Aureole etc.




Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line




Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Some items
to consider

 


Enjoy the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra wherever you are. App available for iOS and Android


Tudor 7188


Vaughan Williams Symphony 3 etc.


Lyrita New Recording


Lyrita Premiere Recordings

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage


Decca Phase 4 - 40CDs


Judith Bailey, George Lloyd


BAX Orchestral pieces


CASKEN Violin Concerto

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 

 

 

 

REVIEW



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
Atoll
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample
 

Buy through MusicWeb
for £22 postage paid World-wide.

Musicweb Purchase button

Ludwig Van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Symphonies Nos. 1-10 (CD 1: 1 [25:25]; 3 [52:46]; CD 2: 2 [34:10]; 6 [43:17]; CD 3: 4 [34:52] 7 [40:48]; CD 4: 5 [32:30], 8 [35:59] 10 [19:47]; CD 9: [71:41])
Alison Hargan (soprano); Della Jones (alto); David Rendell (tenor); Gwynne Howell (bass); London Symphony Chorus; London Symphony Orchestra/Wyn Morris
rec. London? 1988-89 (correct full discograhical details at end of review)
MUSICAL CONCEPTS MC 199 [5 CDs: 78:23 + 77:27 + 75:14 + 78:16 + 71:41]

Experience Classicsonline



 
A number of things mark out this Music Concepts set in a hideously thronged field. The first is the controversial Welsh conductor, Wyn Morris. The second is that this set includes the Barry Cooper completion of the Beethoven Tenth. This is the first time the cycle has been issued in a single box. To be welcomed is that the return of these recordings by John Boyden (producer) and Trygg Tryggvason (engineer) is at super bargain price. Most but not all of them were first issued by IMP but they never had much of a profile.
 
I first encountered Morris as the conductor of Isabella Wallich’s Symphonica of London specially assembled to record a bargain double LP set of Mahler 8. With its gatefold and low entry price it had some of the éclat of the Hanae Nakajima Beethoven Fifth Piano Concerto LP famously available on wobble vinyl only from Woolworths. They went on to do Mahler 5 and 9 in the same price bracket. This at a time when Mahler was the domain of prohibitively full price CBS, Decca and Philips LPs. The Symphonica, I recall, had horn desks bristling with members of the Tuckwell family. Morris and Symphonica/IMP started a cycle of the Beethoven piano concertos with Charles Rosen but this seems never to have got beyond numbers 2 and 4 lauded and 5 not.
 
First off this is a really well documented set. The notes are in English only and run to 24 pages. These offer discographical detailing though no recording location, track or work timings; anyone know where these were recorded and perhaps exact session dates? There are four pages of including music illustrations where Professor Cooper introduces his realisation of Beethoven 10 - the 'real' one not Brahms’ First. Wyn Morris is profiled, warts and all across six or so pages. It’s certainly not hagiography. His belligerence and arrogance coupled with his capacious taste for alcohol destroyed relationships with orchestra managements and left him in the cold for almost a decade until in 1984 John Boyden tried him out with the LSO for a Wagner selection. The old chemistry rekindled, came back on full stream and a group of London business magnates backed the present Beethoven cycle which was issued through Pickwick IMP and in the USA via MCA. The author of the profile is Gene Gaudette who also surveys the Beethoven symphonies over five pages. The German original sung text of the finale of the Choral Symphony plus a side by side translation is also given.
 
This is traditional Golden Age stuff where Morris rejects HIP strictures and embraces red-blooded engagement in a way that may now make some blench. It’s full flavour, full-on Beethoven - potent, romping, athletic and not in a lean way either. The abrasive skirling attack of the brass in the Molto vivace of the Ninth is invigorating and exciting - nothing ascetic here. It's not all muscle either as the frictionless platinum lyricism of the great Ode to Joy theme in the Choral reports at 4:45 onwards. The quartet of voices are admirable though Gwynne Howell does show some strain. Their individual voices can easily be discerned rather than being lost in a general miasma. There’s no shortage of 'face' here. Shame about the misspelling of Alison Hargan's name on the box and insert. The London Symphony Chorus display impressive depth and unanimity. They gild the heavens with bullion in Elysian tones from tr. 8. It is good that the finale is in six tracks so one can cherry-pick. This a blazing performance with risks taken, as they say, with extreme prejudice.
 
