Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Tchaikovsky, Mengelberg, Concertgebouw Orchestra|
Symphony 5 / Symphony 3
Listen to Samples
Imagination, Fire , Brilliance - Bracing Performances
email@example.com | Otisville, NY | 03/21/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Unless you're familiar with past performance practices, hold onto your hat. These are unlike anything you'll hear in the concert hall or on the current release roster of the major labels. Tchaikovsky and Brahms done with fire and imagination. Willem Mengelberg played the orchestra the way Horowitz played the piano. He was a virtuoso and his instrument just happened to consist of 100 men and women. He was a friend of Mahler's, leading Mahler festivals in the 1920s at which ALL the symphonies were performed. Richard Strauss dedicated "Ein Heldenleben" to Mengelberg and his recording with the New York Philharmonic (which he lead until losing out to Toscanini)is one of the greatest recordings ever made. He lead the Concertgebouw for 50 years and these recordings show him (and them) at the peak of their powers. Mengelberg was not a literalist. The score was a guide but it was up to the conductor to fill in all the shadings and nuances that he read into the score. You'll find pregnant pauses, cymbal clashes that Tchaikovsky neglected to put in, additional lines from the brass and so on but the whole adds up, in each of these recordings to an amazing series of performances that are anything but yet another runthrough of a series of war horses. Mengelberg and his orchestra believe in this music and they have something to say. Mengelberg uses a colorful palette to make his points. He can have slashing attacks that remind you of Toscanini or shape and mold the music with the skill of Stokowski (listen to the descending string figures near the end of the 2nd movement of the Tchaikovsky 5th, just before the clarinet's entry.) But it is the ability to blend the two approaches in a way that always keeps you in his grip (although sometimes shaking your head, wondering what's going to come next) that sets him apart. The Concertgebouw is with him every step of the way. You will have to make allowances for the background noise common to 78 rpm sources but this lets the brilliance of the recordings come through. Filtering old recordings can dull the sound quality. The transfers are pretty good, especially if you compare them to various LP editions of these performances. So forget the polish (and blandness) of your Karajan and Abbado CDs and hang on for an incredible ride."