RIMSKY-KORSAKOV: Symphony No. 2, Op. 9 "Antar."
BEETHOVEN: Wellington's Victory Symphony, Op. 91 "Battle
Symphony." TCHAIKOVSKY: 1812 Festival Overture, Op. 49
The enterprising ReDiscovery label continues its series
intriguing recordings of the past that have been neglected by major
companies. Why RCA never issued on CD Morton Gould's 1968 Chicago
Symphony recording of Rimsky-Korsakov's "Antar" is a mystery.
Originally issued on LP (LSC 3022, oddly coupled with Miaskovsky's Symphony No.
21 recorded at the same time), from a sonic standpoint it is one of the most
successful recordings made in Chicago's Medinah Temple, with fine stereo spread
and rich orchestral textures, the only debit being a lack of impact in the bass
drum so important in the third movement, "The Pleasure of
Power." The finest performance ever of this symphony is the
mid-fifties mono recording with Hermann Scherchen and the London Symphony
briefly available on Nixa (NIXCD 6021) in a fine remastering by Michael
Dutton. Scherchen brought a passion and intensity to this music
unheard elsewhere. However, Gould's performance is equal to others currently
available, with the CSO in top form. This transfer is from a
Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture, also from an open-reel tape, is a natural coupling and again we have a spirited performance from Gould and his orchestra. Bells and canon shots are electronically generated, the latter again lacking the overpowering impact of the true thing heard on so many digital recordings, but effective in their own way. The performance is on a grand scale. The music has three tracks for ease in finding what you want to hear. Play track three (mistimed in the CD leaflet: it is 3:44 not 6:59) if you wish to hear just the lease-breaking finale. The original RCA LP (LSC 2345) also contained Ravel's BolÈro.
Minimal notes, home-made production and a hand-written CD label, but it doesn't matter. A welcome addition to the catalog, available from ReDiscover Classics.
R.E.B. (Oct. 2000)