Notes and Editorial Reviews
Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Hiller.
Carl Schuricht, cond;
Adrian Boult, cond;
New Philharmonia O
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
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.
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
Works on This Recording
Tragic Overture, Op. 81 by Johannes Brahms
London Symphony Orchestra
Written: 1880; Austria
Length: 14 Minutes 23 Secs.
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