BRITTEN: Four Sea Interludes and Passacaglia from Peter Grimes. Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra.
Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orch/Eduard van Beinum, cond.
SOUND DYNAMICS SDA 2002-110 TT: 38:19

BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 2 in D, Op. 36. BRAHMS: Tragic Overture, Op. 81. Academic Festival Overture, Op. 80.
Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orch/Eduard van Beinum, cond.
SOUND DYNAMICS SDA 2003-280 (mono) PT: 59:16

Both of these CDs are essential for Beinum/Concertgebouw collectors. The Young Person's Guide and Peter Grimes excerpts were issued (minus the powerful Passacaglia) on a London "historic" CD in 1994 (440 063—deleted) which featured Beinum and the Concertgebouw performing Britten's "Spring Symphony" which had its world premiere July 9, 1949, with soprano Jo Vincent, contralto Kathleen Ferrier and tenor Peter Pears. In September 1947 Beinum and the ACO recorded the Grimes excerpts, issued on three Decca 78 rpm disks. With the advent of LP, Beinum and the ACO made another recording of this music September 15-16, 1953, considered to be one of the finest recordings the conductor made with the Dutch orchestra. This Sound Dynamics issue is a marvel sonically, full-bodied in sound and, fortunately, minus hum that plagued the original LP issue.

The other CD is valuable primarily because of Beethoven's Symphony No. 2, which is a live concert recording dating from the early '50s. Although there is a DVD video of Beinum's 1957 performance of the Eroica (included in the Q Disc 11-CD set of Beinum live recordings), the Second is the only Beethoven symphony recorded commercially, for Philips in monophonic sound, May 22, 1954 (the Concertgebouw would record this symphony five more times later, with Jochum, Kubelik, Sawallisch and twice with Haitink). On the SD release we hear a vibrant, dynamic performance, beautifully played and recorded with the usual natural Radio Nederland sonic quality. The CD is filled out with expert transfers from the Epic stereo LP issues of the two Brahms overtures, sounding better than ever.

Both CDs are highly recommended for the Beinum/Concertgebouw collector, and the price is modest. These are only available from Sound Dynamics:

http://www.HaydnHouse.com/home.htm

R.E.B. (February 2004)