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Symphony No.3 in E flat major Op.55 Eroica (1804) [49:27]
Egmont Overture Op.84 (1810) [8:04]
Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896)
Te Deum in C major [20:05]
Yeend (soprano); Martha Lipton (mezzo soprano); David Lloyd
(tenor); Mack Harrel (baritone), Westminster Choir (Bruckner)
of the Air (Eroica),
New York Philharmonic Orchestra (Egmont, Bruckner)/Bruno
rec. 7 March
1953 (Bruckner), 4 December
1954 (Egmont), 3 February
Archipel’s note-less reissue is unhelpful. The booklet
shows the conductor’s name sitting on top of the rubric “To the
Memory of Arturo Toscanini” and beneath it the three works;
the Eroica, Egmont, and the Bruckner Te Deum. In the bottom
right hand corner of the booklet is a single date, 3 February
1957, and the lines “Bruno Walter conducts Symphony of the
But it’s really all very straightforward. The Eroica is from
the 1957 memorial concert to Toscanini, who had died eighteen
days before. That concert has just been reissued in full
by Music and Arts [1201 – a two CD set] and it includes Monteux
conducting the Enigma Variations and Munch’s La Mer as well
as the Eroica and the contents of a 1954 benefit recording.
So Archipel has extracted the Eroica from the Memorial concert,
added the 1954 Egmont overture and the 1953 Bruckner to form
a disc around Walter.
The Eroica is a fine, grave and impressive performance. The
Symphony of the Air (ex NBC) plays with fervour and power
for Walter, though the New York Philharmonic played with
just as much control and eloquence in the recording Walter
made with them when he re-recorded the symphony commercially.
There’s actually very little to choose between the two readings
and the very considerable virtues Walter espoused in this
score are only reinforced by the consistency of his approach.
It would be fair to note however that the studio recording
is the better recorded. The Egmont overture receives a trenchant,
Bruckner’s Te Deum has made the rounds often enough – most
visibly on Sony Classics, where I last encountered it on
SK92737 coupled with the Columbia Symphony recording of the
Ninth Symphony. Walter’s control of the Te Deum is first
class in every way; pacing is fine, climaxes are pointed,
the sonority is always appropriate and balanced; the organ
is well meshed into the sound stage. His soloists are committed
and though they aren’t in truth the neatest or tidiest quartet;
eventful though, and characterful. The Westminster Choir
makes a fine showing with unanimity of attack and sonorous
depth into the bargain.
The sound here is serviceable but as mentioned above there
are no notes. All the performances however show Walter at
something near his very best.
Gerard Hoffnung CDs
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