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Celibidache - The Complete Rias Recordings

Celibidache / Puchelt / Scheck / Dsob / Bpo
Release Date: 05/31/2011 
Label:  Audite   Catalog #: 21406   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  George GershwinFerruccio BusoniLuigi CherubiniPaul Hindemith,   ... 
Performer:  Gerhard PucheltSiegfried BorriesGustav Scheck
Conductor:  Sergiu Celibidache
Number of Discs: 3 
Recorded in: Mixed 
Length: 3 Hours 36 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

When is a recording “historical” and worth having even when it’s not very good? The Celibidache on display here reveals nothing of the artist to come. He found himself at the helm of the post-War Berlin Philharmonic not because of musical merit, but as a result of politics among the occupying powers. The orchestra was in a shambles (too bad, eh?), and the fact is that Celi did a pretty good job pulling them together while at the same time spoon-feeding them new repertoire absent during the War due to Nazi cultural policies plus the spinelessness of Wilhelm Furtwängler. I know, I know–the Furtwängler thing, but say what you will, there is no question that he was quite in his element feeding his Nazi audiences an endless diet of Read more Beethoven, Wagner, and Brahms. Gershwin, Copland, and even Hindemith were out of the question.

Celibidache, on the other hand, supposedly loved Gershwin. When he wasn’t ferreting out epiphenomena in Bruckner symphonies, he could be heard playing Gershwin songs at the piano. Who knew? That said, this recording of Rhapsody in Blue is heavy handed and miserably played by pianist Gerhard Puchelt, who also inflicts his artistry on Hindemith’s Piano Concerto. Copland’s Appalachian Spring Suite, on the other hand, goes surprisingly well. Ravel’s Rhapsodie espagnole features a wildly exciting concluding Feria, while Cherubini’s Anacreon Overture and the reticent Busoni Violin Concerto with Siegfried Barries also satisfy. Harald Genzmer’s Flute Concerto, with soloist Gustav Scheck, is a delightful, Hindemith-ish piece, and this recording is important. The work was lost in the mail to Italy, so this is the only evidence we have of its existence. There’s still hope: knowing Italian mail as I do, the score could show up any day.

That leaves us with Reinhard Schwarz-Schilling’s conservative but very attractive Introduction and Fugue for String Orchestra, and three pieces by Celibidache’s beloved mentor Heinz Tiessen. He was an absolutely dreadful composer, sort of tonal, sort of neoclassical, and completely bereft of inspiration. His Hamlet Suite has three movements: a murky storm, Ophelia’s Death, and a Funeral March. The Salambo Suite has two movements, a brief opening, and a longer second one featuring Matho’s Torture and Death, Salambo’s Dance of Death, and an Epilog–as if there is anything more to say after that. Tiessen’s Second Symphony is modestly subtitled “Die and Become” (“Stirb und Werde”). Its twenty-four minutes feature a lot more dying than they do becoming–very German.

So this is a mixed bag, but taking the good with the bad the set is still worth hearing as a document of its time and place. The sonics are decent radio quality for the period, dynamically compressed but clear enough. Audite bills this as “the complete RIAS recordings,” then they discovered dozens more. But that’s another story.

-- David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin
Performer:  Gerhard Puchelt (Piano)
Conductor:  Sergiu Celibidache
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1924; USA 
Date of Recording: 10/20/1948 
Venue:  Live  Titania-Palast, Berlin 
Length: 18 Minutes 5 Secs. 
Concerto for Violin in D major, Op. 35a/K 243 by Ferruccio Busoni
Performer:  Siegfried Borries (Violin)
Conductor:  Sergiu Celibidache
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1899; Berlin, Germany 
Date of Recording: 05/09/1949 
Venue:  Live  Titania-Palast, Berlin 
Length: 25 Minutes 54 Secs. 
Anacréon: Overture by Luigi Cherubini
Conductor:  Sergiu Celibidache
Period: Classical 
Written: 1803; France 
Date of Recording: 03/07/1949 
Venue:  Live  Titania-Palast, Berlin 
Length: 9 Minutes 59 Secs. 
Concerto for Piano by Paul Hindemith
Performer:  Gerhard Puchelt (Piano)
Conductor:  Sergiu Celibidache
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1945; USA 
Date of Recording: 09/05/1949 
Venue:  Live  Titania-Palast, Berlin 
Length: 31 Minutes 1 Secs. 
Concerto for flute & chamber orchestra by Harald Genzmer
Performer:  Gustav Scheck (Flute)
Conductor:  Sergiu Celibidache
Period: Modern 
Written: 1944 
Date of Recording: 12/09/1950 
Venue:  Jesus-Christus-Kirche, Berlin-Dahlem 
Length: 24 Minutes 3 Secs. 
Hamlet-Suite for Orchestra, Op. 30 by Heinz Tiessen
Conductor:  Sergiu Celibidache
Period: Modern 
Written: 1919-1922 
Date of Recording: 10/07/1957 
Venue:  Live  Titania-Palast, Berlin 
Length: 6 Minutes 21 Secs. 
Salambo, 2 pieces for orchestra, Op. 34a by Heinz Tiessen
Conductor:  Sergiu Celibidache
Period: Modern 
Written: 1956 
Date of Recording: 10/07/1957 
Venue:  Live  Titania-Palast, Berlin 
Length: 5 Minutes 26 Secs. 
Symphony No. 2, Op. 17 by Heinz Tiessen
Conductor:  Sergiu Celibidache
Period: Modern 
Written: 1911-1912 
Date of Recording: 10/07/1957 
Venue:  Live  Titania-Palast, Berlin 
Length: 4 Minutes 10 Secs. 
Introduction & Fugue, for string orchestra by Reinhard Schwarz-Schillin
Conductor:  Sergiu Celibidache
Written: 1948 
Date of Recording: 04/11/1949 
Venue:  Live  Titania-Palast, Berlin 
Length: 10 Minutes 59 Secs. 
Appalachian Spring by Aaron Copland
Conductor:  Sergiu Celibidache
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1943-1944; USA 
Date of Recording: 04/04/1950 
Venue:  Live  Titania-Palast, Berlin 
Length: 24 Minutes 59 Secs. 
Rapsodie espagnole by Maurice Ravel
Conductor:  Sergiu Celibidache
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1907-1908; France 
Date of Recording: 10/14/1948 
Venue:  Gemeindehaus Thielallee, Berlin-Dahlem 
Length: 16 Minutes 9 Secs. 

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