£16 post free World-wide

 


555 sonatas 9Cds mp3 files
Only £22


 


Benjamin: Written on Skin £16

Search
What's New
Previous CDs
Concerts
Jazz
Nostalgia
Composers
Resources
Announce
Labels index


Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    



CD REVIEW

Some items
to consider


Shostakovich 14 Petrenko


Rachmaninov #3
Prokofiev #2

 


Dunedin Consort

Peter Grimes

Hymn of Jesus: Sea Drift

Complete Mozart Edition
Mozart complete edition

Vaughan Williams Symphonies 5 & 8 £11

Weiner, Klepper, Bloch, Schulhoff £12 post free


Available again


alternatively AmazonUK

Piotr Il’yich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)
The Nutcracker Op 71a Ballet Suite (1892) [22:51]
Symphony No. 4 in F Minor Op.36 (1877) [42:33]
Eugene Onegin – Waltz Op.24 (1879) [6:09]
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Thomas Beecham
rec. Salle Wagram, Paris, Kingsway Hall, London 1957-58 (Symphony); 1953-54 (Nutcracker); Studio No1, Abbey Road, London 1959 (Waltz)
EMI CLASSICS GREAT RECORDINGS OF THE CENTURY 3800162 [71:49]



Collectors will remember this collection – minus the delicious Eugene Onegin waltz which is an addition – from the Beecham Edition release of 1990 [CDM 7 633802]. Its appearance now as a GROC is more than welcome and entirely deserved.
 
The Symphony receives a performance of wonderful balance; a perfect trade-off between the visceral and the introspective served up quite without ostentation or exaggeration. The architectural surety of the conception, though a product of sessions a year apart, tends to destabilise those who argue that Beecham’s symphonic control was imperfect. This is a criticism usually applied to his Beethoven or Brahms recordings, though why those critics fail to extend such strictures to his Sibelius or Tchaikovsky I’ve never quite understood. 
 
Beecham allows tremendous opportunities for felicitous wind comments – freedom within a certain pulse it should be added – and ensures real string cantabile, lyric phrasing and magnificently measured outbursts as well. Pointing remains witty and incisive and the performance as a whole a match for pretty much anyone, in terms of conception and execution. This was however always a quixotic recording for one reason. The Paris sessions that produced the first movement were in mono; attempts to record in London in stereo foundered and only the first movement was taped in stereo. So what we hear is good 1957-8 mono. Other transfers have included the stereo-mono switch. The tapes have also been subjected to what EMI calls ART – Abbey Road Technology, a clean up that seems to have produced some interesting results. For a start this transfer is cut at a somewhat higher level than that 1990 edition. It’s also got more presence and more bite. Perhaps too that’s a little more glare on the brass and less obvious warmth. But certainly the reading does come alive in this new restoration.
 
In The Nutcracker his principals are on suitably delectable form. The flutes are delicious in the Allegro giusto, whereas Beecham is quite slow - not cautious exactly but rather patrician - in the March, though the pizzicati are animated enough and rhythmic points register with unadorned excellence. There's verve and elegance in equal measure in the Trepak – a real “make the buggers hop” tempo this and impossible to dance to - and the Danse Arabe is taken at a decent speed, fully conveying its incipient drama. Rather slower than usual but nicely inflected the Danse des Mirlitons certainly escapes the charge of being over dainty and merely elfin in Beecham's leisurely hands. Come the Valse des Fleurs and we can admire the burnish of the RPO's violas and cellos and the effulgence of the brass. Don't expect absolute daemonic drive from this Nutcracker; Beecham is altogether more affable and even-tempered and delightfully warm. The transfer has ensured that things such as the flute solo in the Danse chinoise are not as “blasty” as in previous incarnations. You may for instance have caught just such a transfer on the Sony Beecham edition - SMK87875. Catch it anew and newly garbed in this winning disc.
 
Jonathan Woolf

EMI Great Recordings of the Century page

 


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
CDAccord
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly newsletter
 

Return to Review Index

Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.