The Cosmopolitan in London
Balakirev and Roussel Symphonies
conducted by Herbert von Karajan
This is one for the record books! Karajan's exemplary recordings of these
two symphonies are a true model of the recording process in London after
the war. You will never believe that these are 1949 recordings such is their
quality of timbre and lustrous shades of various instruments. The Balakirev
symphony is particularly fine.
Both conductor and orchestra are at one with the brooding melancholy
of the piece and their approach to the work is rather similar to Beecham's
contemporaneous account, although it has to be said that the Philharmonia
is superior in every department. Walter Legge's 'Royal Flush' has a field
day in the dazzling Scherzo whilst those fabled strings are inspired in
the beautiful slow movement.
Roussel's Fourth is even finer. Here we have a compact symphonic argument
but a powerful 20th century declamation that really makes the pot boil.
Once again Karajan and his orchestra are absolutely top-notch, indeed a
Gramophone reviewer thought that the 'playing was almost beyond criticism'.
I wholeheartedly concur with that phrase!
Once again, the Legge/Larter production is a model of its kind and the
sound is thrillingly vivid, almost like an antique Rolls-Royce polished
as new. Surely one for the library.
Copyright © Gerald Fenech, March
|Balakirev - The London Years
Philharmonia Orchestra / Herbert von Karajan
BALAKIREV: Symphony No. 1
ROUSSEL: Symphony No. 4
EMI Karajan Edition CDM 566 5952
ADD (Recorded 1949) Playing
THIS CD FROM CROTCHET
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