November 15, 2018 at 2:38 pm #183
Occasionally a disc arrives containing a fabled concert from the past, which one never expected to hear. When the Philharmonia Orchestra visited South America in 1963, this was a rare outing by a British orchestra. On that occasion they were conducted by Sir John Barbirolli with whom they developed a strong relationship.
On their tour he conducted performances of Dvorak’s 8th Symphony and the 2nd of Sibelius, as well as Don Juan by Strauss and Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite – a Barbirolli rarity. Now you can relive these fabled performances on a two disc set released by The Barbirolli Society, and they are wonderful. In his liner notes, Robert Matthew Walker suggests they are: “of a standard such is rarely heard in live performances at any level today,” and he is right!
An earlier concert by the Philharmonia Orchestra, on ICA Classics, takes us back to the Royal Albert Hall on the 11 May 1953, when Guido Cantelli (1920 – 1956) conducted the Semiramide overture by Rossini, Schumann’s 4th and Brahms 1st Symphonies. This is a concert to marvel over as broadcasts of Cantelli’s London concerts are extremely rare, unlike the many broadcast ones he gave in America. Guido Cantelli was very special, his own man, notwithstanding his relationship with Arturo Toscanini. His tragic death in plane crash on 24th November, deprived music of one of the greatest conductors of all time.
His Albert Hall concert and that of Sir John Barbirolli in South America are preserved in half decent broadcast sound.
November 18, 2018 at 7:19 pm #191
I’m wondering if there is much difference in the sound of Orchestras or perhaps in the way in which they play, between then and now.
I wonder how much the sound has changed over the years.
Seems orchestras were much more popular in the old days?
Having seen the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra perform live on a number of occasions I can certainly understand what a wonderful impact seeing the full ensemble under one roof has on the atmosphere, often powerfully electric!
I have thought as well, what a great job the job of a conductor must be.
November 19, 2018 at 7:21 am #193
Well, Joan, that’s a good one. Certainly instruments have changed, in particular strings which are mow metal, instead of the old gut type – these are still used by period instrumentalists. There are lots of other considerations to be taken in account when thinking of the changing sound of orchestras. Nutrition, they way we live, modern communications and the difference between older and modern concert halls. Conductors are another story, there is a world of difference between the sound of orchestras conducted by Leopold Stokowski, Herbert von Karajan and Sir Thomas Beecham. And, yes, there is something extraordinary about going to the Festival Hall and listening to 100 musicians playing Richard Strauss and Mahler!
November 22, 2018 at 11:55 pm #200
I shall have to listen to more classical music and compare different conductors. i always wondered about how important they are or aren’t. i wasn’t sure how much impact they could have on the sound.
certainly looks like great fun
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