renditions of the Brandenburg Concertos. Whatever the reason, the fact that he could, when he was so moved, turn out a perfect gem of a Bach performance is amply demonstrated by this record, which also contains one of his inimitable Handel transcriptions:
Bach: Christmas Oratorio - Sinfonia
Handel-Beecham: Il Pastor Fido - Gavotte
Sir Thomas Beecham conducting the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Recorded May 12, 1947
RCA Victor 12-0583, one 78-rpm records
Link (FLAC file, 22.45 MB)
Link (MP3 file, 14.76 MB)
This record was only issued in the USA, never by HMV in Europe.
As I may have mentioned here before, in my heyday as a 78 collector I had a collection of over 8,000 discs, which I was forced to sell in 2003-04 for financial reasons. Some of these I had had since childhood. Among them were several by the First Piano Quartet, and when in my recent post devoted to this ensemble, a commenter mentioned a recording of the Paganini Variations, I thought to myself, ruefully, "yes, I used to have that record, and wish I still did."
Well, a few days later, I was at my parents' house for Thanksgiving dinner, and my mother mentioned that there were still several boxes of my records in the basement. This was news to me; I had thought they threw out all the unsold stuff years ago. I went to investigate and found lots of junk, of course - many sets with broken or missing records which I had never tried to sell, but also several dozen single records, some of which I was genuinely surprised to see hadn't sold. Among the latter was this Beecham Bach record. And yes, I did get my First Piano Quartet records back - it was like an early Christmas present! The reclaimed records were somewhat the worse for having been stored in a damp basement for 10 years, perhaps, but still quite playable, and now I share the first of these with you all.
Merry Christmas, everyone!