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Joseph HAYDN (1732–1809)
Salve Regina in G minor, Hob. XXIIIb:2: I. Adagio (1756) [10:43]
Symphony No. 97 in C major, Hob.I:97 (1792) [23:45]
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756–1791)
Symphony No. 34 in C major, K338 (1780) [18:55]
Franz SCHUBERT (1797–1828)
Symphony No. 3 in D major, D200 (1815) [22:53]
Winterreise, D911: No. 13 Die Post, No. 14 Der greise Kopf [5:10]
London Mozart Players/Harry Blech
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Sir Thomas Beecham
Philharmonia Orchestra/Rudolf Kempe
Hans Hotter (baritone), Gerald Moore (piano)
Early Stereo Recordings Volume 2

FHR continues its work with this second release devoted to EMI’s early stereo recording. The review of the first volume will explain something of the rationale though David Patmore and Peter Bromley’s booklet note contributions again bring much clarity and information. And again, David Murphy has undertaken the remastering responsibilities to fine effect.

The recordings date from 1954 to 1957. The disc begins with the opening movement of Haydn’s Salve Regina, made in June 1954. There is a personnel correction to note, the information for which comes direct from FHR. First Hand took details from the LP artwork but apparently this was incorrect. In the disc you will find listed Thomas Helmsley (tenor) and John Cameron (baritone) but FHR has confirmed to me that the singers were in fact David Galliver and Thomas Hemsley, an amendment I’ve reflected in the footnote.

This is the first release of the stereo version of this Adagio movement, the only movement of the work to have survived in stereo, the complete work having been issued on a mono LP. The spatial separation is palpable, the depth and breadth of the sound striking. Whilst the stereo balance engineer is unknown, the producer of the disc was Berthold Goldschmidt.

The next item is something of a coup for Beecham admirers, the first stereo release of his March 1957 traversal of Haydn’s Symphony No.97. This is a familiar reading, much reissued in mono but never, obviously, in this form where the sense of clarity and definition will make a strong appeal in the context of this tranche of early recordings. There is not quite the same level of excitement about Rudolf Kempe’s astutely directed 1955 Abbey Road recording of Mozart’s Symphony No.34 because this stereo recording has been issued before – albeit on Capitol SG 7150 back in 1959. It’s never been reissued on CD, however, so those without LP decks and LP libraries will never have encountered it before, unless via some other source. Its LP coupling was Haydn’s Symphony No.104, again with the Philharmonia.

The previous year Harry Blech directed his London Mozart Players in Schubert’s Symphony No.3. This is a tantalising stereo torso, but quite a substantial torso as things go. The first movement has not survived in stereo and this transfer utilises the mono CLP 1090. But the remaining three movements offer the previously unheard stereo and the buoyancy detected in the mono LP is confirmed and to a degree amplified by the stereo movements. The final two items are from the Hotter-Moore Winterreise recording of May 1954; Die Post and Der greise Kopf. These are the earliest surviving EMI experimental stereo recordings and though the piano placement is not advantageous, these are not the same versions as the published mono takes and therefore of some real musical and historical value.

This latest release is packed with good things, with exemplary transfers and booklet documentation both thorough and attractive.

Jonathan Woolf

Recording details
Salve regina
April Cantelo (soprano): Marjorie Thomas (contralto): David Galliver (tenor): Thomas Hemsley (baritone)
Chorus (unidentified)/London Mozart Players/Harry Blech
Recorded at No. 1 Studio, Abbey Road, 2 June 1954
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Sir Thomas Beecham
Recorded at No. 1 Studio, Abbey Road, 9 and 26 March 1957
Philharmonia Orchestra/Rudolf Kempe
Recorded at No. 1 Studio, Abbey Road, 24 November 1955
London Mozart Players/Harry Blech
Recorded at No. 1 Studio, Abbey Road, 1 October 1954 and 1 November 1954
Hans Hotter (baritone): Gerald Moore (piano)
Recorded at No. 1A Studio, Abbey Road, 25 May 1954

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