£16 post free World-wide

 


555 sonatas 9Cds mp3 files
Only £22


 


Benjamin: Written on Skin £16

Search
What's New
Previous CDs
Concerts
Jazz
Nostalgia
Composers
Resources
Announce
Labels index


Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    


 

AVAILABILITY 

Pristine Audio Direct

Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924)
Seven Piano Pieces:
Impromptu No.2 in F minor Op.31 (1883) [3.41]
Nocturne No.6 in D flat major Op.63 (1894) [7.04]
Barcarolle No.2 in G major Op.41 (1885) [5.55]
Nocturne No.13 in B minor Op.119 (1921) [6.40]
Barcarolle No.1 in A minor Op.26 (c.1880) [4.37]
Nocturne No.4 in E flat major Op.36 (1884) [5.57]
Thème and Variations in C sharp minor Op.73 (1895) [12.28]
Kathleen Long (piano)
rec. London, 1951. ADD
PRISTINE AUDIO PAKM015 [46.23]
 
I happen to be delighted to see Kathleen Long’s early 1950s Decca Fauré recordings once more available. The correspondence on these performances “in another place” prompted me to dig out her 78s. This involves not just the slew of Mozart recordings she made for Decca, some of which have been collated by Dutton on an all-Long disc, but also her first recordings. She began her career in the studios recording for Compton Mackenzie’s National Gramophonic Society (N.G.S.). Whilst even then she was pegged as a Mozart specialist she was also to record Bach. As an aside someone should really get to grips with the N.G.S. discs, the market for which may well prove small, but the recordings of which - not always perfectly recorded it’s true - did enshrine some outstanding traversals of often unusual repertoire.
 
Long was for some time probably Britain’s leading exponent of the French repertoire. An allied assurance can be seen in her recording of the Third Delius Sonata with Sammons (Dutton) and in altogether less wistful form in Walter Leigh’s Concertino. Her Fauré recordings were not many but they were well received; I believe that this is the second of her recordings of the Thème and Variations. As one might imagine, her technical competence is high, though not infallible. She sounds especially harried in passages in the Fourth Nocturne.
 
She’s a direct exponent of the repertoire, clear-sighted, architecturally sure-footed, tonally bright. She may be considered bracingly extrovert where others prefer pastel. In this performance of the Nocturne in E flat major she hammers away in the treble – maybe the rather unhelpful original Decca set up exaggerates it – and points bass rhythms with a certain ebullience. Turn to the recordings of Germaine Thyssens-Valentin, made a few years later in 1956, and we find a totally different sound world; caressing, slower (always slower) and with subtler colouration. That very open Decca sound is present throughout but especially the Sixth Nocturne where Long can sound too urgent after immersion in Thyssens-Valentin – though she does bring a forceful romanticism to bear.
 
Long’s view was a consistent and entertaining one even if I find her rhythmically muddled in the B minor Nocturne. With the Barcarolles she tends to play the blunt outspoken guest to Thyssens-Valentin’s more coy and rhythmically more teasing host, the one rather rushing and the other wryly amused. Try the G major for an explicit contrast of that kind and the A minor Barcarolle for moments where the French player’s hinterland of expression proves too great and expansive for the Englishwoman’s. In the great Thème and Variations we hear Long’s clipped and highly accented approach bringing no-nonsense authority – though note that she gets through the theme in 1.38 and Thyssens-Valentin in 2.15, an indicator of their expressive responses throughout.
 
Originally released on two ten-inch discs the Pristine Audio team has worked hard on its restoration. I don’t have access to either of the LPs so can’t make a direct comparison, but if there’s a hint of stuffiness at the treble end I can say that the results are still commendably clear and involving. Andrew Rose and his team will earn kudos for this disc – check his website for the restructured pricing of his discs.
 
Jonathan Woolf
 

AVAILABILITY 

Pristine Audio Direct

 

 



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

 

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable Arcodiva
British Music Soc.
CDAccord
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter


Subscribe to our free weekly newsletter

Return to Index

Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.