Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Tchaikovsky/Beethoven
LABELS: Mercury Living Presence
WORKS: 1812 Overture; Capriccio italien; Wellington’s Victory
PERFORMER: Deems Taylor (narrator); Minneapolis SO, LSO, University of Minnesota Brass Band/Antal Dorati
CATALOGUE NO: 434 360-2 ADD (1958/60)
This reissue combines music from two historic Mercury LPs. The original ventures had something of a pioneering authenticity about them, opting for the original scoring of the 1812 and including extensive illustrated talks on the recording of the period muskets and cannons and bell effects. Strangely, these effects come up better in the CD transfer than the quieter moments, which often sound dry and quaintly frail (as much deficiencies in the Minneapolis SO’s playing in the Tchaikovsky as in the age of the recording – the LSO plays much better in the Beethoven), but the dubbed-on cannons and carillons can rarely have had such a physical impact – make sure your neighbours are out when you play this disc (would you want to be overheard listening to this music, anyway?) – headphones are not recommended. Matthew Rye