One of the most grown-up review sites around
One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here
 

 

International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger              Founding Editor: Rob Barnett              Contact Seen and Heard here

Some items
to consider

  • Henze Kammermusik 1958
  • Mozart Flute Quartets
  • Schubert complete piano works
  • Sammartini: 6 Concerti grossi
  • Henze Kammermusik 1958
 
Tudor



CD and Blue-ray Audio


CD and Blue-ray Audio


CPE Bach Cantatas
a revelation


Biber: Sacred Choral Works
Don't miss it


Jonathan Dove


Tommie Haglund
Unique and Powerful music


Organ Fireworks


Highly Entertaining


A triumphant performance


Bruckner Symphony 4
One of the finest I have heard


A most joy-inducing recording


A winning partnership


A Lohengrin to treasure.

 

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Availability

Aaron COPLAND (1900-1990)
Quiet City (1939-40) [10:22]
Symphony no. 3 (1944-46) [39:31]
Appalachian Spring – suite (1944) [23:19]
Boston Symphony Orchestra/Serge Koussevitzky
rec. 1945/46, Symphony Hall, Boston (Quiet City), Carnegie Hall, (Symphony) and Hunter College, New York City (Appalachian Spring)
PRISTINE AUDIO PASC458 [73:09]

These Copland performances were directed by Koussevitzky as part of three separate programmes given in New York and Boston in 1945-46. All were recorded on acetate discs.

Quiet City is the earliest to have been recorded, in March 1945 – the only Boston performance here. It receives a finely paced and atmospheric reading, lucid and expressive, graced by a rich string wash of sound, its fervent lyricism revealing the Russian conductor’s strong identification with the music. Louis Speyer is the named cor anglais player, and he is both more secure and more technically adroit on this occasion than trumpeter Georges Mager, whose fluty vibrato and bugle-like tone are certainly characterful, if not wholly persuasive. Appalachian Spring (13 April 1946) was recorded whilst the Boston Symphony were in Hunter College, NYC in April 1946. This is a gem of a performance, wonderfully passionate, richly detailed but sweepingly evocative. It even beats Koussevitzky’s own well-loved commercial recording for heart-stopping warmth and excitement.

The Third Symphony (16 November 1946), with pianist Lukas Foss, was performed at Carnegie Hall. Commissioned by the conductor and premiered by him in Boston’s Symphony Hall the previous month, this was only its fourth performance and is now the work’s first known recording. What’s more this is the only extant recording of Koussevitzky conducting it. These chains of historical interest thrum with significance but the thrumming would be significantly less potent were the performance unsure, badly executed or in poor sound. Fortunately, despite some apologies as to the state of preservation of the discs, and the sound quality. from Andrew Rose – who has carried out expert remedial work – the whole aural experience is perfectly acceptable for the time-frame and all the more so, in fact, given the rarity of the source material.

Dynamics register well with Koussevitzky taking passages in the opening movement down to a bare whisper. Balances emerge in natural perspective too. Though the acetate scratch is certainly audible – unavoidable so at times – it’s not too steely or distracting. Foss makes his mark in the Andantino where the high winds pierce the expressive intensity that Koussevitzky so expertly marshals. The well-known Fanfare theme in the opening of the finale incites some exciting wind playing – vivid and characterful – before the conductor unleashes a truly trenchant close.

This valuable restoration succeeds in establishing an early interpretative benchmark for the Third Symphony and in drawing together commissioner and work in a way never before possible.

Jonathan Woolf


 

 




Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb



Donate and get a free CD

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical



Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
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
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Vacant
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger