One of the most grown-up review sites around

2019
51,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here

     
  
 

 

International mailing


  Founder: Len Mullenger             Editor in Chief: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider


Yes we are selling
Acte Prealable again!


we also sell Skarbo

and Oboe Classics


TROUBADISC

with Eggebrecht we get all the excitement we can handle

Book 1 Book 2 Book3
Mota The Triptych: -Website

Asmik Grigorian

Breathtaking Performance
controversial staging
Review Westbrook
Review Hedley
Every lover of Salome should see this recording
Mullenger interpretation

Vraiment magnifique!


Quite splendid


Winning performances


Mahler Symphony 8
a magnificent disc


a huge talent


A wonderful disc


Weinberg Symphonies 2 & 21
A handsome tribute!


Roth’s finest Mahler yet


Mahler 9 Blomstedt
Distinguished performance

 

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Availability

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953)
Symphony No. 1 in D Classical, op. 25 (1917) [12:22]
Karol SZYMANOWSKI (1882-1937)
Symphony No. 4 Symphonie Concertante, op. 60 (1932) [22:11]
Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)
Symphony No. 4 in E minor, op. 98 (1884) [37:13]
Jan Ekier (piano)
Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra/Witold Rowicki
rec. Huddersfield Town Hall, 3 April 1967
ORCHESTRAL CONCERT CD15/2016 [71:46]

The Orchestral Concert CDs label is sustained by Geoffrey Terry's treasure trove of concert recordings made by him during the 1960s and early 1970s. These emanated from orchestras from Eastern Europe on tour in the UK.

This is a live event with coughs, shuffling and throat-clearing which is largely confined to between movements; naturally there's applause at the end of each work.

The Classical Symphony flies along with rippling power, making all those flickering changes of tempo and dynamic at the charge. The audience is well behaved. This presumably marks their completely understandable absorption in and appreciation of the performance. This is showcase-fast music-making. The only downside is that the usually magically slow second movement is hurried. It lacks heart in much the same way as Svetlanov's pummelled Capriccio Italien. Rowicki and his Warsaw players make the whole work an exercise in the breathlessly impressive which has its own very different delights. You won't forget this.

The Szymanowski Symphonie Concertante aurally places Jan Ekier amid the main body of players. Rowicki and Ekier appear utterly at ease with their countryman's music. This would have been fairly unfamiliar to Western audiences in those days. If they knew Szymanowski at all they would have owed their knowledge to rare imported Polski-Nagrania LPs and the occasional swashbuckling BBC broadcast. The finale combines shimmer and kinetic charge.

If the Prokofiev is fast - and it is - Rowicki's Brahms' Fourth is not taken at a casual dawdle. The conductor seems intent on 'pushing the envelope' and this certainly makes for exciting if occasionally surprising listening. I made a few comparisons. Barbirolli who recorded the work at about the same time with the VPO took 45 minutes. Years later, for EMI, Sawallisch and the LPO took close to 42 minutes. Szell in Cleveland, again at about the same time, took 43 minutes. Dorati, in 1963 with the LSO, took 39:12 and that felt fast. Svetlanov on Scribendum with his T34 of an orchestra took about the same time as Rowicki here. Giulini stands at the opposite pole, taking 46:41 with the VPO in 1992. Times can be simplistic and misleading. Here, however, Rowicki has notes treading on each other and in the third movement the music is driven and whipped forward. The gruffly spat-out and almost vituperative finale projects something verging on anger; contained but still anger. Very unusual.

The booklet cover is a watercolour of Huddersfield Town Hall by Andrew Jenkin. It's title is "Going to the Messiah at Huddersfield Town Hall". The booklet itself is well done with an introduction to each piece of music and unusual non-pro-forma profiles of Ekier, Rowicki and the orchestra. Especially interesting, and definitely worth having, is Mr Terry's detail-rich memoir of the orchestra's 1967 UK tour. It's not often you get this sort of flavoursome detail of time and place and it is well done.

The present disc was first issued by the Warsaw Philharmonic as part of a book ("Witold Rowicki in memoriam") commemorating Witold Rowicki's centenary in 2014.

A Huddersfield concert with no prisoners taken, vintage 1967. Not a library choice but a fascinating record of a live event, sparks still flying.

Rob Barnett

Previous reviews: Jonathan Woolf ~ Stephen Vasta


 

 



We are currently offering in excess of 51,000 reviews


Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Nimbus Podcast


Obtain 10% discount



Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Postmaster
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger