SZYMANOWSKI: Violin Conceerrto No. 2, Op. 61 (Henryk Szeryng, violin). Stabat Mater, Op. 53. STRAVINSKY: Firebird Suite. SCRIABIN: Symphony No. 3. Op. 43
"The Fiovione Poerm." SIBELIUS: Symphony No. 2 in D, Op. 43.
RAI Radio and Television Orchestras/Artur Rodziunski, cond.
DATUM CD DAT 12306 (2 disks) TT: 61:28 / 75:40
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WEBER: Overture. BEETHOVEN: POiano Concerto No,. 3 in C minor, Op. 37. BRAHMS: Variations on a Theme by Haydbn. BRAHMS: Symphony No. 3 in F, Op. 90.
Geza Anda, piano. Cologne Radio Orchestar / Hans Knappertsbusch
ORFEO CD 916172 TT: 48:00 / 65:00

KATHLEEN FERRIER BBC BROADCASTS
Music of Schubert, Brahms, Wolf, Mahler, Stanford, Rubbra,Jacobson and Parry
SOMM CD 264 TT: 79:30
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LAILA ANDERSSON-PALME
Music of Grieg, d'Hardelot, Stenhammar, Rangström, Richard Strauss, Mozart, Handel, Puccini, Verdi, Wagner and Berg
Laila Anderssohn-Palme, soprano; various orchestras/conductors
STERLING CDA 1806/1807 (2 disks) TT: 80:00 / 80:00
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There are numerous recordings of the remarkable contralto Kathleen Ferrier, both studio and live, and many have been reviewed on this site. Here is yet another release and this is important as it contains 19 BBC broadcasts never before released. Excellent mono audio, and the disk is filled to capacity. Texts and translations are included. An essential issue for admirers of the legendary singer!

I never heard of Swedish soprano Laila Anderssohn-Palme, and was pleasantly surprised by this 2 disk set of mostly live performances. Burn in 1941 in Lösen, Blekinge, her early training and experience are vague, but she became associated with the Swedish opera in 1964 and quickly assumed major roles including Violetta, Susanna in Marriage of Figaro, Sophie in Der Rosenkavalier, Gilda, Tosca, Leonora, Rosina, Queen of the Night, Brünnhilde, and many others. In 1977 she sang in the Swedish premiere of Wozzeck, and her European career included Salome at the Vienna State Opera in 1984. She had a very active career in Sweden and Denmark, and appeared in a number of Swedish operas .It is surprising she never sang at the Met although it is reported she was understudy for Birgit Nilsson in Die Frau Ohne Schatten at the Met for the famous soprano's final appearance in that opera. It is difficult to understand why Anderssohn-Palmer isn't better known, particularly when listening to these performances which are mostly from the Swedish radio (most of the performanes are sung in Swedish).. Her voice is warm, controlled, sure in pitch with sufficient power for the big moments. This is an elaborate presentation with two booklets with complete texts and translations and many photos. Laila Andeerssohn-Palmewas was a very attractive woman. You can see a curious video of her on YouTube in which she walks through her garden, sits down at the piano and begins Vissi d'arte, then switching to a fine live performance. Opera lovers surely should investigate this unjustly neglected soprano.

Artur Rodzinski (1892 - 1958) was one of the most respected conductors internationally.. He was Music Director of the New York Philharmonic 1943 - 1947, but problems with management and musicians forced his resignation, in spite of the fact that the orchestra was in fine form. He then became Music Director of the Chicago Symphony in 1947, bit that lasted only one season again because of a dispute with management. I was fortunate enough to attend one of his last concerts, which featured Stravinsky's Firebird Suite and Rachmaninoff's Concerto No. 3 with Vladimir Horowitz - an unforgettable concert indeed! Few collectors realize that Rodzinski made a Chicago Symphony recording of Also sprach Zarathustra several years before Fritz Reiner made his famous stereo recording in 1955. Many of Rodzinski's recordings have been reissued on various labels, but most, unfortunately, have been discontinued. These CDs contain major works usually not associated with Rodzinski. Of particular interest is the Szymanowski concerto with Henryk Szeryng, who championed this work—in 1956 her recorded it with Bernard Haitink and the Concertgebouw. Other major works in this new issue also are of interest, beautifully performed and reasonably well recorded by RAI. Admirers of Rodzinski surely will wish to investigate this.

Hans Knappersbusch, one of the most revered conductors, was respected and admired by all for his Wagner and Bruckner. This SOMM issue offers live performances from the Cologne Radio, a concert May 14, 1962 and a performance from May 10, 1963 (Haydn Variations). None of these show Knappertsbusch at his best. This performance of the Haydn Variations gets off to a shaky start, and is the most boring, turgid performance I've ever heard, seemingly endless. It is difficult to understand why it was reissued. This is a full-price reissue, even though playing time is quite restricted. Skip this one, for sure!

RE.B. (July 2017