Views
6 years ago

Volume 14 - Issue 3 - November 2008

OLD WINE IN NEW

OLD WINE IN NEW BOTTLESFine old recordings re-released By Bruce SwteesDavid Oistrakhemerged from SovietRussia in themid 1950s and wasimmediatelysigned by EMI tobecome that company'smost illustrious'house' violinist.The entirefruits of this relationship are now available on17 CDs in a super-bargain package, TheComplete EMI Recordings (5099921471223), to commemorate the lOOth anniversaryof his birth.Among the works in this monumental collectionare two versions of the Beethovenconcerto, two Triple Concertos, two Brahmsconcertos and two Doubles, both Prokofievconcertos, the entire Mozart works for violinand orchestra, together with repertoire andoff-repertoire from the concertos of Bruch,Khachaturian, Lalo, and Shostakovich toTaneyev's Suite de Concert. There is awealth of sonatas, chamber music and shortencore pieces . Many recordings in this setare available on CD for the first time. Soundquality and production are state-of-the-art.Honestly, deciding what to hear next is akinto the dilemma of a kid in a candy store.The post-war, agingAlfred Cortot waspreceded by aformidable pre-warreputation as a solopianist in theRomanticrepertoire and as amember of thelegendary trio withThibaud andCasals. Pristinetransfers of the 1953 EMI recordings of theChopin's Second Piano Sonata along withSchumann's Kinderszenen and Carnaval(NAXOS 8.111327) reveal that although histechnical dexterity was not up to the pre-warlevel his interpretive insights remained true.Errors and omissions excepted.One of the most admired and respectedcellists of the 20th century, Pierre Fournierwas in his prime inthe period of the1950s and early1960s. He is heardon a Medici ArtsCD (MM028-2) inthe Elgar andDvorak Concertosin live performanceswith the CologneRadio Symphony. Hans Ros baud conductsthe Elgar (1955) and George Szell the Dvorak(1962). Fournier's recordings of both for DGare available but these live renditions areclearly better representations of this superbcellist and musician. Great sound.He may not have acquired the fame or cultfollowing of Heifetz or Oistrakh but JosephFuchs undoubtedly deserved to be in the topleague of 20thcentury violinmasters. Active asa soloist andchambermusician,frequently with hisequally respectedviolist sister,Lillian Fuchs,Joseph enjoyed an illustrious career and leftnumerous recordings as evidence of hisspecial artistry and sweet, irresistiblesonority. In 1952 with pianist Arthur Balsamhe recorded the 10 Beethoven Sonatas forDecca that were issued in a limited"Autograph Edition" of2500 copies. Naxoshas issued their second CD of stunningtransfers containing 5, 6, and 7 (8.111252)which follows Volume 1 containing Sonatas Ithrough 4 (8.111251) . These long overduereissues are important additions to thecatalogue, especially in such vital sound.Mariss Jansons is the conductor of theConcertgebouw Orchestra in addition to guestconducting with the world's great ensembles.Among Jansons' early appointments was asassociate conductorof the LeningradPhilharmonic in1973 . He recordedthe threeRachmaninovSymphonies from1992 to 1998 withthat orchestra, bythen renamed theSt PetersburgPhilharmonic, together with the SymphonicDances, op .45, Isle of the Dead op.29,Scherza in D minor and the famous Vocalise.When first issued each symphony was a topchoice among critics. Now all these thrilling,dynamic performances, opulently recorded,are available on a three CD set, modestlypriced as a single disc (EMI 509995 008852).A reminder that the DVD of the SymphonieFantastique with Jansons and the BerlinPhilharmonic, live from the Saint IreneChurch in Istanbul, is without a doubt themost electrifying performance around, bothsonically and visuallytoo (EuroArts2051229). Recorded ontheir 2001 EuropeanTour, the DVDincludes Haydn's 94th,Mozart's 2nd FluteConcerto (EmmanuelPahud) and a tour ofIstanbul. A real gem'In 1985, film makerTony Palmer celebrated the 300thanniversary of Handel's birth with a brilliantfilm God Rot Tunbridge Wells using anentertainment written by John Osborne. 2009marks the 250th anniversary of the death ofMr. Georg Frederic Handel, hence theissue of that film on DVD on Tony Palmer'sown label (TPDVD114) newly remastered to16:9 aspect ratio and in excellent sound. Thisis not a film biographylike Song to Rememberor Song without Endlaced with impossiblescenes , bothapocryphal andanachronistic. HereHandel declaims to allwho will listen or careto hear (i.e. us) anillustrated soliloquy ofunvarnishedremembrances,brilliantly delivered byTrevor Howard as the aged Handel. Weglimpse Handel as a prodigy, a youngcomposer and performer, on through histriumphs and failure, to bankruptcy andpoverty. This is really an entertaining andcaptivating production, appropriatelyillustrated by vocal performances byElizabeth Harwood, James Bowman, EmmaKirkby , Anthony Rolfe-Johnson, JohnShirley-Quirk and also Simon Preston, organ,and pianist Andrei Gavrilov. The EnglishChamber Orchestra is conducted by SirCharles Mackerras. I enjoyed thisimmensely and recommend it.As a footnote, there is a rather pleasantBritish film, "The Great Mr. Handel" (1942)starring Wilfred Lawson who is not toodissimilar in appearance to Trevor Howard(unfortunately not available on DVD on thisside of the Pacific) . Also, Trevor Howardplays Wagner to the hilt in Visconti's 1973film "Ludwig", an extravagant, four hourbiography of Ludwig II just released on a 2DVDs by KOCH LORBER (741952308799).60WWW, THEWHOLENOTE ,COMN OVEMBER 1 - D ECEMBER 7 2008

Saturday,December 6, 2008 at 7:30pmToronto Centre for the ArtsGeorge Weston Recital Hall5040 Yonge Street(north of Sheppard Ave.)Tickets: and at the Toronto Centrebox office or TicketMaster at 416.870.8000BACH~~~~~Company in Residenceat the Toronto Centrefor the Artsbachorus.orgThe Boch Childr11n 1 1 Choru1, o member of Choirs Ontario, is grateful for funding received from the Ontario Ar1s (oun

Volumes 21-25 (2015-2020)

Volumes 16-20 (2010-2015)

Volumes 11-15 (2004-2010)

Volumes 6 - 10 (2000 - 2006)

Volumes 1-5 (1994-2000)