Listening to these types of CD's makes one forget the primitive and limited
sound, only to gorge oneself onto music making that is no longer with us.
This CD is indeed 'Vintage Beecham' as it enshrines some of the most popular
lollipops that were to make this conductor's concerts such special occasions
over the years. 'The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba' bristles with life with
the seductive LPO woodwinds in full flight like a team of birds! On the contrary
the plain wistful melody of the Dvorak legend has the orchestra in clearly
The excerpts from Offenbach's 'Tales of Hofmann' are also winningly done
with a suitable hustle and bustle about the Barcarolle, one of the finest
moments in Beecham's recorded legacy. The conductor's 'Carmen' Suite was
also a similar show-stopper and the lazy Iberian evocations come to such
vivid life in his hands, that one is almost tempted to take a trip to Spain
in virtual terms. This 1939 recording is one of the best in the collection
with ultra smooth surfaces and occasionally quite impressive bass and midrange
Delius could never fail to appear in any serious Beecham program and this
early 'La Calinda' dances along with much greater presence than the later
more famous stereo account. Another favorite Beecham composer was Mendelssohn
who was a regular feature in most concerts conducted by the aging conductor.
These 'Midsummer' excerpts are full of silk and gossamer, an ethereal nocturne,
an earthbound Scherzo and finally a suitably swaggering Wedding March that
transcends the sixty odd years of the recording! The same goes for Strauss'
characteristic 'Voices of Spring', a rare item in Beecham's recording career.
The programme could not have ended with a better item, Borodin's 'Polovtsian
Dances', a tribute to the diversity and eclectic temperament of this charismatic
conductor. It is also captivating to note that Dutton have retained Lyndon
Jenkins' original essay in this reissue, an unmissable portrait of this genial
man. A true treasure and now available at budget price, an added incentive
to harder-up collectors to sample the Beecham magic!