Classical The best music site on the web there is where you can read about and listen to blues, jazz, classical music and much more. This is your ultimate music resource. Tons of albums can be found within. http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/en/classical/3392.html Sat, 04 Feb 2023 21:12:22 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb 01.Great Conductors of the 20th Century - Karel Ancerl http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/en/classical/3392-great-conductors/12903-01great-conductors-of-the-20th-century-karel-ancerl.html http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/en/classical/3392-great-conductors/12903-01great-conductors-of-the-20th-century-karel-ancerl.html 01.Great Conductors of the 20th Century - Karel Ancerl

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CD1
1 Festive Overture, Op.96: Allegretto-Presto			
2 In The Tatra Mountains, Op.26: Symphonic Poem			
3 Serenade for Orchestra: I. Allegro See All 2			
4 Serenade For Orchestra: II. Andante Quasi Allegretto	
5 Serenade For Orchestra: III. Presto See All 2			
6 Taras Bulba:Rhapsody For Orchestra, After Gogol: The Death Of Andrei			
7 Taras Bulba:Rhapsody For Orchestra, After Gogol: The Death Of Ostap			
8 Taras Bulba:Rhapsody For Orchestra, After Gogol: The Prophecy And Death Of Tara Bulba
9 Variations On A Theme By And On The Death Of Jan Rychlik

CD2
1 Cycle Of Symphonic Poems 'My Fatherland' (Ma Vlast): The Moldau (Vltava): 
Allegro Comodo Non Agitato; L'istesso Tempo Ma Moderato; 
Listesso Tempo; Tempo I; Piu Moto			
2 Symphony No. 8 In G Major, Op.88: I. Allegro Con Brio			
3 Symphony No. 8 In G Major, Op.88: II. Adagio			
4 Symphony No. 8 In G Major, Op.88: III. Allegretto Grazioso			
5 Symphony No. 8 In G Major, Op.88: IV. Allegro Ma Non Troppo			
6 Symphony No.5: I. Adagio			
7 Symphony No.5: II. Larghetto			
8 Symphony No.5: III. Lento			
9 Slavonic Dance In G Minor Op.46 No.8: Presto

Czech Philharmonic Orchestra,  
Vienna Symphony Orchestra,  
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra,  
Toronto Symphony Orchestra
Karel Ancerl – conductor

 

The volume devoted to Czech conductor Karel Ancerl is one of the best of EMI's variable Great Conductors series. With the exception of Shostakovich's Festive Overture (not one of his indispensable works), the focus is on Czech composers, thus the set doesn't even attempt to sample the full range of Ancerl's wide musical sympathies. But he was such a superb conductor of Czech music that it's hard to get too upset about the skewed repertoire, especially when we get magnificent performances of neglected music that deserves wider hearing, such as Otmar Mácha's Variations on a theme by and on the death of Jan Rychlik.

Mácha used a flute piece by his friend Rychlik as the basis for a work of originality and power. The poetic opening soon gives way to mounting intensity that reaches a climax at the midpoint, with a Till Eulenspiegel-like flute cowed by raucous trombones and orchestral explosions. After another orchestral climax featuring steadily pounding timpani comes silence, followed by the flute's feeble pipings, a picture of spiritual devastation if ever there was one. Considerably lower on the scale of music we in the West have missed out on is Iša Krejcí's Serenade for Orchestra, an attractive, light, three-movement work with bouncy outer movements and a pretty Andante featuring some lovely string melodies.

More familiar is Viteslav Novák's tone poem In the Tatra Mountains, heard in the first recording Ancerl made with the Czech Philharmonic he led for 18 years. It's full of atmosphere and gorgeous scene-painting, especially in the woodwinds, although the dry, constricted 1950 engineering robs the climaxes of their full impact. Ancerl's intensity and wide dynamics help Janácek's Taras Bulba make a stirring impression, with eloquent winds, brawny brass, and white-hot strings vividly captured in wide-ranging 1961 stereo sound.

The second disc focuses on Ancerl's international career, opening with Smetana's Vltava (The Moldau) in a Vienna performance that downplays its anthem-like aspects and stresses lyricism. A live Dvorák Eighth Symphony from 1970 with the Concertgebouw is nothing short of sensational--brilliantly played, each movement characterized without idiosyncracies, brimming with rhythmic life that keeps the music moving and lends it sparkle. (Ancerl fans already may have this on Volume 2 of Tahra's "Edition Karel Ancerl" series.)

Another live performance, Martinu's Fifth Symphony with the Toronto Symphony in 1971, is on a level similar to the Dvorák; Ancerl's rhythmic alertness and care with balances lends transparency to a busy score that sometimes can sound too dense. There's an Old World gentleness about Ancerl's caressing Larghetto that's captivating, and while you can imagine the final Allegro played with a touch more animal vigor, it's still quite exciting here. A stomping Dvorák Slavonic Dance makes a stirring close to a well-transferred, generously timed (155 minutes) set of brilliant performances. --Dan Davis, ClassicsToday.com

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administration@theblues-thatjazz.com (bluesever) Great Conductors Sun, 30 Sep 2012 16:27:59 +0000
02.Great Conductors of the 20th Century - Ernest Ansermet http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/en/classical/3392-great-conductors/12913-02great-conductors-of-the-20th-century-ernest-ansermet.html http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/en/classical/3392-great-conductors/12913-02great-conductors-of-the-20th-century-ernest-ansermet.html 02.Great Conductors of the 20th Century - Ernest Ansermet

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CD1
Igor Stravinsky
1	Chant Du Rossignol: Introduction  2:26			
2	Chant Du Rossignol: Marche Chinoise  3:23			
3	Chant Du Rossignol		3:28	
4	Chant Du Rossignol: Jeu Du Rossignol Mecanique 12:19
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
5	Scheherazade, Op.35: I The Sea And Sinbad's Ship	9:26		
6	Scheherazade, Op.35: II The Story Of The Kalender Prince  10:51			
7	Scheherazade, Op.35: III The Young Prince And The Young Princess 9:11
8	Scheherazade, Op.35: IV Festival Of Baghdad	12:16
Claude Debussy		
9	Prelude a l'apres-midi d'un faune	9:00

CD2
Bela Bartok
1	Concerto For Orchestra Sz116 (Andante Non Troppo) I. Introduzione  9:40
2	Concerto For Orchestra Sz116 (Allegretto Scherzando) II. Gluoco Delle Coppie7:06
3	Concerto For Orchestra Sz116 (Andante Non Troppo) III. Elegia   6:39
4	Concerto For Orchestra Sz116 (Allegretto) IV. Intermezzo Interrotto 	3:54
5	Concerto For Orchestra Sz116 (Pesante) V. Finale 9:39	
Sergei Rachmaninov
6	Isle of the Dead Op. 29 	19:22	
Maurice Ravel
7	La Valse	13:03
Emmanuel Chabrier
8	Le Roi Malgré Lui	8:33

Orchestre de la Suisse Romande
Orchestre de la Societe des Concerts du Conservatoire
Ernest Ansermet – conductor

 

"Scheherazade was another Ansermet specialty that suited his flair for color and clarity of instrumental lines. He recorded it three times; this is his second, the fruits of Decca's first Paris stereo recording sessions in 1954. Despite the date, the sound remains remarkably good and Ansermet captures all the moods and colors of the work."

