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.
game of thrones reviewWarning: spoilers
North London meets The Exorcist in eerie suburban drama
Filming to begin on two new series due to be aired on Dave from next year
Arts & Ents blogs
- 2 How the language you speak changes your view of the world
- 3 Russell Brand backs Ed Miliband: 'You gotta vote Labour'
- 4 General Election 2015: 14-year-old boy asks Nick Clegg – 'can you kill Katie Hopkins?'
Top Gear: Jodie Kidd, Philip Glenister and Guy Martin 'in advanced talks' to join show
X-Men Apocalypse: First look at Jubilee and Jean Grey played by Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner
American Horror Story: Hotel Angela Bassett set to make 'lots of trouble' with Lady Gaga in season 5
Game of Thrones season 5 episode 4 - review: Sansa is in danger of becoming another footnote in Westeros' bloody history
May the Fourth Be With You: The internet celebrates Star Wars Day with new Twitter symbols and memes
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
In defence of liberal democracy
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils