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Salient: Victoria University Students' Newspaper. Vol. 24, No. 11. 1961



Beethoven. Symphonies. No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67: No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125 "Choral". Wilma Lipp (soprano), Marga Hoeffgen (contrallo), Murray Dickie (tenor), Gottlob Frick (bass); Elisabeth Brasseur. Chorale/ Paris Conservatoire Orch./Carl Schuricht. H.M.V. mono MXLP 20001-2.

These two discs are first releases; the 5th, not to be confused with an earlier Schuricht performance of 1950. It is an adequate performance of the "Choral; an impressive orchestral Sound, a not too stylished reading. There are however some particular faults, not the least being an overall poor quality woodwind, and occasional sloppy string playing, particularly In I and Iv. The same section seems to have little idea of genuine pianissimo—I quote around bar 180 I, as an illustration: (and my God, what is that terrible slide at bar 800 in the same movement?) The Scherzo is somewhat heavy handed, but is compensated for by a lively rendering of the Choral Ode. This last section is quite successful, with good solid chorus work and diction. Schuricht has marred a trifle at rushing into the first eight bars (he has missed half the notes in doing so), and his tempi changes might appear inconsistent to some. Couplea, is a very good performance of the 5th.

Brahms. Piano Concerto No. 2 in B flat major, Op. 88. Hans Richter-Haaser Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra/Herbert von Karajan. Columbia 33MCX 1680.

A warmly lyrical performance of the Brahms concerto is achieved here by Hans Richter-Haaser. His style Is both beautifully light and powerfully dynamic (cf! III and IV with I and II); the poetic treatment of the more idyllic parts of the work going In perfect contrast with the other, more symphonic sections. Von Karajan also deserves special praise for his performance—the orchestral playing is quite superior to any concerto accompaniment I have heard In a long time; the balance between instrument and orchestra being one of complete harmony. The only notable defects are, some unwarranted tempi changes, and a cloudiness, apparent In some of the piano phrases, especially In the lower register.

Richard Strauss. Tod und Verklaerung, Op. 24 Salome: Dance of the Seven Veils. Dance (Suite from Harpsichord Pieces by Francois Couperin. Philharmonia Orchestra/ Artur Rodzinski World Record Club mono and stereo TZ 141.

Death and Transfiguration is one of those rare and unfortunate works which requires superlative treatment at the hands of orchestra and director, to convey any sort of impression at all, to the listener. It is either banal or agreeable, according to whether the spirit is moving the interpreters. Rodzinski's is of the latter humour—wholly satisfactory and pleasing in sound—due in the main to a taut handling of the score and some exquisite solo playing. The orchestra is in fine shape too, and apart from some distorted, brash chords from the brass, plays with great beauty—flute, oboe and harp coming through crystal clear; likewise all the pedal notes. The Dance Suite and Salome's Dance are also, vividly interpreted. The recording is shallow and brittle in places, though I must say, the stereo remedies this.

Mozart. Bassoon Concerto in B flat major, K. 191. Clarinet Concerto in A major, K. 622. Gwydion Brooke (bassoon), Jack Brymer (clarinet), Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Sir Thomas Beecham. H.M.V. mono Malp 1768.

This recording of the Mozart Bassoon Is, apart from that of Karl Bidloe. the finest yet made. Gwydion Brooke's tone is full, mellow and warm; lacking the nasal "saxophone" quality too often employed by English wood instrumentalists these days. His phrasing is particularly good, and the vibrato is perfect, neither too flat nor over-round. Beecham has accompanied well in this concerto; soloist and orchestra complementing each other very nicely indeed. Nothing so much can be "said for the Clarinet Concerto; all in all a quite disgusting performance. Mr Brymer's sound Is flat, woolly and thin—I would never have known the instrument was a clarinet, had I been unfamiliar with the work-his timbre is absurdly "wooden", but strangely enough his phrasing Is clear and well taken. Beechan and the Royal Philharmonic are again In good (If loose) form.