The Ernest Ansermet volume is one of the best of EMI's Great Conductors series. It includes terrific, well-chosen performances, only a pair of which are clearly bested by the competition. Those are the Bartók Concerto for Orchestra and Rachmaninov's Isle of the Dead. Just about everybody's had a shot at the Bartók, so Ansermet's version with a less-than-virtuoso orchestra and a tendency toward understatement is at a disadvantage when set against the idiomatic Bartók of Dorati (Philips), the warmth and personal flair of Bernstein (Sony), and the mysteries of Kubelik (Orfeo). The night music of the Elegia movement is played more for color than foreboding and the trombone Bronx cheers in the Intermezzo never have sounded so matter of fact as here. So in a market crowded with excellent versions, Ansermet's very good one doesn't finish in the money.

Ditto for the Rachmaninov, where the objectivity that served him so well in modern music and the flair for color he exhibited in the Russian repertoire don't quite bring out the deep darkness of Rachmaninov's brooding score. Those lapping waves that run through it could be from Beethoven's Brook in the Pastorale Symphony rather than Rachmaninov's River Styx. And, as in the Bartók, the typically French timbre of the orchestra tends to work against the grain of the music. Reiner (RCA), Ashkenazy (Decca), and Rachmaninov himself (RCA) come closer to the mark. Ansermet's are fine performances that just miss the top rank.

Everything else in this set gets a clear, resounding 10 for performance. Ansermet long championed Stravinsky, and his version of the Chant du Rossignol rivals Reiner's classic Chicago version; and in its color, inner detail, and boldly projected rhythms it beats out Stravinsky's own recording of the complete opera from which it derives. The 1956 stereo sound here is absolutely amazing in its transparency and vivid presence, a tribute to Decca's engineers of the period.

Scheherazade was another Ansermet specialty that suited his flair for color and clarity of instrumental lines. He recorded it three times; this is his second, the fruits of Decca's first Paris stereo recording sessions in 1954. Despite the date, the sound remains remarkably good and Ansermet captures all the moods and colors of the work, from the tensions of the outer movements to the rich vein of languorous Orientalisms that are found throughout. I especially like the contrasts of the third movement, The Young Prince and the Young Princess, where he brings out the sweet tenderness of the opening and clearly delineates the ravishing wind decorations that act as halos for the strings. The quiet, percussion-punctuated march-like section that follows is brilliantly projected and Ansermet's solo violinist plays with an unusual degree of emotion and freedom. Scheherazade is another of those standard pieces apparently recorded by everyone with a baton, and there are many excellent versions, from Reiner (RCA) and Beecham (EMI) to recent ones such as Robert Spano's (Telarc), but Ansermet's 1961 recording is among the top half-dozen and this one's as good, lacking only the full spaciousness of the later recording.

The rest of the items here are about as self-recommending as it gets--an elegant Debussy Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune, a sparkling Ravel La Valse (which, like the Stravinsky work, he premiered), and a scintillating Fète Polonaise from Chabrier's Le Roi malgré lui. All three are on anyone's short list of the best performances, though the Ravel is an earlier recording than the more familiar later one. It was made in 1953 with the Paris Conservatory Orchestra and while the mono sound is good, it's not nearly as spacious and vivid as his later version. The Chabrier is a perfect finale to the set, a bubbly reminder of Ansermet's incomparable LP collection of that composer's orchestral music. My only complaint, and it's a minor piece of nit-picking, is that the selections reinforce the tendency to pigeonhole Ansermet as a Franco-Russian specialist when he encompassed a far wider repertoire that ran from Bach to Martin and included some fine Haydn and Beethoven recordings. --Dan Davis, ClassicsToday.com

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administration@theblues-thatjazz.com (bluesever) Great Conductors Tue, 02 Oct 2012 16:48:32 +0000
03.Great Conductors of the 20th Century - Ataulfo Argenta http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/en/classical/3392-great-conductors/12935-03great-conductors-of-the-20th-century-ataulfo-argenta.html http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/en/classical/3392-great-conductors/12935-03great-conductors-of-the-20th-century-ataulfo-argenta.html 03.Great Conductors of the 20th Century - Ataulfo Argenta

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Disc 1:
Franz Liszt - A Faust Symphony: A Three Character Portraits (After Goethe)
01. I. Faust
02. II. Gretchen
03. III. Mephistopheles
Maurice Ravel
04. Alborada Del Gracioso: Assez Vif-Plus Lent-Au Mouvement

Disc 2:
Franz Schubert - Symphony No.9 In C Major, D944 “The Great”
01. I.Andante - Allegro Ma Non Troppo
02. II. Andante Con Moto
03. III. Scherzo. Allegro Vivace
04. IV. Allegro Vivace
Manuel de Falla - El Amor Brujo: Escenas Gitanas De Andalucia. Ballet En Un Acto
05. I. Introduccion Y Escena: Allegro Furiosos Ma Non Troppo Vivo
06. II. En La Cueva: La Noche: Tranquilo E Misterioso
07. III. Cancion Del Amor Dolido: Allegro
08. IV. El Aparecido: Vivo, Ma Non Troppo
09. V. Danza De Terror: Allegro Ritmico
10. VI. El Circulo Magico: Romance Delpescador: Andante Molto Tranquillo
11. VII. A Media Noche: Los Sortilegios: Lento E Lontano
12. VIII. Danza Ritual Del Fuego: Para Ahuyentar Los Malos Espiritus: 
Allegro Ma Non Troppo E Pesante
13. IX. Escena: Poco Moderato
14. X. Cancion Del Fuego fatuo: Vivo
15. XI. Pantomima: Allegro
16. XII. Danza Del Jeugo De Amor: Allegretto Mosso
17. XIII. Final. Las Campanas Del Amanecer: Allegretto Tranquillo

Ana Maria Iriarte – soprano
Orchestre de la Societe des Concerts du Conservatoire
Ataulfo Argenta – conductor

 

With its first dozen releases in the 'Great Conductors of the 20th Century' series EMI Classics ally themselves with the same gold standard as the Philips 'Great Pianists' series. I wonder how many more are to come after the first barrage. The classical newsgroups will be rocking with the usual debates about why one conductor was included and another waits disconsolately in the steppe. Why was this or that version chosen over another? I do not want to be left out. More of that anon.

