Salient: Victoria University Students' Newspaper. Vol. 24, No. 8. 1961.
Brahms. Hungarian Dances. Nos. 1, 3, 5, 6, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21.
Dvorak. Slavonic Rhapsody No.
3. Scherzo Capriccioso. Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/ Rafael Kubelik. H.M.V. Alp 1769.
This uninspiring disc contains little that has not at some late stage, been recorded before (and in better conditions). Brahms' Hungarian Dances suffer chiefly from a disinterested reading at the hands of Rafael Kubelik: there is no fire where needed (No. 1), little imagination, and no colourful phrasing (No. 6, etc.). Dvorak fares better, but this is still in the poor class. The Slavonic Rhapsody is characterised by sloppy playing from the strings, a confusion of sound in the coda, and some incongruous Royal oboe playing (viz. fine). In the Scherzo, the orchestra falls down badly through lack of weight—the otherwise brilliant concluding tutti is marred by an absence of depth from cellos and basses. On the whole, this is not to be recommended. See Ancerl, van Kempen, Sawallisch, et. al., for brighter Brahms and vimmier Dvorak. Recording is fair, but in no way as clear and clean as the Decca (below).
Mozart. Symphonies. Nos. 32 in G major, K.318; 38 in D major, "Prague", K.504.
London Symphony Orchestra/Peter Maag. Decca LXTM 5518.
There are few conductors, who have achieved fame both for themselves and the music, through the symphonies of Mozart: Beecham did, so does Peter Maag. His interpretation of the two works, the G major and the D major is nothing short of superlative; he is complemented in this by exquisite playing from England's finest orchestra. The 32nd is a short piece, written in the Italian tripartite overture style: it is delicately handled by Mr Maag, whose care in soothing out the piano, forte chords in the Tempo I, is extremely decisive. The "Prague", ignoring the old controversial question of what (in the work) has been repeated and what discarded, is also finely treated: Maag is able to contrast mood—Adagio with Allegro—at brief notice, to the utmost effect. The strings and the woodwind are throughout, very lovely, clear, and where needed, full and rich. Even the trumpets have a most unMozartian brassy quality. I am curious however, about some odd timpani noises in the opening Adagio (No. 38). Recording is clear, with little extraneous noise.