Notes and Editorial Reviews
Poised and patrician interpretations that concentrate on lyricism, warmth, and spacious breadth rather than incipient tension.
Walter’s 1960 B flat recording hasn’t Beecham’s geniality or élan but it does have an unhurried and patrician affection that is hard to gainsay. The generosity of the phrasing never descends to Casals’s rather heavy-handed loving kindness; the sectional balance is fine, the direction remains crisply understated but affectionate. The wind and horn principals distinguish themselves in the slow movement where Walter brings out detail with candour but without any kind of finicky over-scrupulousness. Genial and leisurely – and without any crunching tutti weight – the finale is of a piece with
Walter’s mature perception of the symphony. It’s a young man’s work but seen somewhat through avuncular and retrospective eyes.
The Unfinished was recorded two years earlier, this time in New York. Poised and patrician once more this is a reading that concentrates on lyricism rather than incipient tension or internal dynamic contrasts. The orchestra sounds notably fine and Walter’s direction retains a grand seigniorial approach, one that will perhaps disappoint those who might have missed the spirit of his fiery wartime performances with this orchestra, a time when he seemed on occasion hell bent on recreating Toscanini’s sweeping dynamism. Nevertheless his later approach certainly makes up in warmth and spacious breadth – especially the second movement – what it lacks in velocity and power.
-- Jonathan Woolf, MusicWeb International [reviewing Sony 78741]
Works on This Recording
Symphony no 5 in B flat major, D 485 by Franz Schubert
Columbia Symphony Orchestra
Written: 1816; Vienna, Austria
Date of Recording: 1960
Venue: American Legion Hall, Hollywood, CA
Symphony no 8 in B minor, D 759 "Unfinished" by Franz Schubert
New York Philharmonic
Written: 1822; Vienna, Austria
Date of Recording: 03/03/1958
Venue: St. George Hotel, Brooklyn, NY
Leonore Overture no 3 in C major, Op. 72a by Ludwig van Beethoven
New York Philharmonic
Written: 1805-1806; Vienna, Austria
Date of Recording: 12/04/1954
Venue: CBS 30th Street Studios, New York City
Notes: This selection is a monaural recording.
Be the first to review this title