Argenta was born on the Northern Atlantic coast of Spain at the small fishing town of Castro Urdiales (about the same size as Brixham in Devon, UK). It is not far from Santander. He studied in Belgium and Germany after beginning his conservatoire studies at the age of thirteen in Madrid. His wartime prentice years in Germany were possible because of Spain's and Franco's special relationship with the Dritte Reich. Argenta promptly left Germany and returned to Spain when allied bombs fell too close for comfort. In 1946 he became chief conductor of the Spanish National Orchestra. His interpretations of Spanish and French music were well regarded.

His recordings include a Symphonie Fantastique with the Paris Conservatoire Orchestra, a reputedly exhilarating Tchaikovsky 4 (LSO), he conducts the LSO in the famously OTT Campoli Tchaikovsky violin concerto (reissued on Beulah 3PD10- how we miss that label) and serves similar duty, this time with the LPO, for Katchen's Liszt piano concertos.

He recorded a great deal of Spanish music. All the usual suspects are there. Turina, Rodrigo, Guridi, Usandizaga, de Falla, Halffter and Granados all get a look in. His Ravel also includes Pavane, Rapsodie Espagnole and Ma Mère l'Oye. I am sure I recall these appearing on Decca Ace of Diamonds LPs with the ADD prefix (how those prefixes resonate: SRCS, VIC, ACL, ADD, SXL, ASD etc!). Maurice Ohana's early Lament for the Death of a Bullfighter was also recorded. There are upwards of twenty Argenta LPs of zarzuela by Vives, Jimenez, Serrano, Breton and Chapi.

I am not sure what has been done in Spain but so far as the wider European and world market is concerned, Argenta has not received the sort of methodical adulation and 'reissuitis' accorded to the likes of Kubelik, Silvestri and Markevich let alone Stokowski and Walter. This set is a major step forward for his reputation.

The Argenta Faust Symphony is furiously virtuosic, oozing fiery conviction and bringing you up short with artistic parallels that would never have occurred to you without Argenta's attack. I defy you not to think about Tchaikovsky's Fifth and Manfred when you hear this. This is the original version without the chorus in the Mephistopheles finale and Argenta gave it its first recording.

The slowness of Argenta's Great C Major is the first thing that hits you and I can't say I like it. This does however accentuate the quick tumbling Brucknerian climax at 4.19 and the quicker tempi chosen for the later movements. In the andante the precisely limned steadily ticking beat works well. The scherzo is roughened and tartly brusque. This is not in my view an extraordinary Great C Major nor for that matter was the last Ninth I reviewed - that of Boult and the BBCSO on the now sunken Beulah label.

It is rather a shame that Argenta's El Amor Brujo follows just after the Schubert. The Schubert symphony is the only thing here to be in stereo and its sound is pretty good as is that for the Liszt. The de Falla is the oldest recording in the set and its string tone is a mite splintery. Odd, too, that it was recorded by the Paris Conservatoire Orchestra when Argenta's own orchestra the Orquesta Nacional de España would have been a more natural choice. However the invitation came from French Columbia and he had to dance to their tune. As it turns out the orchestra are on good mettle. This is a superbly spick and span interpretation of a work which I have long adored. By this I do not imply that it is too regimented. It finds time to stretch and wonder, for example in the Pantomima in which de Falla wrote an angel's gift of a tune. Here the massed violin tone takes off some of the sheen. As for the mezzo, Ana Maria Iriarte, she is perfect, with guttural hues to catch the smoke-roughened gypsy throatiness. There is hardly a trace of vibrato. She is a cut or two above the flawed Ines Rivandeneyra recently heard by me in Markevich's 1966 recording on Eloquence. She also takes great care with the shaping of the words (printed in full in Spanish and trilingual translation) and their meaning. When the suite finished I immediately played it again - such was the effect of this recording on me. In time it might even displace my perverse and aberrant preference for the Russian CFP licensed performance on CFP 40234 with Arvid Jansons conducting the Moscow Radio SO. The mezzo is Irina Arkhipova. But before you go looking for it bear in mind that it is an LP and that the sound is surprisingly scrawny in places.

Both the Faust and the Alborada are recorded in the present set in close-up vivid sound with more hiss evident in the Faust than the Alborada. The Alborada has some of its brashness and brilliance bled away by the 1950s engineer's decision to pull back on the recording levels for climaxes.

The notes are informative and thorough as you would expect from Alan Sanders. I owe it to Mr Sanders that I can tell you that the Cento Soli was a contractual pseudonym used at different times for the Lamoureux, the Paris Conservatoire or for a pick-up orchestra. The trilingual notes are contrasted with five wonderfully grainy and articulate photographs courtesy of Toni Argenta. The recordings are licensed to EMI by Decca, Musidisc and EMI France.

Lisztians need to hear Argenta's Faust. His El Amor Brujo is perhaps the best ever. This set has attractions transcending fogeydom and 1950s nostalgia. ---Rob Barnett, MusicWeb International

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administration@theblues-thatjazz.com (bluesever) Great Conductors Sat, 06 Oct 2012 15:41:20 +0000
Great Conductors of the 20th Century Vol 04- Sir John Barbirolli http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/en/classical/3392-great-conductors/12950-great-conductors-of-the-20th-century-vol-04-sir-john-barbirolli.html http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/en/classical/3392-great-conductors/12950-great-conductors-of-the-20th-century-vol-04-sir-john-barbirolli.html Great Conductors of the 20th Century Vol 04- Sir John Barbirolli

