London Philharmonic Orchestra

London Philharmonic Orchestra 75th Anniversary, Vol. 1

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Billed as Vol. 1 in the London Philharmonic's 75th Anniversary Edition, this four-disc set contains performances recorded between 1932 and 1957 by the orchestra's four principal conductors during those years: Thomas Beecham, Eduard van Beinum, Adrian Boult, and Anatole Fistoulari. Fans of the orchestra and the conductors will no doubt gratefully welcome these discs. The repertoire in the first three discs is incredibly diverse with Mozart joining Chabrier on the first, Brahms joining Arnold on the second, and Nicolai joining Vaughan Williams on the third; the repertoire on the fourth disc, a coupling of Khachaturian's Violin Concerto and Piano Concerto, was for its time fairly outlandish. The repertoire choices demonstrate the breadth of the orchestra and conductor's abilities. Beecham proves as convincing a leader of Mozart's Symphony No. 35 as of Chabrier's Rhapsody Espana, van Beinum as capable in Brahms' Haydn Variations as in Arnold's Beckus the Dandipratt, and Boult every bit as fine with Nicolai's Merry Wives of Windsor Overture as with Vaughan Williams' Lark Ascending. Those who aren't already fans of the orchestra and conductors may not be as impressed; indeed, the scrappy playing of the London Philharmonic is not especially impressive. It is too often out of tune, out of sync, and out of its depth. Yet even for those who aren't already fans, the enthusiasm and excitement brought to the music may go a long toward making these performances enjoyable. Still, listeners are advised to sample the discs judiciously before settling down for a good,hard hearing. Considering how old these performances are, the sound here is surprisingly acceptable.

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
7:15
Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen, song cycle for voice & piano (or orchestra)
2
4:04
3
4:16
4
3:03
5
5:20
6
9:19
Variations on a Theme of Haydn for orchestra in B flat major (St. Anthony Variations), Op. 56a
7
1:57
8
1:18
9
0:54
10
1:41
11
2:10
12
0:50
13
1:15
14
2:10
15
0:58
16
3:25
Wand of Youth, Suite No.2, for orchestra, Op. 1b
17
3:52
18
2:24
19
2:01
20
2:41
21
1:42
22
2:06
blue highlight denotes track pick