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Sir John Barbirolli - Complete RCA & Columbia Album Collection


Release Date: 02/21/2020 
Label:  Sony   Catalog #: 19075988382  
Composer:  Henry PurcellClaude DebussyPeter Ilyich TchaikovskyOttorino Respighi,   ... 
Performer:  Benny GoodmanRobert CasadesusNathan Milstein
Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
Number of Discs: 6 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

The young John Barbirolli was hardly known in America when the New York Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra chose him to be Arturo Toscanini’s successor starting in 1937. The 36-year-old Londoner’s first season was a triumph with both players and audiences, and although his years in New York would be increasingly marred by unfair rivalry with Toscanini – lured back to lead a specially created NBC Symphony – and by partisan hostility from two influential critics, Barbirolli’s tenure can now be looked back on as a real success.

From 1938 until 1943, when he returned to the UK to take over Manchester’s Hallé Orchestra, Sir John made a series of recordings in New York for American Columbia and RCA Victor which are still
Read more essential for a full appreciation of this revered conductor’s career, “performances that are as competitive today as they were when initially released” (Fanfare). Sony Classical is pleased to reissue them in a newly remastered six-CD set.

Among the treasures here are Debussy’s Iberia and Tchaikovsky’s Francesca da Rimini (both recorded in 1938) and the first-ever recording of Schubert’s Fourth (“Tragic”) Symphony (from 1939), together cited by Gramophone as “a demonstration that the Philharmonic-Symphony had few rivals in the world at the time as a recording orchestra … A forceful, high-powered reading [of the symphony] which yet has a Schubertian smile … The crisp attack in the Tchaikovsky, even tauter than in Barbirolli’s superb 1969 HMV New Philharmonia version, is thrillingly caught. The Debussy brings the most vivid sound of all, weighty and full of presence, with castanets and brass leaping out from the speakers. This is a white-hot performance, every bit as exciting as those of Toscanini, and with a moving vein of tenderness in the slow second movement.”

There are several works by Mozart, among them the Clarinet Concerto with Benny Goodman (from 1940) and the Symphony No. 25 and Piano Concerto No. 27 with Robert Casadesus (both from 1941). The Piano Concerto’s opening Allegro “is beautifully shaped with an almost palpable sense of wonder in the music and the pianist is definitely having a ball of time,” said Classical Net. “The final Allegro is also very commendable for its grand sense of pomp and majesty … The exquisite symphony also receives wonderful attention and care from Barbirolli and the NYPSO. Here one can sense the conductor's love for Mozart’s inspired melodies … Benny Goodman is a characterful interpreter of the Clarinet Concerto.”

“The generous flavor of Barbirolli’s Brahms comes through in the Academic Festival Overture and the Second Symphony [both from 1940],” wrote Audiophile Audition’s reviewer. “The Overture is rife with ceremonial grandeur and jolly spirits. The D major Symphony has a debonair airiness and bucolic relaxation about it.” And Sibelius’s First Symphony (from 1942) “should delight fans of Barbirolli’s 1960s complete traversal of the symphonies … The conductor’s warmth, vision, and emotional urgency has lost none of its appeal in the more than half century that has passed” (Fanfare).

Also from 1942 is Nathan Milstein playing the Bruch Concerto with “the Philharmonic-Symphony in tremendous form,” exclaimed MusicWeb International’s critic. “Barbirolli opens powerfully and Milstein responds in kind; not over emoted and with vibrato perfectly scaled to the demands of the music. He is really quite withdrawn and introspective in the Adagio, powerfully so indeed, and Barbirolli brings out the horn harmonies in a way that seems to reveal them for the first time. There is romantic fervour but also passagework clarity and digital cleanliness in the finale … a model of concerto accompaniment and creative collaboration.”
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Works on This Recording

1.
Suite for Strings, Woodwind & Horns by Henry Purcell
Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
2.
Images for Orchestra: no 2, Ibéria by Claude Debussy
Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1905-1908; France 
3.
Francesca da Rimini, Op. 32 by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1876; Russia 
4.
Ancient Airs and Dances, Set 3: no 2, Aire di Corte by Ottorino Respighi
Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1931; Rome, Italy 
5.
Fountains of Rome by Ottorino Respighi
Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1914-1916; Rome, Italy 
6.
Symphony no 4 in C minor, D 417 "Tragic" by Franz Schubert
Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1816; Vienna, Austria 
7.
Minuets (5) for String Quartet, D 89 by Franz Schubert
Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1813; Vienna, Austria 
8.
Symphony no 2 in D major, Op. 73 by Johannes Brahms
Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1877; Austria 
9.
Symphony no 1 in E minor, Op. 39 by Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1899; Finland 
10.
Symphony no 2 in D major, Op. 43 by Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1901-1902; Finland 
11.
Bartered Bride, B 143/T 93: Overture by Bedrich Smetana
Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1866 
12.
Bartered Bride, B 143/T 93: Overture by Bedrich Smetana
Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1866 
13.
Capriccio espagnol, Op. 34 by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1887; Russia 
14.
La valse by Maurice Ravel
Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1920; France 
15.
Le carnaval romain Overture, Op. 9 by Hector Berlioz
Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1843-1844; France 
16.
Academic Festival Overture in C minor, Op. 80 by Johannes Brahms
Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1880; Austria 
17.
Petite suite for Piano 4 hands: no 4, Ballet by Claude Debussy
Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1886-1889; France 
18.
Premičre Rhapsodie for Clarinet and Orchestra by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Benny Goodman (Clarinet)
Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1911; France 
19.
Was mir behagt, ist nur die muntre Jagd!, BWV 208 "Hunt Cantata": Schafe können sicher weiden by Johann Sebastian Bach
Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1713; Cöthen, Germany 
20.
Concerto for Clarinet in A major, K 622 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Benny Goodman (Clarinet)
Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
Period: Classical 
Written: 1791; Vienna, Austria 
21.
Concerto for Piano no 27 in B flat major, K 595 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Robert Casadesus (Piano)
Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
Period: Classical 
Written: 1791; Vienna, Austria 
22.
Symphony no 25 in G minor, K 183 (173dB) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
Written: 1773 
23.
Concerto for Violin no 1 in G minor, Op. 26 by Max Bruch
Performer:  Nathan Milstein (Violin)
Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868; Germany 
24.
Suite for Orchestra no 3 in G major, Op. 55: Theme and Variations by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1884; Russia 
25.
An Elizabethan Suite by Sir John Barbirolli
Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1942; Vancouver, Canada 

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