CD1
1 Die Meistersinger Von Nurnberg: Prelude To Act I 	
2 Variations On An Original Theme ('Enigma'), Op.36: Enigma: Andante 	
3 Variations On An Original Theme ('Enigma'), Op.36: I. (C.A.E.): L'istesso Tempo 
4 Variations On An Original Theme ('Enigma'), Op.36: II. (H.D.S.P.): Allegro 	
5 Variations On An Original Theme ('Enigma'), Op.36: III. (R.B.T.): Allegretto 	
6 Variations On An Original Theme ('Enigma'), Op.36: IV. (W.M.B.): Allegro Di Molto 
7 Variations On An Original Theme ('Enigma'), Op.36: V. (R.P.A.): Moderato 
8 Variations On An Original Theme ('Enigma'), Op.36: VI. (Ysobel): Andantino 
9 Variations On An Original Theme ('Enigma'), Op.36: VII. (Troyte): Presto 
10 Variations On An Original Theme ('Enigma'), Op.36: VIII. (W.N.): Allegretto 
11 Variations On An Original Theme ('Enigma'), Op.36: IX. (Nimrod): Adagio 
12 Variations On An Original Theme ('Enigma'), Op.36: X. Intermezzo (Dorabella): Allegretto 
13 Variations On An Original Theme ('Enigma'), Op.36: XI. (G.R.S.): Allegro Di Molto 
14 Variations On An Original Theme ('Enigma'), Op.36: XII. (B.G.N.): Andante 
15 Variations On An Original Theme ('Enigma'), Op.36: XIII. Romanza (***): Moderato 
16 Variations On An Original Theme ('Enigma'), Op.36: XIV. Finale (E.D.U.): Allegro - Presto 
17 Ma Mere L'oye: I. Pavane De La Belle Au Bois Dormant (Lent) 
18 Ma Mere L'oye: II. Petit Poucet (Tres Modere) 
19 Ma Mere L'oye: III. Laideronnette, Imperatrice Des Pagodes (Mouvement De Marche) 
20 Ma Mere L'oye: IV. Les Entretiens De La Belle Et De La Bete (Mouvement De Valse Modere) 
21 Ma Mere L'oye: V. Le Jardin Feerique (Lent Et Grave) 
22 Symphony No.2 'Resurrection': I. Allegro Maestoso 	

CD2
23 Symphony No.2 'Resurrection': II. Andante Moderato 24 Symphony No.2 'Resurrection': III. (Scherzo) In Ruhig Fliessender Bewegung 
25 Symphony No.2 'Resurrection': IV. 'Urlicht'. Sehr Feierlich, Aber Schlicht 'O Roschen Rot' 
26 Symphony No.2 'Resurrection': V. Im Tempo Des Scherzos. Wild Herausfahrend 
27 Symphony No.2 'Resurrection': V. Wieder Sehr Breit 	
28 Symphony No.2 'Resurrection': V. Molto Ritenuto. Maestoso 
29 Symphony No.2 'Resurrection': V. Wieder Zuruckhaltend 	
30 Symphony No.2 'Resurrection': V. Langsam. Misterioso 'Aufersteh'n, Ja Aufersteh'n Wirst Du' 
31 Symphony No.2 'Resurrection': V. Etwas Bewegter 'O Glaube, Mein Herz, O Glaube' 
32 Symphony No.2 'Resurrection': V. Mit Aufschwung, Aber Nicht Eilen 'O Schmerz, Du Alldurchdringer' 
33 Madama Butterfly: Conclusion Of Act I: Quest' Obi Pomposa Di Scioglier Mi Tarda 
34 Madama Butterfly: Conclusion Of Act I: Bimba Dagli Occhi Pieni Di Malia 
35 Madama Butterfly: Conclusion Of Act I: Vogliatemi Bene, Un Bene Piccolino 	

London Symphony Orchestra (1)
Hallé Orchestra (2-21)

Birgit Finnilä (Mezzo Soprano), 
Helen Donath (Soprano)
South German Radio Choir,  Stuttgart State High School for Music Choir
Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra (22-32)

Carlo Bergonzi (Tenor), 
Renata Scotto (Soprano)
Rome Opera House Orchestra (33-35)

Sir John Barbirolli - conductor

 

This compilation is a representative selection of composers closely associated with Barbirolli - Elgar, Ravel, Mahler, Puccini and Wagner. The stereo recording of Mahler's Second Symphony dates from 1970, the last year of Barbirolli's life. The conductor never recorded the 'Resurrection' Symphony commercially, so the inclusion of this live performance from Stuttgart is a major event for collectors. The Hallé recording of Elgar's 'Enigma' Variations (from 1956) has long been considered the finest of his recorded performances of the work, though a later recording (with the Philharmonia Orchestra in 1962) tended at first to overshadow it. Wagner's Overture to Die Meistersinger from 1969 has not been available on CD before. The extract from Barbirolli's famous Madama Butterfly (made in Rome in 1966) is a highlight from one of the regrettably few complete operas he recorded.

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administration@theblues-thatjazz.com (bluesever) Great Conductors Tue, 09 Oct 2012 16:56:17 +0000
Great Conductors of The 20th Century Vol. 37 - Fritz Reiner http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/en/classical/3392-great-conductors/13664-great-conductors-of-the-20th-century-vol-37-fritz-reiner.html http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/en/classical/3392-great-conductors/13664-great-conductors-of-the-20th-century-vol-37-fritz-reiner.html Great Conductors of The 20th Century Vol. 37 - Fritz Reiner

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CD1
1 Ludwig van Beethoven - Coriolan Overture, Op. 62	7:02
Johannes Brahms - Piano Concerto No. 2 in B flat major, Op. 83
2 I. Allegro non troppo	16:00
3 II. Allegro appassionato	8:09
4 III. Andante - Più adagio	11:59
5 IV. Allegretto grazioso - Un poco più presto	8:55
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Symphony No. 36 in C major ("Linz"), K. 425
6 I. Adagio - Allegro spiritoso	7:59
7 II. Andante	6:49
8 III. Menuetto - Trio	3:34
9 IV. Presto	4:44
Felix Mendelssohn - March for orchestra in D major ("Cornelius"), Op. 108
10 Scherzo	4:35

Chicago Symphony Orchestra (1-9)
he Robin Hood Dell Orchestra (Philadelphia Orchestra) (10)

