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10 May 2013

Sir Thomas Beecham conducts... Elgar -&- German - CBS 1954/EMI 1956

Sir Edward Elgar:  Variations on an original theme, "Enigma", op.36             
Philips  SBR 6224  (10" -1957 reissue). Matrices: AA 06686 1R -8 / 2R -9   Rec: 26/27 Nov.1954 - Walthamstow Town Hall (+ 13/14 Dec.1954)
Sir Edward German:  "Gipsy suite" - Four characteristic dances:                   
Valse melancholique (Lonely Life) ~ Allegro di Bravura (The Dance) ~ Menuetto (Love Duet) ~ Tarantella (The Revel)
HMV  ALP 1983   First edition 1963 LP/matrix: 2XEA 2164 -1N.  Recorded: 1956
2 files zip WAV Mega Download
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  conducted by  Sir Thomas Beecham, Bart.    
An 'HISTORICAL' Request... Had intended including SBR 6225 (Str.Ser./Cockaigne) but the former may not be suitable to transfer due to some surface noise (the performance is pretty bad - hardly justifies inclusion instead of, eg, the 'Not on CD' Collins/NSO or Collingwood/LSO).
Much of this 'Enigma' isn't to my taste - the Faure-like languorous drawl is quite enervating. Presumably EMI used a stereo tape for the CD issue of the 'Gipsy Suite'.   

Elgar: 1955 EMG review / 1975 CBS sleeve-note / HMV sleeve >>>    Extra!  "Beecham in Rehearsal" -Book CD/EMI: 10 track mono FLAC 7-zipfolder: Mega Download



7 comments:

  1. Frank,
    Thank you so much for posting this Beecham recording of the Enigma Variations. I just finished reading an article in the Spring 2013 issue of the ARSC Journal, titled "Sir Thomas Beecham and Recording" by David N. C. Patmore. Here is a paragraph from the article in which he refers to a 1999 interview with Jack Brymer, principal clarinettist of the Royal Philharmonic:
    "It would be wrong even here however to give the impression that Beecham exclusively recorded what he wanted. Brymer graphically described Beecham's internal struggles conducting recordings of the music of Elgar, which he did not like and which almost made him physically sick."
    After reading this, I was curious to hear Beecham's recording of Enigma Variations, and I find that you have just posted it! Thank you! Your timing is impeccable.
    When you say, "Much of Enigma isn't to my taste", it seems that Sir Thomas was in agreement. :-)

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  2. "Great Minds" (and all that...).

    Almost felt tempted to put on a Max Jaffa 'Palm Court Orchestra' LP to ascertain if the swoony string-section was at all 'similar' - but was getting distinctly Grumpy whilst engaging in the by-the-second editing of this one. Nice Timpani, though!!

    Will attempt another transfer of the 2nd disc (after an additional wash'n'go) - but the HMV is 'as from the Factory': and decline to wet-clean it (there was little surface 'noise'). Have that main item (Delius) also as the stereo first issue (SXLP 30440: which contains a 'better than HQM 1165' transfer of the Bantock: a nice composition).

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  3. I tend to agree re the pacing .I am not keen on this Enigma by Beecham . Perhaps it suffered as a result of his habit of recording chunks as the mood took..or didn't take... him? There is a live performance from Edinburgh that is far more typically Beecham..and Elgarian than this.

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    1. Does provide 'ammo' for detractors of Beecham's conducting (there are quite a few 'sacred cow' recordings that really do not stand critical scrutiny); and a personal perception of a pervasive 'orchestral style' diminishes, for me, the pleasure; ie, I tend to think his performances verge on the 'effete' (Shock!!).

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  4. Lovely recording/transfer, 'interesting' Enigma - 'Nimrod' was very fine, though, and the Gypsy Suite, as opposed to Enigma, is rather lively. Thank you.

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  5. Could you by any chance reupload the Beecham in rehearsal-files? No idea if i just missed it or for what reason i've skipped it before, but now that i paid attention to it it's not available...

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    1. Ha Ha...missed that one....(also the La Boheme - only saw that last week)...as was re-uploading 'en masse' in December..then my interest waned..

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