Monday, September 25, 2017

Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 3 (Beecham)

Early in 1949, to honor the upcoming 70th birthday of Sir Thomas Beecham, RCA Victor put on the American market some half-dozen albums of the conductor's latest HMV recordings with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, all sporting the above generic cover created for the occasion. This was the largest of these sets:

Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 3 in D Major, Op. 29 ("Polish")
Sir Thomas Beecham conducting the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Recorded April, 1947
RCA Victor set DM-1279, five 78-rpm records
Link (FLAC files, 113.12 MB)
Link (MP3 files, 73.55 MB)

Of the six Tchaikovsky symphonies, the Third seems to me the most ideal vehicle for Sir Thomas' talents. This is particularly true of the three middle movements, and how fortunate are we that these are played without cuts! The outer movements do have a few judicious cuts, but to be fair, I've never heard a 78-rpm version of this work that didn't have them. The pioneering version by Albert Coates, of 1932, hacked each of the middle movements down to one side, and Hans Kindler's of 1940 and Gregor Fitelberg's of 1946 each have cuts in the outer movements, the latter hacking the Finale to one side.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Nielsen by E. T.

No, this post has nothing to do with extra-terrestrials! Several weeks ago, I had two different conductors with the same initials featured in one composer at this post. Just so, now I present two different conductors with the initials "E.T." performing Nielsen - more fruits of my recent splurgings on Danish 78s. The details:

Nielsen: En Sagadrøm (A Saga Dream), Op. 39
Copenhagen Royal Opera Orchestra conducted by Egisto Tango
Recorded February 27, 1942
HMV DB 5263, one 78-rpm record
Link (FLAC file, 22.27 MB)
Link (MP3 file, 14.67 MB)

Nielsen: Little Suite for Strings, Op. 1
Danish State Broadcasting Orchestra conducted by Erik Tuxen
Recorded April 7, 1948
Columbia DDX 17 and 18, two 78-rpm records
Link (FLAC file, 38.74 MB)
Link (MP3 file, 23.71 MB)

The Sagadrøm record is a real gem, and as for the Little Suite, has there ever been an Opus 1 as accomplished, and as fully characteristic of its composer?

I didn't mean to be gone quite so long, but on top of computer problems, which I'm still working on, I've had to deal with Hurricane Irma, which we in Atlanta didn't get the full brunt of, as Florida did, but we got quite enough - sustained winds of 40 miles per hour, sometimes gusting to 60, and over 3 inches of rain in a single day. The past weekend saw me frantically elevating hundreds of records from the floor of my basement, in anticipation of water from the storm coming in, which, thankfully, didn't happen, but it's always better to be safe than sorry!