8 years ago

Volume 12 - Issue 5 - February 2007

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  • February
  • Toronto
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During the 1960s my

During the 1960s my friend Paul Robinson andI would drive madly to Cleveland on selectedSaturday afternoons to hear George Szell conductinghis orchestra that evening. Every concertwas a thrilling event, whatever the repertoire.What we heard in the hall was never quitecaptured on LP, for which there were manyreasons put forward by Columbia Records' personnelwho usually placed the responsibilitysquarely on Szell's shoulders. However, itseems that the original tapes truthfully recordedwhat was heard in the hall because Sony'snew 10 CD set, Szell Conducts and PlaysMozart (82876-86793-2) corrects all the shortcomingsof the original issues. Sony states that"these recordings wereremixed and remasteredfrom the original sourceusing Sony's DirectStream Digital (DSD) Systemand SMB Direct."The results are quite wonderful.Here are refreshingly articulate performancesof symphonies, divertimenti, serenades,overtures, concerti with distinguishedsoloists; Exultate, Jubilate (Judith Raskin) andmore. As an unexpected and enjoyable plus,Szell plays two piano quartets with membersof the Budapest String Quartet and four sonataswith Rafael Druian (his first violin). ConductorsRobert Shaw, Louis Lane, and ErichLeinsdorf are briefly heard. Highly recommendedto Mozart lovers and to those whowould like to hear why Szell's Mozart was,and remains, so highly esteemed.Before we move on from Sony's revelatoryDSD remasterings, three other recent releasesusing that technology are worth noting:In 1941/42 Toscanini re- e ~ < • ' , = ..,..,corded eight works with ARruRoToscANlNIthe Philadelphia Or- -- . - . ·chestra, certainly a farmore polished group than _,,,. ""."""his NBC Orchestra. The - "" ;-~=-== ·· :~masters of these fine performanceswere, we are told, severely disfiguredin the plating process and not commerciallyviable. RCA had issued make-doreconstructions in both their omnibus Toscaninicollections on LP and CD.This new DSD remastering on three CDs(RCA 86797 02331-2) presents a very convincingargument for hi-tech restorations as themostly clean sound is dynamic and very realistic.And, while we do hear some artifacts ofthe original 78rpm masters, wisely left alone,the results are captivating and the performancesarresting, ample evidence of the Maestro'slegendary ardour and focus. Included are TheSchubert Ninth, Tchaikovsky Sixth, Tod undVerklarung, La Mer and Iberia, Feste Romane,The Queen Mab Scherzo, and some IncidentalMusic to A Midsummer Night's Dream.Also from Philadelphia, Eugene Ormandyconducts the Mahler First including the beautifulBlumine movement which Mahler had deleted.In 1969 this was still a sumptuous , virtuoso68OLD WINE IN NEW BOTTLESFINE OLD RECORDINGS RE-RELEASED by Bruce Surteesorchestra and Ormandydraws a powerful performancewith some charminglyeffective portamenti, now inspectacular sound, togetherwith Songs of a Wayfarer ( 4only) with Frederica vonStade and Andrew Davis and the LondonPhilharmonic (82876-76233-2) . Collectors willrecall that in 1935 RCA issued a live MahlerSecond with Ormandy and The MinneapolisSymphony on 22 78rpm sides.Finally, in this DSDcherry picked group of ex-•ceptional performancesLeonard Bernstein con-•ducts the New York Philharmonicin Petrouchkaand Pulcinella togetherwith a spoken appreciationof Stravinsky and a scene by scene descriptionof Petrouchka (82876-78749-2). Since Bernsteinleft us, there had been no one with the wit andpanache and musicianship to take his place.Perhaps there never will be.Bernstein recorded Liszt's Faust Symphonytwice, once for Columbia with the New YorkPhilharmonic in 1960 and a spectacular performancein 1976 with The Boston Symphonyfor DG. A live performance from 26 July 1976was broadcast on PBS and those of us who sawit have never forgotten the emotional impact.This astounding work in three movements,Faust, Gretchen, and Mephistopheles, wastailor-made for a Bernsteinperformance and theBoston Symphony gives ittheir all. The TanglewoodFestival Chorus, and tenorsoloist Kenneth Riegel jointhem in the final peroration,replete with organ, inwhich it is revealed that " insufficiency becomesfulfillment, here the indescribable is accomplished,the ever-womanly draws us heavenward."Released now on a EuroArts DVD(2072078) in colour, 4:3 picture and 5: 1 sound,I have enjoyed this quite a few times since receivingit.Colin Davis is heardwith the Boston Symphonyon regular occasionsand in 1979 Philipsrecorded the Romeo andJuliet Overture and anunusual I 812 completewith organ, chorus andterrifyingly real cannons. Also some Sibelius:Pohjola 's Daughter, Valse Triste, and theKarelia Suite. Now on a hybrid CD/SACDThe World's Leading Classical Music Label!Di A.'IOOIA"lC'L.\."S~ -G~f;sJll'roe$ SymplwuyThtU*!blno..--11sy~Or!Mlit,.• MarinA1'Df>Philip Glass - Heroes SymphonyBournemouth Symphony OrchestraMarin Alsop, conductor8559325Wenzel Piehl - SymphoniesToronto Chamber OrchestraKevin Mallon, conductor8557761give . ~tile HMV gift card• Over 3,000 titles• All digital recordings• New recordings and compositions monthly• Critical acclaim in all key classical publications• Featuring great Canadian artistsAll this at an astonishingly low price!Johannes Brahms - Symphony No. 3London Philharmonic OrchestraMarin Alsop, conductor8557430The Plow That Broke The Plains I The RiverFilms by Pare LorentzScores by Virgil Thomson2110521Available at: HMV 333 Yonge St., TORONTOmusic• DVD• more HMVCarl Orff - Carmina BuranaBournemouth SO & ChorusMarin Alsop, conductor8570033WINDS 0 1" NAGUALJ)\ ofik •GM llnp ~~> · C al!t'< •Rrn..i.) -1\ (IN>l;o, •­n.., OtoiQ Stm" tHl>Cl'

