- Audio CD (Mar 17 2008)
- SPARS Code: DDD
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: Import
- Label: Deutsche Grammophon - Universal Special Imports
- ASIN: B00005UW3Z
- Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
|1. The Sea Hawk (Original orchestration: Hugo Friedhofer, Ray Heindorf, Milan Roder)|
|2. The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (Original orchestration: Milan Roder, Hugo Friedhofer)|
|3. Captain Blood (Original orchestration: Hugo Friedhofer, Milan Roder, Heinz Roemheld)|
|4. The Prince and the Pauper (Original orchestration: Hugo Friedhofer, Milan Roder)|
It's a safe choice of repertoire for Previn, who knows Korngold's idiom well, and a comfortable one for this orchestra. The result is an album of plushly upholstered performances, which emphasise the continuities and similarities between each suite. Although all the scores have been recorded before in more complete versions, these abbreviated suites suit Previn's expansive, concert-hall approach to the music as he lingers long over the big romantic gestures. Korngold collectors will find nothing here they haven't heard before, but perhaps they'll discover it's rarely been so luxuriantly performed.--Mark Walker
For "Elizabeth and Essex," there is a superb suite conducted by Gerhardt on BMG/RCA 0185-2, which also has music from "Prince and the Pauper." A very fine complete recording of "Elizabeth and Essex" by Carl Davis is on Varese Saraband VSD 5696.
Gerhardt's superior rendition of music from "Captain Blood" can be found on "Classic Film Scores for Errol Flynn" (BMG/RCA 0912-2), which also includes a fabulous 12 minute suite from Korngold's "Adventures of Robin Hood."
Korngold's own accounts of these works, as different in passion and spirit from Previn's as night and day, have been issued in a 2-disc CD set called "Erich Wolfgang Korngold: The Warner Bros. Years" (Turner Classic Movies R272243). Perhaps TCM will, at some point, issue on CD the old Masterseal LP that featured Korngold conducting "Much Ado About Nothing" and playing various of his early compositions on the piano.
Finally, it is worth noting that Previn's recording elsewhere of Korngold's magnificent Symphony in F-Sharp (1950) is nearly as bad as this "Sea Hawk" misfire. Previn is left completely in the shade by Rudolph Kempe's great performance with the Munich Philharmonic on Varese Sarabande VSD-5346 (this, too, was supervised and produced by George Korngold, the composer's son).
I suppose Previn's accounts are best suited to those listeners who prefer their champagne without any bubbles. What a shame!
And what did I get: It's like a Big Mac at McDonalds: Impressive nice pictures, huge advertisement, but no substance at all...!
I don't know what is wrong with Previn and the LSO: Here an otherwise well respected conductor, who unfortunately entangles himself in every bit of the last and dreadful details, instead of communicating the big picture; there a famous orchestra, that suddenly lacks any signs of attack, teamwork, coherence; that lacks collectiveness and discipline. When it is supposed to be exciting, all I hear is individual loudness. Otherwise, lush sounds, once more from the LSO, lush, loose, maybe designed to please, but no story being told. In other words: Boring! No urgency, the sound just drags along, even though it is supposed to be fun, biting, enthralling, dramatic, entertaining. And not just another academic teaching lesson by Professor Previn in note-by-note picture perfect individual exotism exercises. I would call it: Lack of purpose. For this performance, the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) should be called the "Lush Sound Orchestra".
As a motivational excercise, they should have played this program with some real pirate costumes on! Maybe that would have helped!
Compare it to the NPO under Gerhardt, and you will see what difference a just a little spark of energy and enthusiasm can make!