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.
Is the comedy album making a comeback?comedy
Artists unveils new exhibition inspired by Hastings beachart
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 2 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
- 3 Satellite full of sexually experimental geckos adrift in space, Russia loses control of mission
- 4 Exclusive: Cameron’s Big Society in tatters as charity watchdog launches investigation into claims of Government funding misuse
- 5 Israel has discovered that it's no longer so easy to get away with murder in the age of social media
Britain's Got Talent and The X Factor 'wheel on people who have mental health problems' says comedian Jo Brand
Fifty Shades of Grey trailer: First look at Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey
Orange Is The New Black season 3: Pornstache isn't coming back
Best movies on Netflix UK and US: 32 films that will end your endless scrolling
Fifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage from US parenting groups
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: victims’ bodies bundled in black bags and loaded onto trains
John Barrowman praised for Commonwealth Games opening ceremony gay kiss