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Barbirolli At The Proms - Brahms, Haydn / Hallé Orchestra


Release Date: 07/17/2007 
Label:  Guild   Catalog #: 2320   Spars Code: AAD 
Composer:  Johannes BrahmsFranz Joseph Haydn
Performer:  David Galliver
Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hallé Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Mono 
Length: 0 Hours 56 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



HAYDN L’isola disabitata: Overture. The Creation: In Native Worth. 1 BRAHMS Symphony No. 1 John Barbirolli, cond; David Galliver (ten); 1 Hallé O GUILD 2320 (55:30) Broadcast: 8/24/1954


The current release is derived from BBC Transcription Service discs of a Read more Proms concert given in London’s Royal Albert Hall on August 24, 1954. Brahms and Haydn were two composers for which Barbirolli had a special affection. He opened the program with Haydn’s Overture to his opera The Uninhabited Island , followed by the tenor aria, “In Native Worth,” from the “And God Created Man” tableau of Haydn’s Creation.


Anyone who thinks Beethoven invented Sturm und Drang need only listen to the Haydn overture, written in 1779, when Beethoven was nine years old. The storm-tossed music Haydn composed to depict the remote Atlantic island seems strangely at odds with what the newly married Constanza and her husband Gernando are doing there in the first place—they’ve sailed to the island for their honeymoon. But the events that unfold soon explain the overture’s intense drama. The somewhat cavernous acoustic of the Royal Albert Hall amplifies the agitation, but it also enlarges the sound of the orchestra rather out of proportion, considering this is still a Classical-period score.


Tenor David Galliver (1925–2001) was, according to his biography, apparently a favorite in England from about 1952 to 1960, where he is remembered for his performances in the Bach Passions, in Mozart’s operas, and for a 1958 performance of Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius under Barbirolli before Pope Pius XII. In the mid 1960s, Galliver moved to Australia, where he continued his career. To the best of my knowledge, this is my first encounter with him, and it is probably unfair to form an opinion based on such a short excerpt from Haydn’s Creation. The voice itself is pleasant enough, but intonation is not very precise.


To those readers—one hopes they are few and far between—who refuse even to consider performances that omit repeats, I say it’s your loss; for Barbirolli’s Brahms First on this disc packs one powerful punch. The slow introduction is perhaps just a bit too slow for my taste, but the main body of the first movement is swift and driven, and reaches a truly fearsome climax. The Andante sostenuto is a sweet summer idyll; the Un poco allegretto e grazioso strikes just the right tempo and mood; and the great finale is impressively rousing. The sound, equally enlarged by the hall, does not seem as out of place in the Brahms as it did in the Haydn. There is, however, a fairly noisy contingent of coughers and throat clearers that may annoy listeners on repeated hearings.


Overall, I rate this release very highly. I’ve always been fond of Barbirolli’s conducting, and not just his Brahms. His Mahler is very fine and probably underrated. Recommended.


FANFARE: Jerry Dubins
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Works on This Recording

1. Symphony no 1 in C minor, Op. 68 by Johannes Brahms
Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hallé Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1855-1876; Austria 
Date of Recording: 08/24/1954 
Venue:  Live  Royal Albert Hall, London, England 
Length: 42 Minutes 22 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording. 
2. L'isola disabitata, H 28 no 9: Overture by Franz Joseph Haydn
Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hallé Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1779; Eszterhazá, Hungary 
Date of Recording: 08/24/1954 
Venue:  Live  Royal Albert Hall, London, England 
Length: 6 Minutes 59 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording. 
3. The Creation, H 21 no 2: And God said... With verdure by Franz Joseph Haydn
Performer:  David Galliver (Tenor)
Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hallé Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1796-1798; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 08/24/1954 
Venue:  Live  Royal Albert Hall, London, England 
Length: 5 Minutes 33 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording. 

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