CD2
1 Johannes Brahms - Tragic Overture, in D minor, Op. 81	12:03
Richard Wagner - Die Götterdämmerung (Twilight of the Gods), opera, WWV 86d
2 Morgendämmerung und Siegfrieds Rheinfahrt	13:22
Béla Bartók - Hungarian Sketches (Magyar képek), for orchestra, Sz. 97, BB 103
3 Swineherd's Dance	2:12
4 Richard Strauss - Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche, Op. 28 (TrV 171)	14:27
Maurice Ravel - Le tombeau de Couperin, for orchestra
5 I. Prélude. Vif	3:08
6 II. Forlane. Allegretto	3:31
7 III. Menuet. Allegro moderato		4:19
8 IV. Rigaudon. Assez vif	2:48
Manuel de Falla - El Amor brujo, ballet for mezzo-soprano & orchestra in 1 act, G. 68 
9 I. Introducción y Escena	0:29
10 II. En la cueva: La noche	1:41
11 III. Canción del amor dolido	1:30
12 IV. El aparecido	0:13
13 V. Danza del terror	1:54	
14 VI. El circulo mágico: Romance del pescador		1:53
15 VII. A media noche: Los sortilegios	0:34
16 VIII. Danza ritual del fuego: para ahuyentar los malos espíritus	3:53
17 IX. Escena	0:56
18 X. Canción del fuego fatuo	1:41
19 XI. Pantomima	4:12
20 XII. Danza del juego de amor		2:31
21 XIII. Final. Las campanas del amanecer	1:07

Chicago Symphony Orchestra (1-3)
RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra (4)
NBC Symphony Orchestra (5-8)
Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (9-21)

Fritz Reiner - conductor

 

One of the legendary podium giants of the 20th century, the Hungarian-American conductor Fritz Reiner was born in Budapest in 1888 and studied at the Franz Liszt Academy, where Bartók was one of his teachers. In 1914 he was appointed principal conductor of the Dresden Opera, where he worked with Richard Strauss, of whose music he would become a supreme interpreter. In 1922 he succeeded Eugène Ysaÿe as conductor of the Symphony Orchestra in Cincinnati, from where, in 1931, he went to the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia (where one of his conducting students was the young Leonard Bernstein). From 1938 to 1948, Reiner was music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and in 1953 he succeeded Rafael Kubelik in Chicago, where, over the next ten years, he made a series of recordings with the orchestra that have remained benchmarks to this day. He died in New York in 1963, aged 74.

Reiner became an American citizen in 1928, during his period as conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony. After his period on the faculty of the Curtis Institute, he moved in 1938 to Pittsburgh, rebuilding the orchestra into a first-rate ensemble, as can be heard here in a new transfer from the original metal parts of the 1946 recording of Falla's El amor brujo. After Pittsburgh, Reiner was active particularly as a guest conductor with orchestras in Philadelphia and New York and at the Metropolitan Opera. These years are represented in this compilation by recordings, new to CD, of Mendelssohn, Richard Strauss and Ravel. But the period for which Reiner will be particularly remembered is the ten years he spent as music director of the Chicago Symphony, heard here in rare recordings of the core repertoire (Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart and Wagner) in which Reiner excelled, and of Béla Bartók, the conductor's former teacher and a composer whose work he championed (not least by making the first commercial recording of Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra). --- bayreuthclassical.blogspot.com

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administration@theblues-thatjazz.com (bluesever) Great Conductors Sun, 17 Feb 2013 17:19:19 +0000
Great Conductors of The 20th Century Vol. 38 – Rafael Kubelik http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/en/classical/3392-great-conductors/13674-great-conductors-of-the-20th-century-vol-38--rafael-kubelik.html http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/en/classical/3392-great-conductors/13674-great-conductors-of-the-20th-century-vol-38--rafael-kubelik.html Great Conductors of The 20th Century Vol. 38 – Rafael Kubelik

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CD1
1. Antonin Dvorak - Slavonic Rhapsody in A flat minor Op.45 No.3 	12:05
Bohuslav Martinu - Symphony No.4, H305
2. I Poco moderato - Poco allegro - Allegro	6:19
3. II Scherzo. Allegro vivo - Trio. Moderato	7:58
4. III Largo	10:17
5. IV Poco Allegro	7:27	
6. Hector Berlioz - Dance of the Sylphs (Damnation de Faust)	2:42	
7. Felix Mendelssohn - A Midsummer Night's Dream Op.61: Overture	11:19
Paul Hindemith - Symphonic Metamorphosis on Themes by C. M. v. Weber
8. I. Allegro	4:19	
9. II. Turandot: Scherzo. Moderato - Lebhaft	7:41
10. III . Andantino	3:41
11. IV. Marsch		4:37

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (1)
Czech Philharmonic Orchestra (2-5)
Philharmonia Orchestra (6-7)
Chicago Symphony Orchestra (8-11)

CD2
1. Robert Schumann - Genoveva, Op. 81: Overture	9:37
Franz Schubert - Symphony No. 3 in D major D 200
2. I. Adagio maestoso - Allegro con brio		9:06
3. II. Allegretto		3:27	
4. III. Menuetto (Vivace) & Trio		4:41
5. IV. Presto vivace		4:51	
6. Mahler - Symphony No. 10: I. Adagio		24:05
Leos Janacek - Sinfonietta
7. I Fanfares. Allegretto - Allegro- Maestoso	2:07	
8. II Andante - Allegretto - Maestoso	5:23	
9. III Moderato		4:32
10. IV : Allegretto	2:35	
11. V : Andante con moto - Maestoso	6:17

Berliner Philharmoniker (1)
Wiener Philharmoniker (2-5, 7-11)
Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks (6)

Rafael Kubelik – conductor

 

Giving no regard to the advantages (and disadvantages) of a famous name, Rafael Kubelik (1914-1996) succeeded in conquering the world with his baton, just as his celebrated father Jan had conquered the world with his violin. In January 1934, fresh from the Prague Conservatory and not yet 20, Rafael Kubelik made his debut with the Czech Philharmonic. In October 1937 he took the orchestra on tour to Britain, deputising for Václav Talich, and was hailed as 'one of the most gifted conductors of the day'. During the first years of he so-called Protectorate, Kubelik directed the Brno Opera. In 1942, following the closure of the theatre there, he took over Talich's orchestra as chief and, despite Nazi oppression, successfully maintained a high profile for Czech music. After liberation, Kubelik established the Prague Spring International Festival. Then came the Communist coup in February 1948. Finding the limitations imposed on artistic freedom unacceptable and vowing not to return until democracy had been restored, Kubelik emigrated to England, where the BBC hoped he would succeed Sir Adrian Boult. Instead, his burgeoning international career took him to Chicago. On his return to London, Kubelik was engaged for three seasons at Covent Garden (1955-58), achieving phenomenal success with Jenufa and Les Troyens. Meanwhile, he was in ever increasing demand at major festivals, especially Salzburg and Lucerne. By 1961 he was at the helm of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, remaining with them until the mid-1980s. News of the 'Velvet Revolution' in his homeland so rejuvenated Kubelik that he came out of retirement to conduct his old orchestra in an unforgettable performance of Smetana's Má vlast for the opening concert of the 1990 Prague Spring Festival.

