Boult conducts Elgar
... a very deep spiritual feeling for the music.
... Sir Adrian produces the brilliance but yet brings out more reflectiveness ... than is generally given us.
Froissart / Pomp & Circumstance
... the whole set is to be highly recommended. The playing is always good, and so is the recording. Land of Hope and Glory has its organ to add to its impressiveness.
To these ... is added a performance of Froissart that is by turn brilliant and warm. An admirable record.
Medtner Piano Concerto No. 1
The 70-year-old composer romps through the work with all the gusto of a man half his age...
Medtner Songs (Schwarzkopf)
Elisabeth Schwarzkopf is in exceptionally good voice and with the composer at the piano we can be sure that the interpretations are definitive. The balance and the recording in general are excellent.
This offers a chance to study one of Stravinsky's most important works. As it turns out, it also has some historical interest. Cocteau's narration and the composer's own conducting are very much a part of the occasion. Pears as the king and Modl as Jocasta are moreover what one may rarely find together again in this work : two artists who almost instinctively understand the idea and are good enough musicians to carry it out.
Apart from two pre-echoes and a slight shifting of level in one place, the recording is clear and good.
Sibelius Symphonies (Schneevoigt)
This is a rarity that dedicated Sibelians should cherish, far more than just another scratchy old transfer from the 78 archives.
.... very quickly the extraordinary concentration of the performance makes one forget everything else, just as it silences the coughing of the audience. The first movement is magnificent.
... the peak of the performance lies in the slow movement, expressive as well as measured, toweringly powerful as well as lyrical. Go to the Beecham afterwards, and it seems relatively short-breathed and far less atmospheric, for amazingly the sound on this 1934 recording is more vividly immediate and agreeable than in the 1936 studio account.
Luonnotar was recorded at the same concert as the Fourth .... again the tension of the performance is extraordinary, and for myself I found the power of the piece coming over more compellingly than ever before.
Slatkin: Britten & Dohnanyi
An eminently suitable and attractive coupling. On the whole an excellent recording ... First-rate orchestral players.
This version of The Young Person's Guide seems to me a most remarkable piece of stereo engineering: a perfect demonstration disc for someone who wants to show just how far stereo at its best is superior to monaural at its best. There is no exaggeration or undue sense of "location ", but a broad, full band of sound stretching from speaker to speaker, and most of it, as in the concert hail, seeming to come from the middle. The string-family variations move round, left to right as you face the orchestra, from violins, through violas to 'cellos, and then to the basses behind them, in a natural and convincing way; and the one moment when there is real "sound antiphon") —when the violins break in brilliantly with their polacca against the staccato chords from the brass— is most exciting, and not at all contrived or artificial. Of course this score, with its emphasis on contrasts of tone-colour, is a perfect subject for stereophony. The cleanness of line in the final fugue, with the brass standing well clear of the fugal bustle as they give out the Purcell theme, is extraordinary.