SIBELIUS: Violin Concerto in D minor, Op. 47. BRAHMS: Violin Concerto in D, Op. 77.
Ginette Neveu, violin; Philharmonia Orch/Walter Susskind, cond. (Sibelius)/Issay Dobrowen, cond. (Brahms)
PRISTINE AUDIO PASC 357 TT: 71:35

RIMSKY-KORSAKOV: Procession of the Noblers from Mlada. GLINKA: Valse-Fantasie. TCHAIKOVSKY: Marche Miniature from Suite No. 1 in D. Waltz from Swan Lake.BORODIN-TCHEREPNIN: Notturno from String Quartet No. 2 in D. GLAZUNOV: Concert Waltz No. 1 in D, Op. 47. Stenka Razin (symphonic poem on The Volga Boat Song). PROKOFIEV: Kije's Wedding, Troika, Burial of Kijé from Lieutenant Kijé.
Philharmonia Orch/Anatole Fistoulari, cond.
GUILD GHCD 1391 TT: 68:45
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MOZART: Les petits rien, K. 299B. Minuet from Divertimento No. 17 in D, K. 334. CHERUBINI: Anacréon Overture. WEBER: Oberon Overture. MENDELSSOHN: Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage Overture, Op. 27. AUBER: Le domino noir Overture. OFFENBACH: Orpheus in the Underworld Overture. BRAHMS: Menuetto and Scherzo from Serenade No. 1 in D, Op. 11. GRIEG: Four Norwegian Dances, Op. 35.
London Symphony Orch/Leo Blech, cond.
PRISTINE AUDIO PASC 354 TT: 77:48

GLAZUNOV: Raymonda, Op. 57
USSR State Acaademic Bolshoi Theatre Orch/Evgeny Svetlanov, cond.
MELODIYA 1001959 (2 disks) TT: 67:01 & 69:13
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French violinist Ginette Neveu (b. 1919) gave her first orchestral performance, Bruch's Violin Concerto No. 1, when only 7 1/2. She studied with Georges Enescu and at the Paris Conservatory where she was the top student. In 1935 she won the Wieniawski Competition, competing against David Oistrakh. Her career was flourishing and Neveu was in great demand—the musical world was excited by this fantastic, charming young virtuoso. In 1949 she perished in an airplane crash en route to the United States, a tremendous loss to the musical world; four years later there was another airplane disaster when pianist William Kapell died in a crash in California. Neveu's few recordings have been treasured, particularly the Brahms concerto recorded in 1946, the Sibelius the previous year. These have been issued on CD, EMI in their Great Recordings of the Century series (REVIEW). Now we have the same recordings in stunning remasterings by Andrew Rose who has corrected pitch and other technical problems permitting these performances to be heard in a new light. Thank you, Pristine Audio!

Guild's disk of recordings by Anatole Fistoulari is of particular interest. Born in the Ukraine in 1907, his father was the conductor Gregor Fistoulari, a pupil of Rimsky-Korsakov and Anton Rubinstein, so the Russian tradition started early. Anatole first conducted when he was only 7, Tchaikovsky's Pathétique, and in 1933 began to conduct for Paris Russian Opera which often featured the great bass Feodor Chaliapin, who championed the young conductor. Although Fistoulari was principal conductor of the London Philharmonic for a decade beginning in 1943, he never was music director of a major orchestra although he appeared often as guest conductor/ He made many recordings, particularly ballet music for Mercury, and often accompanied major soloists in concerto recordings. Guild's notes outline many of his recordings but they don't mention the one I treasure the most, a February 1961 Decca recording of excerpts from Swan Lake with the Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra, recorded at the same time as the label's Mahler 4 with Solti. This Swan Lake was a stunning disk with fabulous orchestral playing and sonics (it was engineered by Kenneth Wilkinson); it is available from HAYDN HOUSE. Guild's CD offers vivid performances of Russian repertory highlighted by the seldom-heard Nikolai Tcherepnin arrangement for full orchestra of the Borodin Nocturne—a gem indeed. Stereo sound is excellent, and the disk is mid-price.

German conductor Leo Blech (1871-1958) had a substantial career in opera, particularly in Berlin where he was known for his Wagner and Verdi. He was recognized for his solid musicianship, and quite fortunate in his political life. Because of his numerous Wagner performances, Hermann Goering. second in command to Hitler, arranged for an exit visa permitting Blech to move to Sweden; he was the only Jewish survivor in Riga to escape with such high-level intervention. Many of Blech's recordings are available on ArkivMusik, in most of which he conducts opera and accompanies famous singers of the era. Pristine Audio's disk restores to the catalog almost all of a series of recordings made October 27-29, 1931 with the LSO. Blech obviously is a master of the podium in these spirited performances, and the orchestra is in top shape, playing with incredible precision. Mark Obert-Thorn's transfers could not be bettered, and we welcome this opportunity to hear a well-known conductor of the past in purely orchestral repertory.

There is renewed interest in music of Alexander Glazunov; José Serebrier is recording many of the symphonic works including the symphonies and concertos (REVIEW), and this site mentioned a series of issues of multiple-disk sets of Evgeny Svetlanov conducting Glazunov including all of the symphonies, Raymonda, The Seasons and many other orchestral works (REVIEW). Now this famous recording of the magnificent Raymonda Ballet has been reissued on Melodiya, currently available only from ALLEGRO CLASSICS, However, if you wish to hear this glorious ballet, you might investigate the recording reviewed on this site—it is much less expensive per disk, and you have the same performance and audio quality.

R.E.B. (October 2012)