Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Silvestri At The Very Summit In Both Works
Jeffrey Lipscomb | Sacramento, CA United States | 05/09/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This superbly well-transferred CD from Testament presents the passionate virtuosity of Romanian conductor Constantin Silvestri (1913-1969) at its very finest. If you are looking for a single recording of each work, you have come to the right place. The Manfred was recorded in Paris with the French National Radio, while the Tasso is with the Philharmonia at its very peak. These 1957 performances, both in excellent mono sound, are absolutely stunning.
Manfred may not be Tchaikovsky's finest "symphony" (the work is really more of an extended tone poem), but it contains some of the composer's most gorgeous melodies and finest orchestration. In a desire to reduce the bloated number of Manfreds in my collection, I followed this brilliant Silvestri reading very carefully with score in hand, hoping to do some serious weeding. As a result, the following are on their way to the used CD store: Muti, Toscanini, Janssons, Svetlanov, Markevitch, and Pletnev. I felt the best of those was Svetlanov's, despite raw sound and some coarse playing by the USSR Symphony. Silvestri simply has a more potent mixture of drama and tenderness than the Russian, and his French ensemble has just the right amount of idiomatic vibrato (especially the brass), with execution that simply outclasses everybody else's. I am also fond of Silvestri's later Manfred on BBC Legends (see my review), but the Bournemouth Symphony is not as accomplished an ensemble. However, you simply MUST hear that CD for Silvestri's incredible live concert account of "Pines of Rome."
Other Manfreds I have kept on LPs include Natan Rahklin/USSR State Symphony (MK) and Alexander Gauk/Bolshoi Symphony (Concert Hall Society). For passion and sincerity, they leave most contemporary Russian recordings in the dust. Perhaps one day those old recordings will show up on CDs.
This Silvestri recording of Liszt's tone poem "Tasso" is also available in the 10-disc EMI/Disky CD set called "Silvestri: The Collection" (see my review). Save for Mengelberg's classic account of "Les Preludes" (Andante), I don't think there's ever been a finer demonstration of how to conduct a Liszt tone poem than what Silvestri has given us here.