Beethoven: Egmont Incidental Music; Leonora Overture No. 3

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COMPOSERS: Beethoven
LABELS: Discover International
WORKS: Egmont Incidental Music; Leonora Overture No. 3
PERFORMER: Miriam Gauci (soprano), Dirk Schortemeier (speaker)BRTN PO Brussels, LPO/Alexander Rahbari
Alexander Rahbari was born in Iran, studied under the legendary Hans Swarowsky in Vienna and is an Austrian citizen. His performance of the complete Egmont music is what one would expect from a Swarowsky pupil: complete command over his forces, a sweeping style and good attention to detail. In this he is helped by Miriam Gauci, who has a full soprano voice and a very good technique. The Leonora recording was made with the London Philharmonic and is also typical: a large orchestra, spacious recording, huge kettledrums that roar, Bruckner-like. For what it purports to be, it cannot be faulted. Both pieces, however, have awesome rivals at full price – Karajan in both, Szell in both, Abbado (nearly complete) for Egmont, and Leonora No. 3 has been recorded by almost every famous conductor, living or dead. There are celebrated CD transfers by Toscanini, Furtwängler, Klemperer, and so on. As a budget offering this new version is attractive, but I must once again complain that 51 minutes is really not enough, even in a budget CD. Why did they not give us, say, the incidental music to The Ruins of Athens instead of the ubiquitous Leonora No. 3? HC Robbins Landon