The Fourth is at times Haydn-like but roars and sprints in the third movement with its strongly predictive Brahmsian echoes. The Seventh has plenty of heft and gruffly spat-out stamina. There’s firebrand drive and spitfire attack in the finale. His Fifth blazes along, drenched in petrol and flaming forward, stately at times but responding well to the many ignition nodes. The brass in the third movement impress with their warlike blast and the finale maintains an iron grip - a shock-troop assault yet with the requisite torque to capture moments of repose and accelerate back into full frontal drama. Those imperious trumpets really reach out to the listener. The Eighth, which can have a Mozartean dancing divertimento feel to it, here majors on buffeting tempest rather than ingratiating cassation. The gentler moods are not rejected but Morris majors on shuddering exhilaration especially in the outer movements.
 
Beethoven's ‘Tenth’ was begun before the Ninth and only the first movement reached any sort of completion. Otherwise Cooper and a colleague had to contend with about fifty very brief and tenuous sketches. Cooper's and Morris’s vision gives us a smoothly golden first movement of some elysian delicacy. The middle movement is tempestuous in the manner of the gritty explosions of the Choral. The final Andante offers symmetry with more of the godlike smiles of the first movement. It ends with descent into a warm cadence and then a full Beethovenian stop. It's a very incely proportioned piece of music which you should hear - whether it has sufficient of Beethoven's wildness I doubt. The accent is more Pastoral than Fifth.
 
The Second Symphony is allowed to gruff and growl (III) as well as charm and serenade in the warmly decorated realms of the second movement. The finale has plenty of stamina and proceeds at a typically Morrisian lightning pelt. The Sixth is somewhat akin in mood. Broadly the even numbered symphonies are more contented than the odd numbered ones which lean on drama and heroism. The Andante and the Allegretto are as serene as I have heard them though this does not mean slow.
 
After a magnificently focused, fleet-footed and dramatic First Symphony comes the Eroica. The booklet reminds us that this is not Morris's only seventh - I wonder how the two compare. He first recorded the work on LP (never since reissued on CD) in 1977 with the same Symphonica of London with which he had recorded the Mahler 8. The present reading is not lacking in whiplash resilience and fast fury nor in the Marcia Funebre in epic gravitas. Nervy energy and brusque magnificence is to the fore in the Scherzo. Now I hanker for a Wyn Morris Brahms Third and Fourth but it’s not going to happen.
 
I recall how lacklustre were the Karajan LP box of the nine symphonies issued in 1977. They left and leave me completely unmoved - despite the god-like full page poses complete with apollonian expression and that shock of silvery hair. They compared very unfavourably with the old Decca cycle by Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt which I recall resounding around the house when my father was playing those Decca LPs in the 1960s. Mind you, I also enjoy the Beethoven piano concertos played by Friedrich Gulda also issued by Decca in a single box back in the 1990s and more recently appearing on Brilliant Classics.
 
A digital cycle with old fashioned values and a certain intemperate freshness of approach - be prepared to rediscover Beethoven.
 
Rob Barnett
 



The Wyn Morris Beethoven symphony recording sessions (courtesy of Peter Joelson - to whom warmest thanks)
 

9-11 May 1988 Walthamstow Assembly Hall

Symphony No.1 in C Op.21

Symphony No.2 in D Op.36

Symphony No.9 in D minor Op.125 “Choral”

 

5-6 May 1987 Watford Town Hall

Symphony No.4 in B flat Op.60

Symphony No.5 in C minor Op.67

 

8 &10 Feb 1988 Walthamstow Assembly Hall

Symphony No.3 in E flat Op.55 “Eroica”

Symphony No.6 in F Op.68 “Pastoral”

 

7-8 Mar 1988 Watford Town Hall

Symphony No.7 in A Op.92

Symphony No.8 in F Op.93

 

8 Sep 1988 Walthamstow Assembly Hall

Symphony No.10 in E flat : 1st movement

Coupled with a lecture on the work by Barry Cooper.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
.
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Comment
Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips


Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools






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.


 

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.