- Audio CD (May 27 2003)
- SPARS Code: ADD
- Number of Discs: 2
- Format: Import
- Label: EMI Classics
- ASIN: B00008XRT1
- Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
|1. Overture - Eduard Van Beinum|
|2. I. Adagio - Allegro - Eduard Van Beinum|
|3. II. Andante - Eduard Van Beinum|
|4. III. Scherzo. Presto - Piu Lento - Eduard Van Beinum|
|5. IV. Allegro Moderato - Eduard Van Beinum|
|6. I. Allegro Non Troppo - Eduard Van Beinum|
|7. II. Adagio Non Troppo - L'istesso Tempo, Ma Grazioso - Eduard Van Beinum|
|8. III. Allegretto Grazioso (Quasi Andantino) - Presto Ma Non Assai - Tempo I - Eduard Van Beinum|
|9. IV. Allegro Con Spirito - Eduard Van Beinum|
|1. Ouverture - Jan Damen|
|2. Don Juan, Op.20 - Jan Damen|
|3. I. The Sea And Sindbad's Ship - Jan Damen|
|4. II. The Story Of The Kalender Prince - Jan Damen|
|5. III. The Young Prince And The Young Princess - Jan Damen|
|6. IV. Festival Of Baghdad - The Sea - The Shipwreck On A Rock Surmounted By A Bronze Warrior - Conclusion - Jan Damen|
|7. Cockaigne (In London Town), Op.40 - London Philharmonic Orchestra|
Add to this a gratuitous quote in the notes from the omnipresent -- though long dead -- John Culshaw to the effect that Beinum was not really a very exciting conductor, and you have to wonder what case these people were trying to make.
A hint: All this repertoire, with the exception of the live Brahms performance, was included in a commemorative 8 LP box set by Philips a number of years ago. This suggest that not a lot of original thought, or care, went into the selections. (And perhaps a ready-made package deal on release rights did?)
The bottom line in all this is that at mid-price the set is worth it for the Scherazade alone. But in no way is it representative of van Beinum's art.
This particular CD, Volume 26, features the great Eduard Van Beinum, best remembered as Willem Mengelberg's successor at the Concertgebouw. Unfortunately, Van Beinum died of a heart attack at the age of 58 in 1959 leaving us precious few recordings, particularly ones in stereo. The previous reviewer has spared me the arduous task of detailing the contents of this collection, but he has also been a bit harsh in his assessment of this set. I have deeply enjoyed and learned much from this and other critiques by the previous reviewer. Certainly this material isn't essential, but by giving a two-star review he misses the spirit of this reissue. In a world of increasingly homogenized classical music sections, it is a wonder that these collections have been issued at all. Thankfully they have so a new generation of classical devotees, like myself, can now benefit from their availability.
The second disc opens with Nicolai's Overture to The Merry Wives of Windsor. In the beginning there is a strident sounding horn. At times, Van Beinum seems to push the music rather than let it unfold naturally. I don't think he is too comfortable here...With the Don Juan, things start with a rather closed in sound, and stay that way. The voltage seems turned down, and the usually tender opening violin passage that ushers in the wonderfully romantic portion of Don is truncated. From there, to the work's end, there doesn't appear to be much life, although I suspect the dull recording itself bears significant responsibility for this...The Scheherazade is really fairly decent, but it is up against some tough competition. If you really want to be treated to the color, adventurousness and charming, exotic warmth this piece offers try Stokowski, Reiner, Kondrashin or Monteux...Finally, there is the Cockaigne Overture by Elgar. This is one of my favorites of the classical repertoire. Van Beinum slides through too quickly in some passages, but his performance is generally quite good although it misses the affection of Barbirolli and the swagger of Solti in their accounts.
In closing, although I feel letdown by most of these performances, my admiration for Van Beinum remains undiminished. I've heard too many very fine things from him. I think he deserved better treatment in terms of what was chosen to be represented on these discs. I am aware of an exceptional Mendelssohn "Italian" Symphony he made as well as some outstanding late Bruckner Symphonies, and what I consider to be just about the best Brahms First in stereo. Look in those and some other places for the best of Van Beinum's legacy.