Symphonies No. 6 & 4
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By Record Collector - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
The sound for Somm's new coupling of two previously unreleased Beecham Sibelius symphony recordings is not outstanding, with the Fourth in particular (BBC SO, 1951) being crumbly and emaciated. And yet if you're willing to listen through the sound, rather than to it, you will surely appreciate a performance that in terms of expressive shading, rhythmic flexibility and imaginative phrase-shaping has a discernible edge on Beecham's pre-war 78s, even from the opening cello solo (I also prefer it to the Beecham broadcast that BBC Legends put out a few years ago). The Sixth (RPO, 1954) is taken from a Prom and sounds a good deal better than the Fourth and, again, there's that feeling that the notes are being tended with a crucial degree of extra love, especially in the Symphony's touching coda. This is an important CD, though those who are normally wary of historic recordings should definitely sample before purchase.