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Brahms, Reger, Beethoven / Schuricht, Boult, LSO, New Philharmonia

Release Date: 09/25/2007 
Label:  Bbc Legends   Catalog #: 4213   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Johannes BrahmsMax RegerLudwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Carl SchurichtSir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony OrchestraNew Philharmonia Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 14 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

BRAHMS Tragic Overture. 1 REGER Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Hiller. 1 BEETHOVEN Grosse Fugue 2 Carl Schuricht, cond; 1 London SO; 1 Adrian Boult, cond; 2 New Philharmonia O 2 Read more BBC LEGENDS 4213 (73:55)

This highly recommendable disc presents performances of works central to their conductors’ repertoire, recorded when each maestro was at the height of his power. Schuricht’s Brahms is bold and imposing rather than merely somber. He draws playing that immediately grips the ear from the London Symphony Orchestra, and further heightens the experience by pacing the interpretation vividly. After finding Schuricht’s Wagner and Beethoven of variable quality when I recently heard it, it is heartening to come to these performances, which also are recorded in good quality stereo sound.

I find Reger’s music rather like Hindemith’s: of its time and rather dry in its outlook. Making the Hiller Variations sound involving is not an easy task, but Schuricht pulls off more convincing results than Franz Konwitschny does with the Leipzig Gewandhaus orchestra on Berlin Classics. No doubt Schuricht’s period of study with Reger helped endear one to the other. Each variation is given with care as the path toward the final grand fugue is inexorably built.

Beethoven’s Grosse Fugue may be appropriate to program after Reger’s, but musically there is little doubt as to which work is the superior one. Boult’s conception of it is strong and mighty, and its inclusion here is no mere filler item. If, in the U.K. at least, Boult is still chiefly remembered for his championing of British composers, his credentials in mainstream continental repertoire are amply on display. Furtwängler and the Vienna Philharmonic on Music & Arts 520 turn in a reading that had comparatively greater edge and although it moves on the whole at a marginally swifter tempo, the overall effect can be one of less internal movement than Boult brings to bear.

FANFARE: Evan Dickerson
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Works on This Recording

Tragic Overture, Op. 81 by Johannes Brahms
Conductor:  Carl Schuricht
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1880; Austria 
Length: 14 Minutes 23 Secs. 
Variations and Fugue on a theme of JA Hiller, Op. 100 by Max Reger
Conductor:  Carl Schuricht
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1907; Germany 
Length: 38 Minutes 26 Secs. 
Grosse Fuge for String Quartet in B flat major Op. 133 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1825-1826; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 18 Minutes 56 Secs. 

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