Robert Craft has always been controversial as a conductor, so I was interested
to sample this ongoing series. I found it patchy and, ultimately, disappointing.
Pulcinella (complete) goes well in the orchestral sections and the Philharmonia
plays with style. Diana Montague sings prettily, but the contributions of
the male soloists are sub-standard. The four pieces for clarinet solo (not
the usual three - there's a tiny extra one, Pour Pablo Picasso) are
well played by Charles Neidich. The outer movements of the piano concerto
sound edgy and insecure; there have been several better versions. Best here
is Dances concertantes, a warm, affectionate performance of a work
which can sometimes sound very dry.
For a major production the presentation is deplorable, and should have been
corrected before Vol.3. The text (English only) is given in large print on
thick glossy paper, with no attempt at graphic design. Only one recording
date is supplied (1997, the piano concerto). No track times are given and
I had to obtain the (generous) total time from my CD player. Not recommendable.
Peter Grahame Woolf
no star rating