BEETHOVEN: The Creatures of Prometheus, Op. 43
Cleveland Orch/Louis Lane, cond.
LOCKED IN THE VAULT Volume 59 (B) TT: 62:40

PAGANINI: Moto perpetuo, Op. 11. GABRIELI: Sonata pian e forte. MILHAUD: Concerto for Percussion and Small Orchestra. STRAUSS: Serenade in E Flat for Wind Instruments, Op. 7. BRAHMS: Serenade No. 2 in A, Op. 16 (Adagio non troppo/Rondo). ELGAR: Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 in D, Op. 39 No. 1
Philadelphia Orch/Eugene Ormandy, cond.
LOCKED IN THE VAULT Volume 60 (B) TT: 47:04

American conductor Louis Lane had the tough task of being associate to tyranical George Szell in Cleveland, and did his job admirably. Szell already had recorded for Epic/Columbia all of the Beethoven symphonies and five piano concertos (with Leon Fleisher) to great and just acclaim. One would have thought he also would conduct this recording of Beethoven's ballet The Creatures of Prometheus, but, for whatever reason, Louis Lane did the job April 7, 1967. The Cleveland Orchestra is in top form and from this brilliant performance one could easily imagine Szell was on the podium. It is quite amazing how much sound was on this Columbia LP (M 30082), which has been masterfully transferred to CD. There are other recordings of this music, particularly those with Sir Charles Mackerras and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, and Nickolaus Harnoncourt and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, but this fine issue is highly competitive—and particularly attractive at its modest price. No program notes, just a listing of the 18 tracks.

After leaving Cleveland, Louis Lane was co-conductor of the Atlanta Symphony from 1977 to 1983, principal guest conductor from 1983 to 1988. He has also held positions with the Dallas Symphony, Akron Symphony and the Johannesburg Symphony in South Africa. Currently Lane is on the faculty of the Cleveland Institute of Music, and resides in Atlanta.It's good to have one of his finest recordings available again—and in such a superb transfer.

The Ormandy/Philadelphia Orchestra recording was a companion to their successful First Chair Encores LP (already available in a fine transfer from Sound Dynamics—see REVIEW). It's intended to show off various sections of the orchestra: strings (Paganini), brass (Gabrieli), percussion (Milhaud), winds (Strauss), winds and low strings (Brahms), and the entire orchestra in Elgar's famous march. Choice of repertory is quite undemonstrative, particularly the Gabrieli, Strauss and Brahms; one would think producers might have come up with music of a more virtuoso nature if the intent is to show off the orchestra. However, what is here is superb, with the Elgar particularly rousing. This is a well-balanced monophonic recording—the Louis Lane/Cleveland recording is in superb stereo. Both CDs are available only from Locked in The Vault, here's their website:

R.E.B. (October 2003)