Friday, January 27, 2012

Awards 2011 - Archive

Mahler: Symphony no.10 - 1960 BBC broadcast (including lecture) & 1964 Proms premiere
Deryck Cooke; Philharmonia Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra/Bertholdt Goldschmidt

"This is more than just a performance", Gramophone's James Inverne explains. "... It is a historic document and a fascinating insight into a major work's excavation". His colleague David Gutman warns of "plenty of rough moments" but these "may or may not matter to you given the obvious fervour of the music-making". In IRR, Robert Matthew-Walker, noting that the 1960 performance came "in the days when the BBC was the BBC", says that "The result is akin to being witness to the first performance of The Rite of Spring, of Elgar's First Symphony, or of Verklärte Nacht: this is an issue of major importance, the significance of which could not be exaggerated. I cannot recommend it too highly". Well, actually, Robert, you could have given it an IRR Outstanding accolade. Meanwhile, Fanfare's Christopher Abbot calls it "the Dead Sea Scrolls for Mahlerites".

Wagner, Strauss: Lieder and scenes
Kirsten Flagstad; Orchestra of the Städtische Oper Berlin/Georges Sebastian (1952)

Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen
Hans Hotter et al; Orchester der Bayreuther Festspiele/Clemens Krauss (1953)

Berlioz: Les nuits d'été; Handel: Arias
Lorraine Hunt Lieberson; Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Nicholas McGegan (1995, 1991)
Philharmonia Baroque

Mahler: Symphony no.8
soloists; choirs; London Philharmonic Orchestra/Klaus Tennstedt (1991)

You'll notice I've avoided the term "Historical" in this category to allow for performances of more recent vintage, though I haven't yet figured out where exactly is the line between an archive release and an ordinary release that happens to be a few years old. The original thinking for not including historical releases was that I didn't have much interest in them myself, but by expanding the definition to "archive" generally, things get more interesting, though I can't imagine I'll ever be the sort of person who must have every Toscanini performance ever. With the addition of this category and the next, the awards pretty much cover anything that gets released. Maybe soon I'll start to include DVD and Blu-ray.

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