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Symphony No. 5 in B flat major
BBC Symphony Orchestra  conducted by Jascha Horenstein
Recorded Royal Albert Hall, London, 15th September 1971 BBC Legends - BBCL 4033-2 - STEREO (ADD) Total time 74.46
 Amazon UK 

This disc was recorded at the 1971 proms, and the quality of the performance is such that it rendered the audience (apart from the end) into relative silence. The usual extraneous noise distractions of many prom performances are here less intrusive than I have experienced before.

Many of Horenstein's studio performances I find somewhat inhibited and therefore unsatisfactory, but here, with an audience hanging on every note and urging the performers on, the performance is incandescent. It is further enhanced by the playing of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, here galvanised into giving the performance of their lives.

Timings of the movements are non conclusive, as Horenstein moulds the various episodes of each movement into a satisfying whole. The first, second and last movements are non controversial, with the slow movement a little faster than usual, more up to the speed of Furtwangler and Knappertsbusch.

The recording is well up to the better BBC prom recording quality, recorded before they started to spoil many broadcasts with excessive and disfiguring compression. Any sonic limitations, such as they may be, can confidently be ignored, if you are trying to decide whether to buy this disc or not. It is a very important addition to the Horenstein discography.


John Phillips

see also review by Tony Duggan


John Phillips

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