The Later Tradition

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Beethoven,Brahms,Liszt,Mendelssohn,R Strauss etc,Schubert
LABELS: EMI
WORKS: Orchestral works by Beethoven, Brahms, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Liszt, R Strauss etc
PERFORMER: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Beecham
CATALOGUE NO: EMI 918 6112 (8 CDS)

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If Beecham sometimes seems to have conducted Beethoven and Brahms with a sense of duty rather than passion, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some real highlights inThe Later Tradition. There’s Schubert’s Fifth Symphony from Paris in 1958 with a fine sense of symphonic scale; Brahms’s Song of Destiny with the orchestra singing as effectively as the chorus; and Liszt’s Faust Symphony from 1958, hardly core repertoire back then, and delivered with fiery commitment. Beecham’s interpretation of R Strauss always impresses: here we have a heroic Don Quixote from 1948 with a young Paul Tortelier (cello), and a decade later a splendid Ein Heldenleben, with a truly touching ending. If only we had the five Strauss operas Beecham premiered in London to remind us of the vast operatic repertoire he championed early on in his career – a vital part of his story that hasn’t come down to us on disc. Andrew McGregor