AN EVENING AT THE PROMS • Malcolm Sargent, cond; Joan Hammond (sop);1 Shura Cherkassky (pn);2 BBC SO • GUILD 2393, mono (72:43)
SULLIVAN Overture di Ballo. TCHAIKOVSKY Eugen Onegin: 1Tatiana’s Letter Scene. AndanteRead more cantabile (from String Quartet No. 1). DVO?ÁK Slavonic Dance in e, Op 72/2. HOLST Beni Mora: Suite. CHABRIER Le roi malgré lui: Fête Polonaise. LITOLFF 2Concerto symphonique No. 4 in d: Scherzo. ELGAR Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 in D, op. 39/1
The title of this album, is a bit of a misnomer. Yes, all the selections offered here were presented under Sargent’s baton at Proms concerts, but some (such as the Litolff; Cherkassky didn’t appear in any Proms concerts in the 1959 season, when this particular recording was made) are studio pressings.
This doesn’t lessen the pleasure with the results, in general. Joan Hammond’s Tatiana is among the finest conceived, vocally focused, and clearly enunciated on record, despite being in English. The early bars of Chabrier’s Fête Polonaise are often performed with as much strutting ceremony, but the rest seldom has the infectious verve Sargent and his BBC players deliver here. The richness of the strings in Tchaikovsky’s Andante cantabile is something to relish, and Sargent’s phrasing is to the manner born. And if the central section to the Overture di Ballo is under-accented and a bit limp, and the opening section to the Pomp and Circumstance March a bit sluggish, there’s such intensity in the suite to Beni Mora as to draw attention to its positive qualities—the orchestral writing, the taut, musical logic—and away from the exotic clichés.
The sound is clear, and more resonant than contemporary Decca releases without losing the music’s edge or transparency. In short, this is a fine example of Sargent’s touch with the lighter classics.
Eugene Onegin, Op. 24: Tatiana's letter sceneby Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky Performer:
Dame Joan Hammond ()
Sir Malcolm Sargent
Period: Romantic Written: 1877-1878; Russia Date of Recording: 1959 Length: 12 Minutes 34 Secs.