Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

"Music, both vocall and instrumental, so good, so delectable, so rare, so admirable, so super excellent, that it did even ravish and stupifie all those strangers that never heard the like." - Thomas Coryat, after hearing 3 hours of music at the Scuola di San Rocco in Venice, 1608.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Blumental's Tchaikovsky on LP

I find myself very much in a self-conscious state listening to this 1957 recording on a brand-new 180-gram LP from Brana Records. There are a number of different feelings to unravel, all of them positive. There's nostalgia, of course: I loved opening the album and pulling out the disc in its paper sleeve, noting that my LP-handling skills came back instantly. No finger-prints on my records! As I dropped the needle everything snapped into place. I was unprepared for the warmth and immediacy of the sound. After all, this recording is coming up to sixty years old this year. Though I shouldn't have been, I was as surprised by the delicacy of Blumental's playing as I was reassured by her well-remembered control and power. Though I'm not familiar with the Vienna Musikgesellschaft Orchestra, who have only a few recording credits, they play exceptionally well under the direction of Michael Gielen. This is not an ordinary under-rehearsed group of pick-up musicians. There's a pleasing give-and-take to the conversation between piano and orchestra that keeps things interesting. It's nothing like the famous Bernstein-Gould contretemps over a Brahms concerto but neither is it a comfortable group-think where everyone's on the same boring page. I can recommend this particular release very highly, but I endorse the entire move back towards music on vinyl even more so.

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