These orchestral miniatures, which Beecham fondly termed “lollipops“ and brought to life in an inimitable manner, were recorded over the years 1956—59. They are a varied group to be sure, contrasting well with each other. Sibelius's Valse triste has both lilt and a subtly expressed melancholy that have never quite been duplicated. In this case, as elsewhere, it is so because Beecham took these miniatures as seriously as he did. He was thus able to articulate the ingenuity of the orchestration, invariably find the apt pulse of the shifting tempos, and revel in the rhythms and timbres. The Bacchanale from Samson et Dalila is hypnotic with exotic sensuality. Moreover, as Lyndon Jenkins points out in the notes toward the end of this piece,Read more “Beecham produced an amount of volume in the studio that could not be accommodated on the LPs of the day, so the engineers had to modify it; here it is given full rein.“ His later recordings of Mozart symphonies seem mannered when compared to the panache of his prewar London Philharmonic performances, but not when it comes to these vignettes. The Menuet from Mozart's K. 131 Divertimento is issued here for the first time in stereo sound. Indeed, whether it is Mozart or Berlioz, what appealed most to Beecham was the melodic content and he could make it sing. To this must be added the incredible virtuosity of the Royal Philharmonic under his direction. These recordings, deriving from several venues, have a full, rich, warm sound, spacious but always with definition and a ripe bloom. For magic, delight, sheer effervescence, above all grace and eloquence of execution, this is a collection no one should be without.