Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Great conductors of the 20TH century EMI VOL.15 - Bruno Walter

CD1 [77:29]

Beethoven: Symphony No.6 'Pastoral'

Wiener Philharmoniker; Musikverein, Vienna; December 1936

Brahms: Symphony No.2

New York Philharmonic; 30th Street Studio, New York City; December 1953

CD2 [66:12]

Mozart: Le nozze di Figaro: Overture

British Symphony Orchestra; Central Hall, Westminster, London; April 1932

Haydn: Symphony No.92 'Oxford'

Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire; Théâtre Pigalle, Paris; May 1938

Wagner: Die Meistersinger: Prelude to Act 1

British Symphony Orchestra; Central Hall, Westminster, London; May 1930

Wagner: Die Walküre: Act 2, Scene 5

Lotte Lehmann (Sieglinde), Ella Flesch (Brünnhilde), Lauritz Melchior (Siegmund), Alfred Jerger (Wotan) & Emanuel List (Hunding)/Wiener Philharmoniker; Musikverein, Vienna; June 1935

Mahler: Kindertotenlieder: 'Nun will die Sonn' so hell aufgeh'n'

Kathleen Ferrier (contralto)/Wiener Philharmoniker; Kingsway Hall, London; October 1949

Mahler: Symphony No.5: Adagietto

Wiener Philharmoniker; Musikverein, Vienna; January 1938

Johann Strauss: Die Fledermaus: Overture
Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire; Théâtre Pigalle, Paris; May 1938


Born in Berlin in 1876, Bruno Walter entered the Stern Conservatory at the age of eight, intending to become a concert pianist, and made his conducting debut in Cologne at 17. Following appointments in Pressburg (now Bratislava), Riga and Berlin, he went to Vienna as assistant to Mahler, whose works he later championed, giving the premieres of Das Lied von der Erde and the Ninth Symphony after the composer's death. Important positions in Munich and Berlin - as well as guest appearances in Salzburg, London, Amsterdam, Paris, New York, Moscow and elsewhere - brought him worldwide fame by the 1920s. After the Nazis drove him from Germany in 1933 and Austria in 1938, he settled in the United States, where he worked with several leading musical organisations, most notably the New York Philharmonic. He was, and through his many recordings still is, widely admired for his skilful use of rubato, sensitivity to structure and textural details, dramatic intensity and, perhaps most of all, the genial lyricism of his performances.
This compilation, made by Erik Ryding (who has just completed a major biography of Bruno Walter) shows the conductor at his best, before and immediately after World War II and before ill health forced him to slow down. So, the majority of these recordings come from 1930-1938, from 1949 and, finally, with Brahms's Second Symphony with the New York Philharmonic, from 1953. The recording of Beethoven's 'Pastoral' Symphony, with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in 1936, is a seminal performance and represents the VPO at the height of its powers before the war. The New York performance of the Brahms represents Walter's best work in the United States. The Mozart and Wagner (both from the early 1930s) and the Haydn and Johann Strauss (both from 1938) are quite rare and have all been carefully remastered for this reissue. The extract from Act 2 of Die Walküre comes from arguably one of the very greatest recorded performances of Wagner on record and the treasurable VPO recordings with Kathleen Ferrier, of Mahler's Kindertotenlieder and Das Lied von der Erde, were amongst the conductor's own favourites.


1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for this and other posts of this collection.


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