This delightful collection of Beecham's post war work with the LPO has been
previously available on an impeccable Biddulph release recorded and transferred
with exemplary clarity by Mark Obert-Thorn. Still Michael Dutton's transfers
are better and reveal greater sense of bloom and presence in what were always
difficult recordings to bring out. The real thriller is Beecham's magnificent
'Reformation' symphony, probably one of the best performances ever.
He finds a grandeur and élan in the score that eludes most conductors
at the expense of blatant theatricality. My particular favourite is the dashing
Finale taken at a walloping pace and increasing excitement. Strangely enough,
Beecham never did it again in the 50's, so one can only dream what Jack Brymer
would have made of the delightful opening of the 'Ein fest Burg' theme. The
other items are vintage Beecham in the best sense.
There has rarely been a more colourful account of 'May Night' whilst the
dashing excerpts from Berlioz's 'Les Troyens' find conductor and orchestra
in perfect harmony and bliss especially with the swaggering 'Trojan March'.
The addenda to that Biddulph disc are fascinating as much as they are intriguing.
An incredible 'Donna Diana' should have been a Beecham hallmark, its availability
is indeed cause for rejoicing and it has an infinite swagger that dwarfs
Karajan's rather excellent VPO account from 1947. The Sibelius items are
accorded much better sound and the interpretations are particularly exciting.
All in all with Lyndon Jenkins' authorative notes and some beautiful
presentation, this Dutton disc goes to the top of the Beecham discography
file, thanks again to Mike Dutton!