(PentaTone 5186164), the extra informationextracted by the DSD technology is impressiveindeed, altogether more evocative thanformerly.In the 1960s, the twofinest clarinettists inNorth America wereHarold Wright andStanley Drucker. Thehighly esteemed Wrightwas the principal of theBoston Symphony whileDrucker held that post with the New York Philharmonic.Both can be heard on a new DORE-MI disc (DHR-5709) with the Juilliard Quartetplaying the Mozart Quintet K.581 (Wright1963, mono) and the Brahms Opus 115(Drucker 1968, stereo). How differently theyplay and yet each is perfect for the composer.Throughout the Mozart, particularly in theLarghetto, Wright and the ensemble seem tobe telling us a story. Drucker, darker hued, isperfect for Brahms' Impressionist-like work,which happens to be my very favourite forthis instrument. Beautifully transferred fromthe Library of Congress' live tapes, this is agenuine find for lovers of chamber music.Bruce SurteesTravel is more than just A to B. Travel should help y ou hit all of life s high notes.Before the curtain rises, fall f or the Pre-Theatre Express Menu at Tundra,steps awiry from Toronto's opera house and entertainment district.Award-winning cuisine & wine await from 5 to 10:30 pm daiJy.Cocktails & tapas in Tundra Bar until 11:30 pm da iJy.For reservations call (416) 860- 6800®.HiltonTorontoTravel should take you placesTUNDRA145 Richmond Street West, Toronto, Ontario M5H 2L2 Tel: (416) 869-3456 • Fax: (416) 869-3187co & ovoAudio Surround 5.1Locatelli I Enescu I Piazolla IRidout I Glick I Brubeck ICampagnoliAn exquisite homage tothe violin.WORLD PREMIERESrul Irving Glick I Serenade & DanceDave Brubeck I Bourree" A brilliant violinist... "The TimesF EB RUARY 1 - M ARCH 7 200 7W W W . THEWHOLENO TE.COM69

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