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TCHAIKOVSKY Manfred Symphony 48.44
SIBELIUS Tapiola 16.22
LSO/Eugene Goossens *
EVEREST EVC 9025 [65.16]
Goossens was on the evidence of this delightul reissue no mean Tchaikovskian.
Unlike his interpretation of Rachmaninov's Symphonic Dances there is a tautness
and pliant response in his Manfred. Recorded in 1959 at Walthamstow Assembly
Hall Goossens, orchestra and engineers lose not a trick and the recording
assembles and reflects back to us across the years the fantasy, and impact
of this the least regarded among the late symphonies. It was writen between
the 4th and 5th symphonies and has elements of both - tough (leaning strongly
towards No. 5) and the dramatic-balletic stream. In the last movement Tchaikovsky
lets loose a stream of music more in touch with Balakirev's Russian nationalism
than we are used to from this source. The analogue encoding from 35mm three
track magnetic film served the engineers (and us) very well indeed. This
is not a match for the subtleties of today's recording tehcnique but its
high haemoglobin count and adrenalin quota efface any concerns. I enjoyed
this performance almost as much as my reference disc: the BMG-Melodiya Svetlanov.
At midprice this is an outstanding bargain.
Hannikainen is best known as a Sibelius conductor and I can recall LPs of
Sibelius 2 and 5 on EMI. Long before that he had recorded the Lemminkainen
Legends on Melodiya (now that I would like to hear - anyone got a tape?).
The Tapiola was originally coupled with Tossy Spivakovsky's Sibelius Violin
Concerto (now generously harnessed with Spivakovsky's Tchaikovsky concerto).
It is a fine performance and accorded a far better recording than the Boult
Tapiola on Omega Classics. There are numerous fresh and expressive details
usually registered in the woodwind. This leaves me wishing that Hannikaiinen
had recorded the complete cycle. The experience is slightly troubled by a
grumbling bass beat during some the louder passages. The final storm is built
with such supernal control. One of the freshest Tapilas ever.
Warmly recommended and by no means just for 'oldies' with a retro-sixties
fixation. Vintage Tchaikovsky and Sibelius!
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