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Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809)
Symphony No.88 in G major Hob.I: 88 [20:31]
Sinfonia Concertante in B flat major Hob.I: 105 (1792) [19:48]
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)

Serenade for Strings No.13 in G major K525 Eine Kleine Nachtmusik [14:21]
Symphony No.36 in C major K425 Linz (1783) [22:01]
Waldemar Wolsing (oboe), Carl Bloch (bassoon), Leo Hansen (violin) Alberto Medici (cello)
Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra/ Fritz Busch
rec. 1948-51
GUILD GHCD 2339 [77:19]
Experience Classicsonline

Fritz Busch’s post-war recordings with the Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra are important documents that preserve his vital, unostentatious and wholly persuasive musicianship in pretty good sound. They’ve retained their place in the reissue market – the Linz and the Sinfonia Concertante for example are also to be found in the Great Conductors of the Twentieth Century series in which Busch, naturally enough, featured [EMI 7243 5 75103 2 5]. Eine Kleine Nachtmusik has also been transferred on Biddulph 83066 – and so on.

There’s a sense of masculine directness, unaffected and unfussy, that courses through Haydn’s G major symphony. It opens weightily but is propelled through acute rhythmic control and in the slow movement we can hear some richly phrased woodwind statements that attest to Busch’s cordial relationship with the orchestra. Similarly the winding violin lines are precisely unveiled. It’s a pity that there’s some congestion in fortes from time to time but it doesn’t seriously limit enjoyment. Certainly the rusticity of the Menuetto won’t hinder pleasure and the finale – con spirito is taken at its word – ends the performance on a real high.

It’s very remiss of Guild not to note the names of the four soloists in the Sinfonia Concertante so I’ve saved some of their blushes – but I shouldn’t have had to. This is a robust, no-nonsense account, stylish, alert, splendidly prepared and well balanced. The string players have slim-line but attractively eager tones, nicely scaled and equalized though not overtly expressive. Violinist Leo Hansen plays with elfin eloquence in particular. Wolsing was an excellent oboist and makes his accustomed mark, as does bassoonist Carl Bloch.

Busch had recorded the Linz in London before the War with Boult’s BBC Symphony – but this later recording is preferable. With the BBC he had been guilty of rather tapered phrasing and a degree of mannerism. The Danish orchestra largely eschews the kind of pervasive portamenti that the BBC indulged in. The highlight is the affectionately moulded – but not manicured - slow movement.

Nobody really needs another Eine Kleine Nachtmusik though arguably historical performances are different. Of the two competing transfers the Biddulph is noisier but more present, this Guild more recessive and treble suppressed. I’d trade some of the noise for the greater vitality of the Biddulph but I dare say the smoother aural ride of this Guild would get other people’s vote.

A very good if well known conspectus, reasonably transferred, fallibly documented.

Jonathan Woolf


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