Peter Maag (1919-2001) was born in Switzerland to a musical family. After studies in theology and philosophy, and an early career as a pianist, he was encouraged to conduct. In that field, his mentors included Ernest Ansermet and, above all, Wilhelm Furtwängler. His success as a conductor grew throughout the late 1940s and 50s, and as early as 1950 he made his first recordings for Decca. The composer back then was Mozart, and Maag would be associated with Mozart’s music in the recording studios, concert halls and opera houses his entire life. His Decca Mozart recordings were collectors’ items and they have all now appeared on Decca Eloquence.
This 2CD set offers popular 19th-century Romantic fare, with a fairy twist. Nymphs, sylphs and fairies make up the subjects of the Mendelssohn, Chopin and Delibes ballet and incidental music. The swaggering Rossini Overtures recording dates from 1958, and most of the recordings on this collection date from early in the stereo era. They were regarded as sonic showpieces when they were first released, and used copies of the original LPs command high prices from collectors even today. The Chopin and Rossini recordings receive their first international CD release, while the
Delibes is a first ever release on CD.
“Maag gives Fingal's Cave the full "poetical" treatment … The LSO plays superbly throughout, in the very highest class of orchestral playing” Gramophone Magazine (Hebrides Overture)
“An exceptionally good quality of recording illuminates the Decca record, with a rich and entirely natural orchestral sound free from any audible artificialities at all. As the London Symphony Orchestia is also on top of its form, Mendelssohn emerges in the most favourable of lights.” Gramophone Magazine (A Midsummer Night’s Dream)
“the performances throughout will be found to be polished, stylish and full of character” Gramophone Magazine (Delibes, Chopin)