Replay

Robert Cowan reviews two of the latest reissues

"Wherever did you get the idea of becoming a conductor, young man? Go back to your little home and become a bookseller." Surly advice for young Hermann Abendroth - and a hurtful snub from the legendary Felix Weingartner. But Abendroth persisted, took up appointments at Lubeck, Essen, Cologne and Leipzig, guest-conducted the wartime Berlin Philharmonic and shaped the post-war Leipzig Radio Orchestra.

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.

Arts and Entertainment

game of thrones reviewWarning: spoilers

Arts and Entertainment
The original Star Wars trio of Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill

George Osborne confirms Star Wars 8 will film at Pinewood Studios in time for 4 May

film

Arts and Entertainment
Haunted looks: Matthew Macfadyen and Timothy Spall star in ‘The Enfield Haunting’

North London meets The Exorcist in eerie suburban drama

TV

Arts and Entertainment

Filming to begin on two new series due to be aired on Dave from next year

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Kit Harington plays MI5 agent Will Holloway in Spooks: The Greater Good

'You can't count on anyone making it out alive'film
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before