The recordings have been chosen to reflect the musical institutions and repertoire with which Kubelik was most closely associated during his career. Czech music and the Czech Philharmonic are strongly represented. Kubelik gave the Prague premiere of Martinu's Symphony No.4 in 1946, and took it on tour to Paris, Brussels, Geneva and Poland before recording it in June 1948, shortly before he emigrated to the West. This rare recording is reissued here for the fist time on CD. His musical life in England included a fruitful relationship with Walter Legge's Philharmonia Orchestra, heard here in Berlioz (a reminder of Kubelik's championship of Les Troyens, which he performed during his period at Covent Garden) and Mendelssohn. In Chicago (1950-53) he was as keen as ever to programme contemporary music and a particular favourite was Hindemith's orchestral showpiece, a superb vehicle for the virtuosity of his Chicago players. Back in Europe, Kubelik made recordings in Vienna, including this vital reading of Janácek's Sinfonietta, an essential item throughout his career, and the superbly played Schubert 3rd Symphony. Following his appointment in Munich in 1961, Kubelik recorded mainly with German orchestras. With the Berlin Philharmonic he recorded the complete symphonies of Dvorák and Schumann, and the crowning glory of his years with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra was the recording of the complete Mahler symphonies. --- bayreuthclassical.blogspot.com

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administration@theblues-thatjazz.com (bluesever) Great Conductors Tue, 19 Feb 2013 17:41:15 +0000
Great Conductors of The 20th Century Vol. 39 - Sergiu Celibidache http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/en/classical/3392-great-conductors/13704-great-conductors-of-the-20th-century-vol-39-sergiu-celibidache.html http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/en/classical/3392-great-conductors/13704-great-conductors-of-the-20th-century-vol-39-sergiu-celibidache.html Great Conductors of The 20th Century Vol. 39 - Sergiu Celibidache

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CD1
1  	Nielsen – Maskarade – Overture
Berwald: Symphonie singulière
2	I Allegro Fuocoso			
3	II adagio			
4	III Finale. Presto
Mendelssohn: Symphony No.4 'Italian'
5	I Allegro Vivace			
6	II Andante Con Moto			
7	III Con Moto Moderato			
8	IV Saltarello. Presto
Tchaikovsky: 'The Nutcracker' - 4 dances from Suite Op.71a	
9	Marche			
10	Danse Russe (Trepak)			
11	Danse Chinoise			
12	Danse des Mirlitons

Danish National Symphony Orchestra (1)
Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra (2-4)
Berliner Philharmoniker (5-8)
London Philharmonic Orchestra (9-12)

CD2
1	Hilding Rosenberg - Marionetter: Overture
Heinz Tiessen - 'Hamlet' Suite		
2	I Corspiel (Sturmische Winternacht Am Meer, Auf Der Einsamen Scholssterrasse)	
3	II Ophelias Tod (Intermezzo Nach Dem 4. Akt)			
4	III Totenmarsch (Schluss Des 5. Aktes)		
Mozart: Symphony No.25 K183	
5	I Allegro con brio			
6	II Andante			
7	III Menuetto			
8	IV Allegro
Prokofiev: Symphony No.1 'Classical'
9	I Allegro			
10	II Larghetto			
11	III Gavotta. Non Troppo Allegro			
12	IV Finale. Molto Vivace	
13	Johann Strauss II - Die Fledermaus: Ouverture			
14	Annen-Polka, Op.117			
15	Tritsch-Tratsch-Polka, Op.214			
16	Johann Strauss I – Radetsky Marsch, Op.228

Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra (1)
Radio-Symphonie-Orchester Berlin (2-4)
London Philharmonic Orchestra (5-8)
Berliner Philharmoniker (9-12)
Danish National Symphony Orchestra (13-16)

 

Sergiu Celibidache was born in 1912 in the Moldavian region of Romania. He revealed remarkable talents for music, dance and intellectual pursuits at a very early age. In 1936 he moved via Paris to Berlin, where he studied with Heinz Tiessen, who became his musical mentor. Though Martin Steinke was his spiritual guide, he owed his most profound experiences to the concerts of Wilhelm Furtwängler. When Furtwängler was blacklisted at the end of the war and his designated successor, Leo Borchard, was accidentally shot dead, Celibidache assumed control of the Berlin Philharmonic 'overnight'. He quickly reformed the scattered remains of the orchestra into a first-rate ensemble and roused the spirits of the Berliners with his ecstatic fervour. On Furtwängler's return to the orchestra, the two men shared the duties of principal conductor. Celibidache's last concert with the BPO was on the day before Furtwängler's death in 1954. A fortnight later the position of principal conductor was given to Herbert von Karajan, who was thought to have superior marketing potential. In contrast, Celibidache, who stopped making commercial recordings altogether in 1953, criss-crossed the globe as a much sought-after, and feared, trainer of orchestras. For many years he worked mainly with radio orchestras in Sweden, Denmark and southern Germany, elevating them to heights they would never reach again. It was not until 1979, when he took charge of the Munich Philharmonic, that he again became the official principal conductor of a body of musicians, which, as he had promised, he shaped into an ensemble of inimitable quality and world stature. He remained with the orchestra until his death in 1996.

