances beyond noting that they are fiery and incandescent. A discussion of interesting matters such as how Furtwängler adjusts to his different soloists in these recordings and the famous ones of the same concertos with Menuhin had better be left till we can enjoy them better.

I also query the given date of 11 March for the Mendelssohn. I noted down 6 June 1952, as given out by the radio announcer. He may have been wrong, but I know Furtwängler/Turin recordings from 6 June 1952 of the Flying Dutchman Overture, Siegfried’s Rhine Journey and Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony, and the Mendelssohn would slot into the middle of that well enough. If it was really played on 11 March – yes, I have checked that this is the same performance as I have – I should like to know what else was played at that concert. The Brahms, by the way, was followed by the First Symphony. Since the RAI orchestras gave their concerts weekly I should have thought it unlikely that there were concerts on both 7 and 11 March.

Since I seem to be finding fault all round, I’ll point out that the note by Danilo Prefumo is good but the translation is rather obviously not by a native English speaker, though it’s far from being the worst of its kind I’ve seen. Just one example, in Italian “autori” write books but also compose music and paint pictures. The translator evidently doesn’t know that in English “authors” only write books.

Some of you may be thinking – if you’ve got something better, why not duplicate a few CDRs, make a pretty cover and write some notes, set up a little record company in your garden shed and make a few bucks? It’s a question of honesty towards the music. These are performances of the highest level of artistry – just slightly compromised by the quality of the orchestra – and I know that my own resources will not show them at their best. The fact that other people whose resources do not show them at their best are happy to profit from them doesn’t affect my decision.

Christopher Howell 




 


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
Atoll
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample
 


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.