8 years ago

Volume 11 Issue 1 - September 2005

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ROY THOMSON HALL IntimateJy Powerful Mahler, too , as these recordings will certify. Pierre Monteux's acclaimed Franck Symphony with the Chicago and Petrouchka with the Boston, both sounding newly minted, are now disc-mates and will be lauded by a new generation (8287667897). Fresh from winning first prize in the first Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow in 1958 Van Cliburn performed the Rachmaninoff Third in Carnegie Hall with Kiri! Kondrashin on the podium . This is that live performance coupled with the Prokofiev Third recorded in Chicago under Walter Hendl (82876 67894). Neither performance is routine and those hearing them for the first time will be quite surprised at Cliburn's originality. Arthur Rubinstein has left for posterity his two Chopin Concertos (82876 67902) and Charles Munch's Gallic Beethoven Fifth and Sixth with the Boston, which may or may not convince, live (82876 67898). Anna Moffa singing eight arias in 1960 runs only 44 minutes and, as fine as it is, may appeal only to the soprano's fans (82876 67905). RCA has 50 CDs in their Red Seal Classic Library. These reissues of sought after discs date back to Toscanini's Brahms First and Second Symphonies from 1951/52 through to almost the end of the century. When these discs first arrived I was rather indifferent to more reissues as simply a make-work project for an A&R person. I was wrong because these turn out to be outstanding new transfers originating mostly from Sonopress Studios in Germany. The variety of repertoire is also surprising: Messiaen's Turangalfla Symphony, Granados's Goyescas, and Weill's Seven Deadly Sins plus symphonies by Brahms, Prokofiev, Borodin, Bruckner, Mahler, Beethoven, Berlioz, Tchaikovsky, and Schubert. others. Of the highest quality, this well priced series is well worth dipping into. Included in the latest batch of Original Masters sets are Clifford Curzon Volume 3 (475 6786, 6 CDs) and George Szell's recordings for Decca and Philips (475 6780, 5 CDs). The Curzon box continues the omnibus re-issues of his recordings, these from 1937 to 1971. Curzon's admirers will snap it up, while others will check the repertoire. Composers are Schubert, Mozart, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, Grieg, and Liszt. Curzon fascinates me because, while he exhibits no technical difficulties, I distinctly hear in his playing some kind of internal conflict. It is as if he were competing within himself for control of his fingers. A suave player he was not and each performance has textures unique to him. Listen to the Liszt Sonata to, perhaps, clue into what I am describing. He doesn't seem to exhibit this to such an extent in the concertos (Mozart 23, Tchaikovsky 1, Rachmaninoff3, Grieg, and Brahms 1 & 2) or the Mozart Piano Quartets. Could it be a comfort level missing when he was the sole focus of attention? That being said, I continue to be drawn back to this and the earlier albums just to hear this man play. WWW, THEWHOLENOTE.COM Lots of concertos, chamber and orchestral music, too . Artists, all doing what they do best, include Richter, Rubinstein, Horowitz, Maazel, Perlman, Kissin, Renee Fleming, Marianne Faithful, Temirkanov Gatti, Solti , Caballe, Wand, and Curzon's favourite conductor was George Szell, with whom he recorded in London and often guested in Cleveland. Szell's European recordings include his heaven-storming Sibelius Second and the Beethoven Fifth (Concertgebouw) and the Tchaikovsky Fourth (LSO). Here is a different Szell from the martinet of Cleveland. Other works include the 1951 mono recordings of the Brahms Third and Dvorak Eighth (Concertgebouw) over which Szell's disciples will be able to debate the differences and similarities with the Cleveland versions. The transfers are superior to some earlier incarnations. Bruce Surtees S EPTEMB ER 1 - O CTOBER 7 2005 Rf'L- tn l'. rl I nrlov

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