BRAHMS: Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 68. VIEUXTEMPS: Violin Concerto
No. 5 in A minor, Op. 37.
MENDELSSOHN: Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64. BRAHMS: Violin Concerto
in D, Op. 77.
MAHLER: Symphony No. 2 in C minor "Resurrection."
TCHAIKOVSKY: Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Op. 64. SCHUMANN: Piano
Concerto in A minor, Op. 54.
BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto No. 5 in E flat, Op. 55 "Emperor." Sonata
No. 21 in C, Op. 53 "Waldstein." CHOPIN: Etudes Op. 25 Nos. 1, 2, 3,
6, 8 and 9; Etude Op. 10 No. 5.
Admirers of Karl Böhm (1894-1981) will wish to investigate these April 5, 1963 studio broadcast performances with the WDR Cologne Orchestra (previously known as Kölner Radio Symphony Orchestra). This Brahms First is incredibly dynamic, more so than Böhm's recording with the Vienna Philharmonic more than a decade later, although the orchestra surely is not the VPO. Of interest is the Violin Concerto No. 5 of Vieuxtemps featuring Romanian violinist Lola Bobesco (1921-2003), highly regarded by connoisseurs, but with a somewhat limited career. Obviously, from her performance in this broadcast, she was a major violinist.
Music & Arts has issued Joseph Szigeti's New York Philharmonic broadcasts
of the Mendelssohn concerto conducted by Bruno Walter (February 2, 1941)
and the Brahms concerto conducted by Dimitri Mitropoulos (October 24,
1948). Ward Marston's digital restoration does what can be done with
original sources accurately conveying Szigeti's solid musicianship as
well as his intonation and technical limitations. Abraham Chipman's
adulatory CD notes constantly refer to numbered reference points in both
scores, information that will mean little to most readers—how many
actually have the scores to refer to? Still, this is a major historic
as is the label's CD of Mahler's Symphony No. 2 from a Carnegie Hall
concert February 17, 1957, Bruno Walter's last broadcast with the NYP,
but not his final appearance with the orchestra: that was a Pension Fund
benefit concert February 26, 1958. Prior to that, Walter had made a series
of recordings for Columbia in Hollywood and in New York completed his
recording of Mahler's Symphony; only the final two movements were taped
at the time of the broadcast
a year earlier. Kit Higginson did the restoration of the original mono
recording and did a fine job. This is an important issue.
Wilhelm Backhaus (1884-1969) usually is remembered for his Beethoven and Brahms, composers he recorded profusely beginning in 1908. This vivid performance of Beethoven's Concerto No. 5 is a studio recording made June 25, 1956 with the Cologne Radio Orchestra conducted by Georg Solti (not yet "Sir" - that didn't happen until 1972). The Beethoven sonata and Chopin were recorded during concerts September 24, 1959 and June 11, 1953. Even though he was nearing 70 at the time, Backhaus tosses off the incredible difficulties of the Chopin etudes with remarkable ease, including the demanding Op. 25 No. 6. Excellent mono sound throughout.
R.E.B. (August 2007)