<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="1252"%> Philharmonia Orchestra

PHILHAMONIA ORCHESTRA - Birth of a Legend
WARNER CKASSICS 0190295348516 (24 disks)
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Record producer Walter Legge founded the Philharmonia Orchestra in 1945, a hand-picked group of outstanding musicians. This was formed primarily to make recordings for EMI. Many leading conductors of the time performed with the orchestra and made recordings including Arturo Toscanini, Wilhelm Furtwängler, and Herbert von Karajan. Richard Strauss apparently and conducted them but did not make any recordings, unfortunately. From the late 1950s to the early 1970s Otto Klemperer was the chief conductor and they made numerous recordings mostly of core repertory and gave many concerts as well. In 1964 because of financial difficulties (running an orchestra is expensive!), Legge disbanded the orchestra. With the help of klemperer, the orchestra reorganized as a self-governing ensemble, they continued to make recordings for many labels and gave many concerts as well. Giuseppe Sinopoli was Music Director 1984 - 1994, Christoph von Dohnányi between 1997 and 2008. Since 2008, the Chief Conductor is Essa-Pekka Salonen.

This new set offers 24 disks of recordings made 1946 - 1964. On line you will be able to find a complete list of contents. Four conductors are featured. Herbert von Karajan conducts Schumann's Piano Concerto with Dinu Lipatti, as well as Schubert, Beethoven, Respighi, Strauss, Bartok and Sibelius. Wilhelm Furtwängler conducts Mahler's Songs of a Wayfarer (Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5 (Edwin Fischer), Bartok's Violin Concerto No. 2 (Yehudi Menuhin), and Kirsten Flagstad is featured in The Immolation Scene from Götterdämerung and a rare live performance of Strauss's Four Last Songs May 22, 1950 during a concert in Royal Albert Hall. This site mentioned this recording more than two decades ago (REVIEW). Two years later, Flagstad and Furtwängler would make their definitive recording of Tristan and Isolde. This was a magic recording and it has been reissued in a magnificent restoration on Pristine Classical, mentioned on this site (REVIEW).

Guido Cantelli conducts Mendelssohn, Schumann, Mozart, Brahms Tchaikovsky, Ravel and Debussy. Arturo Toscanini conducts the Brahms symphonies, Paul Kletzki conducts Tchaikovsky, and André Cluytens directs the BerliozFantastic Symphony. Weill's Three Penny Opera, Beethoven's Symphony No. 9. and his own Merry Waltz. Carlo Maria Giulini conducts Bizet, Mussorgsky, Tchaikovsky, Ravel, Verdi's Requiem and Four Sacred Pieces and four Rossini overtures. Other conductors include Otto Ackermann, Henry Krips and Sir Charles Mackerras There are several rewordings never before issued on CD: Nicolai Malko conducting Glinka, Macketras conducing Wolf-FWilliam. Igor Markevitch leads Stravinsky's Rite of Spring and Parade by Satie. Walton conducts his own music. music including the Viola Concerto. . Otto Klemperer conducts two Strauss symphonic poems, Mahler's Symphony No. 4, a suite fromerrari and Robert Irving conducting Dohnanyi's Suite in F sharp mino

The final disk features narrated commentaries on Karajan, Cantelli, Giulini and Klemperer including snippets of their recordings.The Klemperer episode includes a brief speech by Klemperer recorded in London's Hyde Park Hotel November 16, 1957. e latter including an excerpt from a brief speech Klemperer made There is a 36-page booklet with program notes about the orchestra, photos and a complete listing of contents. Each disk has its own cardboard slipcover that contains recording information. This is an important addition to the catalog as it restores some fine performances long out-of-print— and it is budget-priced. Recommended!

R.E.B. (March 2020)