Robert Cowan reviews two of the latest reissues
Friday 02 February 1996
Abendroth's interpretations are wildly unpredictable, even within a single piece - Schumann's Spring Symphony, for example, where the first movement is impetuous, the Larghetto impassioned and the Scherzo and Finale oscillate, accelerate and deliberate with such alarming frequency that you're left gobsmacked.
Abendroth's Brahms First is equally outlandish, swelling massively for the opening Andante, then stamping forth with grim resolve, swooning through the slow movement and leaning heavily on the first note of the Finale's big string tune. Thereafter, Abendroth steps on the gas, pushing the argument to fever pitch and never mind the lack of detail.
Kalinnikov's Borodin-soundalike Second Symphony gets a sympathetic airing and there's a Strauss family miscellany: the Emperor and Blue Danube waltzes plus the Waldmeister and Gipsy Baron overtures - bluff, excitable and somewhat approximate performances that will raise both smiles and hackles. The recordings are OK, just.
The sexiest Carmen on record was born in Barcelona in 1895 and died in childbirth some 40 years later. Contemporary reports compliment Supervia for her charm and magnetism, while the insistent, rattling vibrato that's such a striking characteristic of her recordings wasn't nearly so apparent on stage.
This particular compilation - beautifully transferred from 78s - is dominated by a scintillating Rossini sequence, arias from L'Italiana in Algeri, La Cenerentola and Il Barbiere di Siviglia all delivered with an elegance, intensity and virtuosity that were rare even in the so-called "Golden Age" of the 1920s. The Carmen extracts are extraordinary, the "Card Scene" suggesting a lethal combination of sweetness and terror, while the "Gipsy Dance" sports X-rated powers of seduction.
Supervia wasn't yet 16 when she sang Octavian at the first Rome performance of Der Rosenkavalier and her 1928 recordings of the "Presentation of the Rose" and the final duet (the latter with Ina Maria Ferraris) are among the most valuable tracks on the CD. Then there's Mignon's "Connais-tu le pays?" (by Thomas) and a quartet of songs, ending with "Have you seen but a whyte lily grow" - tender and spicy, a warmingly human rendition to place beside Kathleen Ferrier's chaste sublimity.
Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challengeTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 2 Michelle Obama highlights harsh restrictions faced by Saudi women after meeting King Salman without wearing a headscarf
- 3 Amal Clooney gives excellent answer to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 4 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 5 Isis publicly behead man in Syrian town square for 'insulting Allah' as he screams for help
Heavy metal producer's corpse to be mutilated by models as per his dying wish
The Jump 2015 line-up: Joey Essex, Phil Tufnell, Heather Mills and co take to the slopes
Game of Thrones season 5: Grey Worm actor Jacob Anderson is all for more male nudity – as long as it’s not him
Grumpy Roald Dahl letter warning student to 'eschew beastly adjectives' rediscovered after 35 years
Sia apologises for 'Elastic Heart' music video that sees Shia LaBeouf wrestle 12-year-old Maddie Ziegler
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures