MAHLER: Symphony No. 3 in D minor "Nature." BRAHMS:
Piano Concerto No. 1 in d minor, Op. 15.
BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, Op. 37. RACHMANINOFF: Piano
Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18.
Archipel's issue of Jascha Horensein's performance of Mahle's gigantic Symphony No. 3 is welcome; they claim it is the first release of this concert which was recorded in Royal Festival Hall Nov. 16, 1962 (1961 according to some sources). In 1970 Unicorn recorded this symphony with the London Symphony and Norma Procter as mezzo, currently not in the catalog. Horenstein was a Mahler specialist of the era, and Charles Gerhardt wanted to make new recordings of all of the Mahler symphonies, but RCA was, unfortunately, unenthusiastic about the idea. How sad! Another blunder for a major record company. This performance of symphony No. 3 is splendid, although with a surprisingly brisk finale. Audio is typical BBC of the time. Listed as a "bonus" is a dynamic performance of the Brahms Piano Concerto No. 1 recorded in Montreux Sept. 17, 1962 with Claudio Arrau and the French National Radio & TV Orchestra. This concerto was a favorite of Arrau; he recorded it twice with the Philharmonia Orchestra (conductors Basil Cameron and Carlo Maria Giulii), and in 1969 with the Concertgebouw directed by Bernard Haitink. There also is an Euroarts DVD of a 1984 performance with the Santiago Philharmonic on the occasion of the pianist's return to his native Chile after a 17-year absence. Archipel provides no program notes, just a listing of recording and timing information on the back cover. It is a mid-price issue. Don't overlook Horenstein's legendary Mahler Eighth 8 from a Proms concert in 1959. fortunately avalable in excellent stereo sound (REVIEW) and now reissued at super-budget price.
The second Archipel disk also lacks program informatioon. These performances are from concerts in Caracas in 1950 when presumably the Romanisn? conductor was a guest. Two lessser-known pianists are featured, Judith James in Beethoven's Concerto No. 3 ( July 11, 1956) and Albert Ferber in Racmaninoff's Concerto No. 2 (July 16, 1956). This reportedly is the conductor's only Rachmaninoff recording and perhaps he primarily is responsible for this being one of the lenghiest recorded performances of the concerto. Albert Farber (1911-1976) was a respected Swss pianist of his time, who studied with Walter Gieseking and Marguerite Long. He also wrote music for films and conducted. He made a number of recordings on LP, in particular piano music of Debussy, which currently is available on Meridian. I could find no information about Judith James, but she gives an excellent account of the Beethoven. Audio is well-balanced, but there is an intolerable low frequency hum throughout the Beethoven. Inexcusable, particularlyas this is not an inexpensive issue. Celibidache is much better served in the recent budget mult-disk set on Audite of Berlin recordings 1945-1957 (REVIEW).
Here's another first CD issue in best sound, Leopold Stokowski's Philadelphia Orchestra of Feb. 23, 1960 consisting of Symphony No. 1 of Brahms and the conductor's arrangement of music from Wagner's Tristan and Isolde. The Brahms has always been a favorite of the conductor; he first recorded it in 1927 (a recording that included "an outline of the themes") followed by another Philadelphia recording in 1935, one with the Hollwood Bowl Symphony in 1945, and, in 1972, a fourth recording for Decca with the London Symphony. He made several recorings of is transcription of music from Tristan, the first in 1932. These performances are what you would expect in excitement and sonority. Perhaps this CD was made from original brodcast tapes; the sound is very clear, but we are always aware of the acoustic deficiencies of the Academy of Music, with an undefined bass and lack of string sonority.
R.E.B. (January 2014)