Though Celibidache's 1948 studio recordings have been available on CD before, this compilation offers new remasterings of Mozart and Tchaikovsky with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Prokofiev with the Berlin Philharmonic. The more recent material on these 2 CDs is taken from radio broadcasts made between 1953 (the year Celibidache stopped making commercial discs) and 1970. New to the conductor's discography are Mendelssohn's 'Italian' Symphony from Berlin in 1953, Berwald's best known work and an 'exquisitely wrought' overture by Hilding Rosenberg, made in Stockholm in 1962, the year of Celibidache's debut with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, and extracts from the 1970 Christmas concert in Copenhagen (featuring winning performances of Nielsen and the Strauss family). The real rarity here is another radio broadcast new to CD: the music inspired by Shakespeare's Hamlet was included in a concert given in Berlin in 1957 as a tribute to Heinz Tiessen, Celibidache's teacher, on the occasion of the composer's 70th birthday. --- bayreuthclassical.blogspot.com

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administration@theblues-thatjazz.com (bluesever) Great Conductors Mon, 25 Feb 2013 17:26:34 +0000
Great Conductors of The 20th Century Vol. 40 - Wilhelm Furtwangler http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/en/classical/3392-great-conductors/13715-great-conductors-of-the-20th-century-vol-40-wilhelm-furtwangler.html http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/en/classical/3392-great-conductors/13715-great-conductors-of-the-20th-century-vol-40-wilhelm-furtwangler.html Great Conductors of The 20th Century Vol. 40 - Wilhelm Furtwangler

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CD1
Beethoven: Symphony No.3 'Eroica'
1	I Allegro con brio 
2	II Marcia Funebre. Adagio Assai
3	III Scherzo. Allegro Vivace
4	IV Finale. Allegro Molto
Beethoven: Symphony No.9 'Choral' (beginning)
5	I Allegro Ma Non Troppo, Un Poco Maestoso 
6	II Molto Vivace

Wiener Philharmoniker (1-4)
Berliner Philharmoniker (5-6)

CD2
Beethoven: Symphony No.9 'Choral' (conclusion)
(with Erna Berger, Gertrude Pitzinger, Walther Ludwig & Rudolf Watzke)
1	III Adagio Molto E Cantabile See All 2
2	IV Presto See All 4
3	Rezitativo: 'O Freunde, Nicht Diese Tone!'
Beethoven: Symphony No.5
4	I Allegro con brio See All 9
5	II Andante Con Moto See All 8
6	III Allegro See All 3
7	IV Allegro

Philharmonischer Chor Berlin (1-3)
Berliner Philharmoniker (1-7)

Wilhelm Furtwangler – conductor

 

Wilhelm Furtwängler was born in Berlin in 1886, the eldest son of the leading archaeologist of his time and of a painter. His musical gifts were apparent early, and he was educated by private tutors, often while travelling in Greece, Italy and Egypt. He began composing as soon as he could play the piano, and always regarded himself as primarily a composer, though one who was waylaid by conducting. Furtwängler was, in a conscious way, the successor to the German Idealist philosophers and the great line of Classical composers, and also to Wagner. He rapidly achieved fame and became chief conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic on the death of Arthur Nikisch in 1922. This remained the orchestra with which he was most closely associated, though his links with the Vienna Philharmonic were also strong, and he conducted many other orchestras in Europe and the Americas. When the Nazis came to power in 1933, Furtwängler was torn between his allegiance to the great humanist tradition he represented (and felt that he should maintain), and his abhorrence of the racist-cultural policies of the Nazis. There were angry confrontations, but in the end he stayed in Germany, and this decision gave rise to great hostility towards him, especially in the USA. He spent his last years living in Switzerland, but touring in many countries, and died exhausted in November 1954. His posthumous reputation and influence has grown ever larger in the intervening decades.

Though Furtwängler had intense feelings for the whole mainstream German tradition, including Wagner, his hero was Beethoven. As Michael Tanner explains in the essay accompanying this set: 'The element of titanic struggle in Beethoven's work, the aspiration to overcome all manner of obstacles by dint of the heroic will, and the achievement of ecstasy, exaltation and ultimate serenity, were what Furtwängler was supremely concerned with and what led him to perform Beethoven's symphonies far more often than any other works.' Of the nine symphonies, the Fifth is the one he conducted most during his career (and there are no fewer than eleven versions available on record, from 1926 [his first ever recording] to 1954). The hitherto unissued live performance in this compilation dates from the darkest days of the Second World War and at a concert that had to take place in the State Opera House (because by then the Berlin Philharmonic's concert hall had been bombed by the Allies). Furtwängler tended to perform the 'Eroica' and 'Choral' symphonies less often and to hold them in reserve for particular occasions. The occasion for this previously unreleased 'Eroica' was a concert given by the Vienna Philharmonic in Munich, between visits to the Salzburg and Edinburgh Festivals in September 1953, and the 'Choral' Symphony was performed at the first of two concerts by the Berlin Philharmonic in London, prior to a Wagner Ring cycle conducted byFurtwängler at Covent Garden in May 1937.

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administration@theblues-thatjazz.com (bluesever) Great Conductors Wed, 27 Feb 2013 19:47:49 +0000
Great Conductors of the 20th Century Vol.05 - Fritz Busch http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/en/classical/3392-great-conductors/12973-great-conductors-of-the-20th-century-vol05-fritz-busch.html http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/en/classical/3392-great-conductors/12973-great-conductors-of-the-20th-century-vol05-fritz-busch.html Great Conductors of the 20th Century Vol.05 - Fritz Busch

CD1
01. Beethoven- Leonore Overture No 2 (13:46)
02. Mozart- Symphony No 36- I. Adagio - Allegro spiritoso (7:28)
03. Mozart- Symphony No 36- II. Andante (7:14)
04. Mozart- Symphony No 36- III. Menuetto - Trio (3:34)
05. Mozart- Symphony No 36- IV. Presto (5:10)
06. Mendelssohn- Symphony No 4- I. Allegro vivace (8:34)
07. Mendelssohn- Symphony No 4- II. Andante con moto (6:25)
08. Mendelssohn- Symphony No 4- III. Con moto moderato (6:20)
09. Mendelssohn- Symphony No 4- IV. Saltarello. Presto (6:05)
10. Brahms- Tragic Overture (12:44)

CD2
01. Weber- Der Freischutz- Overture (8:31)
02. Haydn- Sinfonia Concertante in B-flat Major- I. Allegro (9:17)
03. Haydn- Sinfonia Concertante in B-flat Major- II. Andante (4:57)
04. Haydn- Sinfonia Concertante in B-flat Major- III. Allegro con spirito (6:44)
05. Brahms- Symphony No 2- I. Allegro non troppo (13:29)
06. Brahms- Symphony No 2- II. Adagio non troppo - L'istesso tempo, ma grazioso (8:45)
07. Brahms- Symphony No 2- III. Allegretto grazioso (Quasi andantino) - Presto ma (4:47)
08. Brahms- Symphony No 2- IV. Allegro con spirito (8:03)
09. Strauss- Don Juan (15:10)

Danish State Radio Symphony
London Philharmonic
Fritz Busch - conductor

 

