Needing nothing in the way of an introduction, Leonard Bernstein left behind a recorded legacy virtually unrivaled in his time. This IDIS album features a selection of remastered recordings taken from the beginning of his famed but shaky tenure at the helm of the New York Philharmonic. The disc lacks any liner notes whatsoever, so it's difficult to determine if these three have any more relevance apart from their date of recording and venues. First on the program is Tchaikovsky's Fourth Symphony, which Bernstein recorded several times during his lifetime. This particular version is noticeably rough around the edges on the part of the orchestra, who had only worked with its new conductor a matter of months at the time of recording. Recorded live in New York, the restored sound quality is far from superb with significant balance issues, cracks, and lack of clarity. Listeners should absolutely want to hear Bernstein's Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 4, just not necessarily this particular recording unless it is out of historical curiosity. The remaining works on the program -- Beethoven's Egmont Overture, recorded live in Leningrad, and Ravel's La Valse, recorded live in Moscow -- suffer even more from less-than-ideal sound quality and an especially noisy audience in Leningrad. The microphones used to record La Valse were constantly overpowered and little seems to have been done to remove these distracting distortions.
AllMusic Review by Mike D. Brownell
|Symphony No. 4 in F minor, Op. 36|
|Egmont, incidental music, Op. 84|