Antal Doráti’s Minneapolis recordings were notable for their
grandeur and technical excellence. The three under review demonstrate the
triumphantly, even when they may seem stylistically somewhat at odds with
The main event is Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony which was recorded
three days in April 1952 for Mercury. Doráti takes a decisive
of tempo decisions pretty much throughout, and this is a fleet and tensile
Pristine’s XR work on this mono recording has given depth to the
spectrum, and the ambient stereo brings the advantage of warmth.
not had the opportunity to listen to the original LP, so can’t
on the nature of the work in any useful detail, but can say that it sounds
I do wonder, however, to what extent the brass and, say, the lower string
have been boosted. Those whose experience of the symphony ranges in its
recordings from Alexander Kitschin, Rodzinski, Stokowski, Mengelberg,
Lambert, Stock and Beecham may find Doráti unyielding and
but I happen to find him driving and exciting and cumulatively powerful.
He also recorded Enrique Fernández Arbós’s
of Albéniz’s Iberia a few years later, this time in
Fortunately there’s a benchmark, which is the orchestrator himself
his 1928 recording of El corpus en Sevilla, Triana and El
made with the Madrid Symphony Orchestra [Dutton CDBP 9782]. The grandiose,
ebullient and assertive Minneapolis performances of the complete set only
seldom sounds remotely Spanish. In fact for some of the time it cleaves
to Tchaikovsky - more like a ballet waltz in Evocación, and
its grandiloquence and bravura sounding strangely like a symphonic finale
El Corpus en Sevilla. When Doráti slows down he can make his
well, but he hustles Triana too much. As an example of orchestral
and discipline, as well as rhythmic tenacity, this can’t be faulted.
an example of fidelity to idiom, it leaves a great deal to be desired. The
and Dance from Falla’s La Vida Breve was made at the same
and makes for a pleasing envoi.
If the reckoning here is the Tchaikovsky, and it’s likely to be,
this vital and energising account makes a most exciting impact.
Masterwork Index: Tchaikovsky