Magazine article Gramophone

'Beecham's Mozart

Magazine article Gramophone

'Beecham's Mozart

Article excerpt

A rather different manner of contrast between a relatively young musician and his older self is afforded by Pristine Audio, which has coupled a triple-bill of Mozart symphonies (Nos 31,35 and 36) recorded in the early 1950s by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under Sir Thomas Beecham with a quartet of Mozart recordings (Magic Flute and Figaro overtures, Figaro Sarabande and K131's Minuet and Trio) performed by Beecham's Symphony Orchestra between 1915 and 1917.

To be truthful, all you can tell about the acoustic recordings is that they're old (prominent string portamentos abound) and that the playing is fairly spirited. On the other hand, I've always loved Beecham's mono American Columbia Mozart symphony recordings (out here, for a while, on Sony CDs), the Paris especially, with its varied dynamics, punchy accents and expressive phrasing.

When it comes to underlining musical arguments, Beecham doesn't miss a trick (the big key-change at the onset of the first movement's development section, for example), and the playing of the Royal Philharmonic is full of gusto. Andrew Rose has subtly 'aired' the sound, which has a strong bass-line.

I'm optimistically assuming that Symphonies Nos 40 and 41 (surely Beecham's finest Jupiter) are already in the pipeline. Just for the record, next in line is a CD of Symphonies Nos 38, 39 and Divertimento No 2 (PASC413).

THE RECORDING

Mozart Symphonies, Vol 1

RPO; Beecham SO/Thomas Beecham

Pristine Audio [B] PASC409

KEY TO SYMBOLS

[R] Reissue

[H] Historic

[2] Compact disc (numbers of discs in set)

[T] text(s) included

[t] translation(s) included

[S] synopsis included

[s] subtitles included

[SACD] Super Audio CD (SACD)

[DVD-V] DVD-Video

[Br] Blu-ray

[LP] LP

[Do] Download only

[nla] no longer available

[aas] all available separately

[oas] only available separately

[F] 10 [pounds sterling] and over

[M] 7. …

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