Phonograph Monthly Review, Vol. 5, No. 4 (1931-01)

Record Details:

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January, 1931, Vol. V. No. 4 131 Wolff gives the expected zestful performance of the overture leaving nothing to be desired, although such light music furnishes him no great opportunities. Weigert fares less well as a conductor than as co-editor of the abridged opera. He succeeds better with the preludes than with the ballet music. The third side is his best while the end of the last dance (fourth side) is taken with an excessive rush. The recording here is partly to blame for it is a trifle muddy and far less effective than on the overture side. One ques- tions the advisability of including a chorus to chant the melody on the fourth side. It does not come off well and it is rather annoying since the orchestration is quite sufficient. Despite the shortcomings of the last three sides, these two discs serve adequately enough as “fixings” for the Carmen feast so kindly furnished to the record buying public by the Brunswick Company. Beethoven: Overture to “Egmont,” op. 84, two parts, played by the Philharmonic Orchestra, Berlin, conducted by Julius Pruewer. Brunswick 90111 (D12, $1.50). Julius Pruewer was born in Vienna in 1874. He studied piano under Rosenthal, theory under Brahms, and conducting under Hans Richter whom he followed to Bayreuth. He has at various times been the operatic conductor at Cologne, Breslau and Weimar. Priiwer gives us a splendid rendition of this overture, and one which bids fair to become a standard one. After playing through another recording some time ago. I had decided that this melodramatic, at times almost bombastic, music could no longer appeal to me, but now I have been forced to think otherwise. One is really made to feel that the grave intro- duction is profoundly serious and fraught with the sugges- tion of tragedy. It is played very slowly and sustainedly, with sure unsentimental firmness. Throughout there is an ad- mirable sense of restraint which is not to the detriment even of the finale. In fact it is in this place, which tends to ap- pear overdramatic and noisy, that Priiwer accomplishes his greatest miracle. He succeeds in recapturing and infusing in- to it something of the chivalrous and noble spirit—ready to attempt adventure or death—which animates much of roman- ticism at its best, and its heroes. Priiwer’s next release will certainly be one to look to with interest. The recording is in many places extraordinarily fine, al- though, in one or two of the fj passages, there is evidence of blast from overamplification. The brasses, especially, are re- captured most realistically. A splendid example is the place about twenty-five bars before the final Allegro con brio, where the horns, bassoons and clarinets sound alone, fortis- simo— beautifully played and accented; it is almost perfectly reproduced. Julius Pruewer Gluck (arr. Gevaert): Airs de Ballet (3 parts), and Bach (arr. L. Damrosch): Gavotte in D (1 part), played by the National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Walter Damrosch. Victor 7321-2 (2 D12s, $1.50 each.) Part 1. Air and Slaves’ Dance from Iphigenia in Aulis. Part 2. Tambourin from Iphigenia; Gavotte from Armide: Chaconne (commencement) from Iphigenia. Part 3. Conclusion of the Chaconne. Part 4. Gavotte in D, orchestrated by Leopold Damrosch from Bach’s Sonata No. 6 for Violoncello solo. These discs were reviewed in detail on page 87 of the December 1930 P. M. R., from the original release in the Ninth Educational List. Both the sturdy Bach Gavotte and the delightful Gluck dances are here recorded electrically for the first time, and recorded with sound musicianship and good taste. “The performance by Dr. Damrosch’s broad- casting orchestra is warm, bright, and intensely alive. The doctor can still show a clear pair of heels to his far younger colleagues, and nowhere better than in these courtly airs.” The discs well! deserve the wider public they may find through release in the regular supplement. Davorak: Slavonic Dance No. 7, and Massenet: Under the Linden Trees (from “Scenes Alsaciennes ”), played by the Vic- tor Concert Orchestra, conducted by Rosario Bourdon. Victor (Educational List No. 9 36026 (DJ2, $1.25). “Sous les Tilleuls” is the third movement of Massenet’s Scitnes Alsaciennes, a “charming adagietto love-scene where, over a lace-like and ethereal figuration heard on the violins, the violoncello and clarinet exchange vows of eternal devo- tion.” (James Hadley, “Massenet and his Music”). This was the movement omitted from the recent Columbia recordings of the Alsatian Scenes (reviewed on page 424 of the September 1930 issue), and the Massenet enthusiast will find it an ex- cellent complement to the Chagnon discs. The vivacious Slavonic Dance on the other side makes a spirited contrast. Mr. Bourdon begins quietly, bringing out the zestful wood- wind timbres, but speedily works up with an exhilarating flourish, a fine rhythmic swing, and a nice feeling for Dvorak’s ingeniousl dynamic contrasts. This is the first electrical re- cording of the seventh of Dvorak’s sixteen Slavonic Dances. Joseph Strauss: Dragon Fly-Mazurka , Op. 204, and Johann Strauss: Thunder and Lightning , Op. 324, played by the Vic- tor Concert Orchestra conducted by Rosario Bourdon. Vic- tor (Educational List No. 9) 22513 (D10, 75c). Two lighter works by members of the Strauss family. Thunder and Lightning is brisk circus music of the type used to accompany equine evolutions; the mazurka has a prim, starched quality, and crisply defined rhythm that adapt it well to elementary ballet work. Both are tossed off with becoming lightness. Dvorak: Slavonic Dance, op. 46, No. 1, and Sinding: Friihlingsrauschen (Rustling of Spring), played by Issai Do- browen and Symphony Orchestra. Columbia G50260-D (D12, $1.25). Besides the information supplied on page 169 of the Feb- ruary, 1930 issue, I might mention in connection with Issai Alexandrowich Dobrowen that he was born in Russia in 1893, was conductor at the Great Theatre in Moscow after the Revolution, and has studied under Godowsky. His output consists of compositions in the orchestral, piano and violin fields. He is at present conductor of the San Francisco Sym- phony Orchestra. The performance of the popular Slavonic dance is very vigorous, but at times a little heavy. There is a good swing to the more rhythmic theme, but I think that I prefer the reading in quieter middle section. The thrice familiar Friih- lingsrauschen is presented again in orchestral dress. The pace is a little fast and the general impression is rather un- restrained (perhaps in accord with the music). The brasses have an unpleasant harshness and rasp. R. H. S. P (Other orchestral works reviewed in this issue are: Sibelius: 1st and 2nd symphonies, page 114; Strawinski: Capiiccio, page 121; Delius: In a Summer Garden and A Song Before Sunrise, page 122; Schmitt: Salome, page 123; Debussy: La Mer, page 124; Tchaikowsky: Violin concerto, page 124; and Bach: 6th Brandenburg Concerto, page 125. See also the reviews of im- ported records, page 139.)