LABELS: Decca Phase 4 Stereo
WORKS: Rhapsody in Blue; ‘I got rhythm’ Variations
PERFORMER: Stanley Black, David Parkhouse (pno); London Festival Orchestra & Recording Ensemble, LPO/Bernard Herrmann
CATALOGUE NO: 444 785-2 ADD (1966/71)
Decca’s Phase 4 was the last word in big, brash Sixties sound. These particular recordings have plenty of depth and pace, with everything jutting out towards the listener at once. One’s relationship with the piano in Rhapsody in Blue becomes unusually intimate. But Stanley Black’s pedestrian playing hardly conjures up the romance of New York: sheer glamour is needed.
Herrmann’s performances are also low-key: the Weill and Stravinsky lack bite, the Ravel finesse and the Milhaud menace. Best is David Parkhouse’s account of the ‘I got rhythm’ Variations, in which there’s no denying that he has. George Hall