This compilation is a representative collection of the best work for the gramophone of Fritz Busch, generally considered to be one of the finest of Classical conductors, following in the footsteps of Weingartner and Toscanini. Rarities here are studio recordings of Strauss's Don Juan (from 1936), Haydn's Sinfonia concertante (from 1951) and Mozart's 'Linz' Symphony (from 1949), all of which have never officially appeared on CD. Also included are Busch's famous performance of Brahms's Symphony No.2 (from 1947), and Weber's Overture to Der Freischütz (from 1948), a real rarity transferred for this release from 78rpm pressings. The live recordings of Mendelssohn's 'Italian' Symphony, Brahms's Tragic Overture and Beethoven's 'Leonore' Overture No.2 (all from 1950) are here presented for the first time officially on CD and in new remasterings made at Abbey Road Studios. ---Editorial Reviews

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administration@theblues-thatjazz.com (bluesever) Great Conductors Sat, 13 Oct 2012 18:32:40 +0000
Great Conductors of the 20th Century Vol.06 - Andre Cluytens http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/en/classical/3392-great-conductors/12985-great-conductors-of-the-20th-century-vol06-andre-cluytens.html http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/en/classical/3392-great-conductors/12985-great-conductors-of-the-20th-century-vol06-andre-cluytens.html Great Conductors of the 20th Century Vol.06 - Andre Cluytens

CD1
1. Bizet: Symphony in C Major: I. Allegro vivo
2. Bizet: Symphony in C Major: II. Adagio
3. Bizet: Symphony in C Major: III. Scherzo. Allegro vivace
4. Bizet: Symphony in C Major: IV. Finale. Allegro vivace
5. Debussy: Images pour orchestre: No 1: Gigues
6. Debussy: Images pour orchestre: No 2: Iberia: I. Par les rues et par les chemins
7. Debussy: Images pour orchestre: No 2: Iberia: II. Les parfums de la nuit
8. Debussy: Images pour orchestre: No 2: Iberia: III. Le matin d'un jour de fete
9. Debussy: Images pour orchestre: No 3: Rondes de printemps
10. Ravel: La Valse

CD2
1. Bizet: Symphony in C Major: I. Allegro vivo
2. Bizet: Symphony in C Major: II. Adagio
3. Bizet: Symphony in C Major: III. Scherzo. Allegro vivace
4. Bizet: Symphony in C Major: IV. Finale. Allegro vivace
5. Debussy: Images pour orchestre: No 1: Gigues
6. Debussy: Images pour orchestre: No 2: Iberia: I. Par les rues et par les chemins
7. Debussy: Images pour orchestre: No 2: Iberia: II. Les parfums de la nuit
8. Debussy: Images pour orchestre: No 2: Iberia: III. Le matin d'un jour de fete
9. Debussy: Images pour orchestre: No 3: Rondes de printemps
10. Ravel: La Valse

    Boris Christoff - bass
    Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
    Chorus of the National Opera of Sofia
    Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire
    Orchestre du Théâtre National de l'Opéra
    Orchestre National de la Radiodiffusion Française
    Philharmonia Orchestra
    André Cluytens - conductor

 

In his heyday, the 1950s and '60s, André Cluytens never quite enjoyed the international stature of Munch, Paray, Ansermet, and Monteux, to name just some of his rivals in the Gallic repertory. By and large that contemporary judgement appears to have been correct, but the current spate of reissues of Cluytens' recordings by Testament and the persistence of some of his best in an EMI catalog notorious for its swift deletions indicate that the gap, if there was one, was narrow. So it's gratifying to find this Belgian-born staple of the French orchestral and operatic scene included in EMI's Great Conductors series. The selections aim at providing a comprehensive overview of his specialties, always difficult with one whose career was weighted toward opera and whose repertoire spanned the French, German, and Russian schools.v So Cluytens' much-admired Beethoven goes unrepresented here, while only the brief Act 3 Prelude from Lohengrin serves as a reminder of his stint at Bayreuth, and some 10 minutes of the Coronation Scene from Boris Godunov remains as evidence of his work in the Russian repertoire where his gift for color served him so well. This latter excerpt, by the way, offers a sampling of Boris Christoff's unforgettable czar. The lengthiest non-French item is Schumann's Manfred Overture with the Berlin Philharmonic, where Cluytens demonstrates his affinity for German Romanticism, a feeling for the dramatic thrust the piece needs, and a preference for lighter textures, which the piece also needs.

But you can't fault the producers for their ultimate repertoire choices since the bulk of Cluytens' recording career was devoted to French music, of which he was an outstanding exponent. Bizet's Symphony in C is the same performance recently reissued on Testament and reviewed here (type Q5489 in Search Reviews). The excellence of the performance still shines through, although EMI's transfer adds reverberation, slightly exaggerates the nasality of winds and horns, places the instruments in a more distant perspective, and introduces a tubbier bass along with some congestion, none of which was apparent in Testament's transfer.

With Cluytens' 1963 Debussy Images with the Paris Conservatory Orchestra we're back to stereo and stay there for the remainder of the set. In the Debussy, as in the Ravel La Valse with the Philharmonia from 1958 that follows it, Cluytens generates a riot of orchestral color that extends from the neatly projected pianissimos all the way to the massive climaxes. Balances are well-judged and there's a fine rhythmic thrust to both performances, with Cluytens especially alive to La Valse's portrait of a disintegrating Old World culture.

EMI offers Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique in a live 1964 concert performance from Tokyo with the Paris Conservatory Orchestra. His first recording of the work, from 1955, is available on another recent Testament release (type Q5508 in Search Reviews) and his 1958 studio remake on EMI has been intermittently available. This one differs from the others only in small details. Compared with the Testament version, three of the five movements share virtually identical timings; the "Scene in the Country" is slightly more flowing in 1964, and there's more zip to the "Witches' Sabbath" finale. The stereo sonics reveal greater detail, especially in the percussion, and the strings display a ravishing sheen in the first movement. While the "March to the Scaffold" generates more tension in 1964, the brass, perhaps fatigued toward the end of a concert, lack weight and ideal precision. As with its predecessors, this live Symphonie is a good performance that doesn't erase memories of the best rivals on disc, among which Munch (RCA) and Bernstein (Sony) reign supreme. All in all, a fine tribute to a conductor worthy of renewed interest. ---Dan Davis, Classics Today.com

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administration@theblues-thatjazz.com (bluesever) Great Conductors Mon, 15 Oct 2012 16:46:28 +0000