Phonograph Monthly Review, Vol. 3, No. 5 (1929-02)

Record Details:

Something wrong or inaccurate about this page? Let us Know!

Thanks for helping us continually improve the quality of the Lantern search engine for all of our users! We have millions of scanned pages, so user reports are incredibly helpful for us to identify places where we can improve and update the metadata.

Please describe the issue below, and click "Submit" to send your comments to our team! If you'd prefer, you can also send us an email to with your comments.

We use Optical Character Recognition (OCR) during our scanning and processing workflow to make the content of each page searchable. You can view the automatically generated text below as well as copy and paste individual pieces of text to quote in your own work.

Text recognition is never 100% accurate. Many parts of the scanned page may not be reflected in the OCR text output, including: images, page layout, certain fonts or handwriting.

168 The Phonograph Monthly Review February, 1929 Analytical Notes and Reviews By OUR STAFF CRITICS Orchestral Victor Masterpiece Set M-42 (5 D12s, Alb., $10.00) Brahms: Symphony No. 3, in F, Op. 90, played by Leopold Stokowski and the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra. I. Allegro con brio (3 parts) II. Andante (3 parts) III. Poco allegretto (2 parts) IV. Finale—Allegro (2 parts) (The sides are arranged for the automatic Orthophonic; i. e., it is necessary to play through the “A” sides in order and then backward through the “B” sides to obtain the right sequence of parts. The labelling indicates this care- fully, but the process of changing records at the end of. each side is rather irksome for the owners of non-automatic in- struments.) This is the first recording of Brahms Third and is the last of his symphonies to be made available for the phono- graph. The music itself is well enough known to make annotation unnecessary, yet since this is its phonographic debut, and since some readers may have the glorious privi- lege of now hearing it for the first time, I cannot forbear to quote Lawrence Gilman’s noble words: “Perhaps Brahms has not elsewhere—in his symphonies, at least—so influentially united noble directness and puissant breadth, rich tenderness and poetic warmth. The superb opening of the symphony, exposing the great theme than descends with so liberal a gesture through the keys, of F major, F minor, and D-flat major is filled with a sweeping, heroic passion of imposing energy and amplitude. Yet con- sider, for contrast, the mysterious brooding of that ex- traordinary passage of antiphonal chords near the end of the Andante, wherein Brahms anticipated by a decade some of the harmonic procedures of Debussy; consider the end of the last movement, with its heart-easing, sunset peace and its glamorous quietude! . . . That slow subsidence at the end into a golden twilight peacefulness, mystically con- templative and serene, is the achievement of a mood that he never quite recaptured, and it is among the indescribable things of music.” Stokowski’s performance is all that we expect from Stokowski,—which includes always something unexpected. The recording is more sonorous and vibrant than ever; when is the limit to be reached? There are passages here where it surely seems to be touched. Stokowski recaptures the strength of the work, “the strong man rejoicing to run a race;” never have he and the orchestra displayed greater depths or greater intensity of force. But there is little suggestion of the virtuosity qua virtuosity to be found in some of his “show pieces.” Judging by this work one would say the conductor had aged: his strength is not lessened, but it is more matured. The possibilities of such master music as this invite him to expend his full powers; he does not exult in their display as. he once did. The change marks an increase in his artistic stature. This magnificent set of records can be set with, yes, and above, Stokowski’s recording of Brahms’ First. Further praise would be obviously superfluous! Brunswick 50156, (D12, $1.00) Berlioz: Roman Carnival— Overture, played by Henri Verbrugghen and the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra. The Minneapolis Symphony is not yet given as adequate recording justice as their Cleveland confreres. The record surfaces are rougher and the recording less full-voiced and clean. Verbrugghen has a sound conception of the work, but his performance lacks conviction by reason of the lack of color and sonority caught in the recording. A disk that is quite worth its modest price, but one that would be more significant were it not that Dr. Blech had already provided so superb a recording of this particular work. Brunswick 20087 (D12, $1.00) Rubinstein-Herbert: Kamen- noi-Ostrow, played by the Brunswick Concert Orchestra. This is the first two : part recording of the Herbert or- chestration of Rubinstein’s popular piece, sometimes known by the euphonious alias of R.eve Angelique. Presumably this is also the first uncut version. At any rate it is a first class piece of orchestral performance and recording; one could not wish the work done better. It is unfortunate the conductor is not given credit on the label, for he does well by both the music, the orchestra, and himself. Columbia 67481-2-D (2 D12s, $1.50 each) Weber: Oberon Overture (three sides), and Mendelssohn: Midsummer Night’s Dream—Scherzo (one side), played by Willem Mengelberg and the Amsterdam Concertgebuow Orchestra. The arrival of these two disks occasioned something of a sensation in the Studio, for not only were they, quite unexpected (in contrast with most releases, about which we are aware often months in advance), but they proved so excitingly that Mengelberg is once more very much back on the recording map. The recording is intensely realistic, if possible it has a shade of superiority on that of the excellent Christian Bach Sinfonia disk. And the perfor- mance—but surely everyone knows what Mengelberg can do with the Oberon, particularly when he has his own orchestra for the task. There are a number of recordings of the Oberon overture, notably those of Coates and Blech, but most of them are in two parts only and presumably are considerably cut. This version is quite complete and w r hile I do not relax my admiration for the more finished and polished Coates re- cording, I must admit that this of Mengelberg’s is un- questionably the most all-round effective one. It is enough to hear the opening bars to be convinced of this; seldom has an illusion of stereophonic “depth” been achieved in recording. On the fourth side Mengelberg plays the Midsummer Night’s Dream scherzo. It is no less a magnificent piece of performance and recording, but it is elephantine rather than elf-like. Toscanini’s Brunswick version is still un- surpassed, not to say quite unapproximated. Victor (Educational list No. 5 and special January 11th list) 9271-2 (2 D12s, $1.50 each) Strauss: Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streicbe, played by Albert Coates and the London Symphony Orchestra. The long awaited replayed Coates version of Eulenspiegel is not the piece of impressive recording that the Defauw’s Columbia version is, but the performance, while less im- pressive technically, is by far the superior exposition of the composition itself. Coates has a keener insight into Strauss’ rogue and his lusty exploits. The sharp-edged irony, the colossal gusto, the outrageous deviltry, and the gracious simplicity of this indubitable masterpiece are all captured in this recording. Coates is one of the few con- ductors who give to the magical epilogue its true breadth and sentiment. For all that the wood wind and horns are at times a little faint, the general details of the work come out more clearly than in Defauw’s version, not by reason of greater recording clarity, but by virtue of Coates’ clearer and more comprehending grasp of the proper pro- portions of the parts. A work heartily to be commended. The stature of the music grows steadily; more and more obviously it has come to be reckoned as Strauss’ finest achievement and one of the high peaks of symphonic litera- ture.