SHOSTAKOVICH: Symphony No. 11"The Year 1905"
Leningrad Philharmonic Orch/Yevgeny Mravinsky, cond.
REGIS RRC 1387 /tt: 60:22

BEETHOVEN: Coriolan Overture (Aug. 1, 1912). CHERUBINI: Der Wasserträger Overture (Jan. 1, 1924). SCHUMANN: Manfred Overture (March 1, 1925). MENDELSSOHN: Fingal's Cave Overture (Aug. 1, 1923). WAGNER: Faust Overture (Aug. 1, 1923). BERLIOZ: Benvenuto Cellini Overture (Jan. 1, 1924)
Berlin State Opera Orch/Bruno Walter, cond..

SCHUMANN: Symphony No. 1 in B flat, Op. 38 "Spring" (July 1940). Symphony No. 3 in E flat, Op. 97 "Rhenish" (Nov. 1930). WAGNER: Excerpts from Parsifal (Nov. 1933). STRAUSS: Excerpts from Salome (March 1934).
National Symphony Orch. (Spring). Paris Conservatory Orch (Rhenish/Wagner). Pasdeloup Orch. (Strauss)/Piero Coppola, cond.

EMANUEL FEUERMANN "Unexpected Discoveries" - Complete Acoustic Recordings (1921-1926). Selected live performances (1938-1941).
MUSIC & ARTS WHRA 6042 (4 disks) TT: 74:09 / 68:41 / 79:08 / 75:02

Dimitri Shostakovich's Symphony No. 11 was a knock-out at its premiere in October 30, 1957 with Nathan Rakhlin conducting the USSR Symphony Orchestra. It represented the return of the composer to political acceptability. Yevgeny Mravinsky led the Leningrad premiere November 3, 1957, and two months later this recording was made. This site has mentioned a number of superb recordings of this powerful symphony including the remarkable 1957 Houston version with Leopoldville Stokowski (REVIEW), and the stunning recent recording with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic directed by Vainly Preteen (REVIEW). If you love this symphony surely you should own this reissue which has remarkably vivid audio considering its age—and the performance is demonic with snarling brass and blazing percussion—an exciting performance indeed!

Italian conductor Piero Coppola (1888-1971) is usually associated with French music. Held in high esteem by Arturo Toscanini, and by composers as well including Claude Debussy. Coppola made the first recording of La Mer and highlights from Pelléas et Mélisande. He also was close to Maurice Ravel, made an award-winning recording of his Shéhérazade (with soprano Marcelle Girard) and the first recording of Boléro (with the composer's supervision). Coppola's keen interest in avant-garde music is reflected by the 1932 recording of Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 3 with the composer as soloist. One of his most impressive early recordings was Saint-Saëns' Symphony No. 3 recorded in 1930 with an orchestra he formed, L'Orchestre Symphonique du Gramophone, a hand-picked orchestra of the best French players of the time. Pristine's new issue features two symphonies of Schumann in sprightly performances coupled with 16 minutes of orchestral music from Parsifal, and two brief orchestral excerpts from Salome seldom heard in orchestral concerts. The three French orchestras play very well indeed, and Mark Obert-Thorn's transfers could not be bettered. This is an intriguing memento of a superb conductor of his era

Pristine Classical continues their series of acoustic recordings in a series devoted to Bruno Walter. Walter (1876-1962) was born Bruno Schlesinger. In 1896, when he took a conducting position in the Breslau Opera House, for various reasons he changed his name to Bruno Walter, perhaps to make him sound less Jewish. Volume I (PASC142) featured Tchaikovsky's Pathétique symphony as well as music of Bizet and Mozart. This second Pristine issue is of interest as, with the exception of the Coriolan Overture, Walter never again recorded these works. Heard here are the conductor's earliest recordings although at the time (1912-1925) he already had been on concert stages for several decades. These readings generally are brisk, with a touch of portamento. The overture to Cherubini's one-act opera Der Wasserträger (also known as Les Deux journées,ou Le porteur d'eau) might seem a rather odd choice to record although apparently the composer's overtures were played more often during that era than since. Ward Marston did his usual expert job in these recent transfers of recordings that are now almost a century old, and admirers of Bruno Walter will welcome this fine issue. These Pristine releases are available from their WEBSITE

Cello aficionados will rush to get Music & Arts' new 4-CD set devoted to Emanuel Feuermann. Born Nov. 22,1902 either in the Ukraine or Poland depending on your source, he started studying the cello when he was nine, and three years later played a Haydn concerto with the Vienna Philharmonic conducted by Felix Weingartner. He held a number of major teaching positions and his concert career flourished. In 1932, he gave the premiere of Schoenberg's Cello Concerto after Monn with Sir Thomas Beecham on the podium. He was held in the highest esteem by all of his colleagues and in addition to numerous orchestral appearances, gave many chamber music performances with Jascha Heifetz and Arthur Rubinstein. He died tragically in 1942 from complications from surgery. Pallbearers at his funeral included George Szell, Arturo Toscanini, Eugene Ormandy, Mischa Elman, Bronislaw Huberman, Rudolf Serkin and Artur Schnabel. He made a number of recordings; unfortunately his magnificent 1940 Schelomo with Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra, currently unavailable. This new set offers unbounded treasures for the collector including all of his acoustic recordings. We also have live performances of music of Dvorák, Bloch, D'Albert, and Reicha with the National Orchestra Association directed by Leon Barzin, a performance of the Dvorák concerto from 1941 with the Chicago Symphony conducted by Hans Lange (one wonders what other treasusres there might be in CSO archives?), and Strauss's Don Quixote with Toscanini and the NBC Symphony from 1938. There are 18 CD premieres in this set.. Transfers have been skillfully accomplished by Lanai Spahr, a familiar name among collectors of historic recordings, and the four disks sell for the price of three.

R.E.B. (May 2012).