Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Mozart by Koussevitzky

In a recent issue of Classical Recordings Quarterly, in an article entitled "Why Don't the Record Companies..." (the same article that inspired this post), Donald Manildi laments the lack of a systematic approach to CD reissues of recordings by Serge Koussevitzky (1874-1951), the great Russian conductor, such as that given to comparable figures like Toscanini and Stokowski.  He notes that many CD reissues of Koussevitzky's considerable legacy have been allowed to go out of print, and that his Mozart recordings, in particular, have largely been untapped.  Well, in an attempt to rectify that situation, I present three major Mozart works, all recorded at Tanglewood in the late 1940s:

Mozart: Serenade No. 10 in B-Flat, K. 361, for 13 wind instruments
Members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra conducted by Serge Koussevitzky
Recorded August 15, 1947
RCA Victor WDM-1303, four 45-rpm records
Link (FLAC files, 74.73 MB)
Link (MP3 files, 38.04 MB)

Mozart: Symphony No. 33 in B-Flat Major, K. 319 and
Mozart: Overture to "Idomeneo, Re di Creta", K. 366
Boston Symphony Orchestra conducted by Serge Koussevitzky
Recorded August 15, 1946, and August 17, 1949
RCA Victor WDM-1369, three 45-rpm records
Link (FLAC files, 69.14 MB)
Link (MP3 files, 36.58 MB)

Mozart: Symphony No. 36 in C Major, K. 425 ("Linz")
Boston Symphony Orchestra conducted by Serge Koussevitzky
Recorded August 16, 1949
RCA Victor WDM-1354, three 45-rpm records
Link (FLAC files, 64.86 MB)
Link (MP3 files, 31.61 MB)

Some may find Koussevitzky's approach to Mozart a little hard-driven, particularly in the symphonies; he is much closer to Toscanini than to Beecham or Walter.  Perhaps this is why his Mozart recordings have been ignored - they are unfashionable.  No such reservations about the Serenade!  This is a wonderfully relaxed and unbuttoned reading from the Boston wind players, and the only regret here is that two of the movements (as well as one of the Menuetto's trios) were omitted.


  1. What a beautiful share. Many thanks, Bryan. I would love to hear more of his Sibelius, too.

  2. Nice! I have on ASdisc CD from 1989 3 Mozart symphonies nos. 36, 39 and 29, live recordings from 1948, 1943 and 1944).I'm curious to hear if there are differences between the live and studio recordings! Thanks for sharing, Bryan!