Disky: Unesco Classics

COMPOSERS: Various
LABELS: Disky

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Bargain boxes of Tchaikovsky and Mahler head this month’s reissue resumé.

Netherlands-based Disky Communications is fronting material from EMI’s extensive back-catalogue in its budget ‘Unesco Classics’ series. Like its sister label ‘Royal Long Players’, Unesco offers no music notes and fairly down-market presentation, but don’t be deterred by unpromising externals.

Among interesting tasters, Jeffrey Tate directs the ECO in three of HAYDN’s named London symphonies (Nos 94, 96 and 104: DCL 707172), Previn and Ormandy conduct STRAUSS with the Vienna Philharmonic and Philadelphia Orchestras (DCL 707252), and Muti also leads the Philadelphians in STRAVINSKY’s Rite of Spring and Petrushka (DCL 707262).

All are from digital masters, and the performances may be enthusiastically recommended. Two useful analogue highlights include Ida Haendel’s distinguished 1976 recording of SIBELIUS’s Violin Concerto, together with a craggy, iron-fisted Fifth Symphony from Paavo Berglund, both with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (DCL 707242).

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Paul Tortelier’s high-ranking and individual 1973 ELGAR Cello Concerto with Boult and the LPO comes with equally satisfying readings of the Enigma Variations and BRITTEN’s Young Person’s Guide, with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic under Charles Groves (DCL 707152). Great value for money and decent transfers, too.