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Beecham Collection: Handel-Beecham Import

Price: CDN$ 26.18 & FREE Shipping. Details
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Purists, beware! Sept. 5 2015
By Malverns - Published on
This is a cd to divide opinions. Let's be straight to tell its limitations. No original instruments. No phrase-cutting. No original works. This is original Handel scores cut into pieces, spiced and maked-up to form... Two ballet suites and one piano concerto (played by the modern grand). To add confusion, same suite "the Gods Go A'Begging" is recorded twice, with totally different selections. The man behind this, a hero or a villain of the worst kind, depending our viewpoint, is Sir Thomas Beecham, Bart., C.H. and Lady Betty Humby Beecham is at the piano for "Handel's A Major Piano Concerto".

It is not easy to grasp how these suites were made and from which works they have been borrowed, the leaflet should be better, but it offers some help.

The story of the piano concerto is open by leaflet - all we learn that the product was a joint effort of Sir and Lady Beecham. I would like to see the score, but have not so far found it.

There are some moments when words fail listening this cd, last track Battaglia & Finale from The Origin of Design is such. You must hear it to make your mind. There are plenty of bad fats, a lot of cholestrol and there is not a hint of shyness in orchestral playing. They play like after breaking the bank in Monte Carlo, no limitations.

Technically, the first suite is not good, there are some prominent technical noises, but they do not stop anything.

In first The Gods Go suite at one point massive cembalo enters without warning. It sounds like french anti-aircraft gun under German attack 1940.

The Piano Concerto is really interesting - here, Handel and Grieg seem to sign entente cordiale agreement, "but let's play it in the romantic way". This is really thick and sweet, and not helped by technical quality which makes piano sound less prominent than ideal. However, I'd love to see Minuet&Trio score - it is gorgeous! And Lady Beecham likes it - she plays it well. She has some fingers in finale as well.

The first items in this cd date from 1932, last items from 1949.

I give this 4 stars for bravery and existence. In these days of HIP, you cannot believe this type of music making is possible, or legal. There is nothing wrong with Handel, but you really need to know his works well to be able to find the original sources for these scores.