Berlioz/Bruch

Our rating 
2.0 out of 5 star rating 2.0

COMPOSERS: Berlioz/Bruch
LABELS: Telstar Revelation
WORKS: Harold en Italie
PERFORMER: Mikhail Tolpygo (viola), David Oistrakh (violin); USSR State SO/Gennadi Rozhdestvensky, David Oistrakh
CATALOGUE NO: RV 10051 AAD
David Oistrakh conducting Harold is, alas, no revelation. Some tempi are ill-judged (the first Allegro alarmingly fast; the Pilgrims’ March well below allegretto). The rediscovered tapeis poor, with weak bass, weedy woodwind, screaming brass and solo viola (too closely miked) unable to control the famous sul ponticello passage. Not helped by shaky ensemble and severely limited dynamic range, this thoroughly pointless issue had me wondering if my equipment was on the blink; dating from 1972, it sounds much older than the 1960 recording of the Bruch (which merely sounds its age). Here Oistrakh, in his true métier, is in prime form; the orchestra sounds far better, and this mildly agreeable piece is given with professionalism and conviction. Julian Rushton

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