As will be evident from the dates above these recordings
have been around for quite some time. While the strings still have that
1960s CBS hollow glaze the sound remains as fresh as gaudy paint. True
it does not have the brilliance and juicy depth of EMI's stereo tapes
of Nikolai Malko in the Prokofiev 7 and Classical but more than
justice is done to these works.
What registers most deeply is the razor-like attack
and verve of the strings - gutsy playing and mordant excitement aplenty.
At a very modest mid-price it would be a mistake to overlook this open-handed
Brusilow is the solo violinist throughout the disc.
He only shades into disappointment with his vibrato as the voice of
Princess at the end of Sheherazade. Otherwise he is both sharp and throaty
in the Capriccio. Anshel Brusilow, by the way, later made a modest name
for himself as a conductor. For EMI in 1977 he recorded the First Symphony
(1961) of Richard Yardumian (himself a Philadelphia regular). This was
with the Bournemouth SO. Brusilov had been the concert master when Ormandy
directed the premiere on 1 December 1961. There are also recordings
of him conducting the Bournemouth orchestra in Balakirev's Russia.
Wilfred Josephs' Third Symphony Philadelphia was dedicated to
Brusilow and the Philadelphia Chamber Orchestra.
The Sheherazade is strong and deserves consideration
against such leading competition as the Beecham RPO EMI version, Stokowski
(RCA-BMG) and, for me the current market leader in recordings. the Serebrier
version on Reference Recordings. Also you would do well to listen to
the technicolour Svetlanov on BMG Melodiya 74321 40065 2 . If only BMG
could decouple the Rimsky symphonies 1 and 3 and find some way of coupling
Svetlanov's Antar with Sheherazade they would have a highly
desirable disc. The other two pieces (once available on CBS LP 61586
with the Coq d'Or Suite) are the kingpins. Ormandy imbues the
interpretations and playing with guts, ferocity and passion. The sound
is unsubtle but the effect is edge-of-seat.