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Sir John Barbirolli conducts Schubert, Mendelssohn & Brahms
Symphony No. 3 in F major, Op. 90
Recorded 21 & 22 May 1952 Free Trade Hall, Manchester. First CD Release
Double Concerto for Violin & Cello in A minor, Op. 102
Recorded 17 & 18 September 1959 Free Trade Hall, Manchester
André Navarra (cello) & Alfredo Campoli (violin)
Scherzo from Octet, Op. 20
Recorded 31 May 1949 No.1 Studio, Abbey Road, London. First CD Release
Symphony No. 9 in C major, D944 'The Great'
Recorded 21 & 22 December 1953 Free Trade Hall, Manchester
Die Zauberharfe (The Magic Harp), D 644 - Overture
Recorded 28 April 1948 Houldsworth Hall, Manchester & 31 May 1949 No.1 Studio, Abbey Road, London. First CD Release
Barbirolli had a particular affinity for the music of Brahms and Schubert and he conducted their works to critical acclaim. As a young cellist, he gained knowledge and practical experience of their instrumental and chamber works, and as an orchestral musician he became familiar with their orchestral works, whilst still in his teenage years. He included Brahms’s E Minor Cello Sonata op. 38 at an Aeolian Hall recital in November 1917 and played in a trio arrangement of Schubert’s Serenade during his army service. Barbirolli included the Fourth Symphony by Brahms in his first four concerts with the New York Philharmonic in Carnegie Hall in November 1936.
During his seven years with the orchestra, he conducted all the major works of Brahms as well as Schubert’s Second and Fourth Symphonies and Five German Dances. In July 1940, at his debut at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, he conducted Brahms’s Fourth Symphony before an audience of 12,000 and, shortly afterwards, conducted in Chicago at the Ravinia Park Festival where his concerts included Schubert’s Fourth and Ninth Symphonies and Brahms’s Fourth Symphony. Audiences throughout Britain and abroad heard Barbirolli conduct magnificent performances of the works of Brahms and Schubert.
He conducted all the Brahms symphonies in the 1945-46 season in Manchester. Schubert’s Second, Fourth, Fifth and Eighth Symphonies all found their way into his Viennese Night programmes. Barbirolli also conducted several performances of the Brahms Alto Rhapsody (two with Kathleen Ferrier, who also sang the Four Serious Songs) and, in 1955, two performances of the German Requiem. In the late 1960’s, he recorded a Brahms cycle for EMI with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. In his last decade, when he conducted many of the world’s great orchestras, Barbirolli’s outstanding performances of Brahms and Schubert thrilled audiences throughout the world, nowhere more so than in Berlin and Boston where his interpretations (of Brahms’s Second Symphony, in particular) also greatly impressed the orchestral players. This set brings together Barbirolli's HMV recordings of Schubert's Symphony No.9 (1953), the Rosamunde Overture (1948/49), the Symphony No.3 by Brahms (1952) and Mendelssohn's Scherzo (1949). Also included is the famous Pye recording of the Brahms Double Concerto (1959) with André Navarra and Alfredo Campoli as soloists.
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Otto Klemperer - The Last Concert
The concert of 26 September 1971 was never intended to be Klemperer’s farewell to ‘live’ musicmaking. In his 87th year this conductor was keen to remain an active music maker. He had just overridden EMI’s choice of Fiordiligi in his new Così fan tutte recording (he wanted, and got, Margaret Price), approved Lorin Maazel as guest conductor of the New Philharmonia, and was keen to be present at player auditions. For 1971/72 he planned his first-ever performances of Mahler’s Eighth and Mendelssohn’s Die erste Walpurgisnacht and told EMI that he wished to record the Verdi Requiem, Weber’s Euryanthe, Sibelius’s Fourth and Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld. After a deal of negotiation (and some intrigue with Deutsche Grammophon) sessions for Beethoven’s Grosse Fuge, Mozart’s Serenata Notturna, Brahms’s St Antony Variations and a complete Mozart Entführung aus dem Serail were agreed. And yet, according to Otto Freudenthal, the Swedish-born pianist and composer who assisted closely in (and played for some of) Klemperer’s musical activities, “he was not interested in recordings; he had no feeling for that at all. Recording sessions were just rehearsals for concerts”. 1971 proved a busy year. Così was recorded and performed. Klemperer began learning Hebrew, advised Rafael Kubelík not to become music director of the Metropolitan Opera (he did, but only for 6 months), conducted Mahler in London (the Resurrection Symphony for the 60th anniversary of the composer’s death) and Bach and Mozart in Jerusalem, and (according to Freudenthal) was “always working on the score of his opera Das Ziel”. (Plans to record it were eventually shelved at Klemperer’s own request). In September he came to London and recorded Haydn’s Oxford Symphony – he had never performed the work ‘live’ and was nervous, but sessions went smoothly – and Mozart’s K.375 Serenade. An ensemble of young players from the New Philharmonia performed his String Quartet No.7.
From the booklet Mike Ashman, 2008
Mono Recording: 26 September 1971, Royal Festival Hall, London
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“…Bernstein speaks eloquently of Brahms's essential duality, of Romantic passion contained and controlled by Classical forms… Bernstein's interpretations, however, clearly verge towards the Romantic side of the coin.” BBC Music Magazine, November 2007 ****
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