Telarc: Classics

COMPOSERS: Various
LABELS: Telarc

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America’s flagship audiophile label Telarc celebrates its 25th anniversary with a number of mid-price reissues for its new ‘Classics’ series.

Recorded in 1985 by Telarc’s co-founders, Robert Woods and Jack Renner, ORCHESTRAL SPECTACULARS – showpieces by Rimsky-Korsakov, Dukas, Weinberger, Saint-Saëns and Liszt (CD-80115, £8.99) – affords just the kind of audio extravagance for which this Cleveland-based label is universally recognised.

Erich Kunzel’s performances are electrifying, but check the neighbours are out before trying them at full bore. Leonard Slatkin’s DEBUSSY disc from St Louis (CD-80071, £8.99) brings near-tactile orchestral allure and colour, while Christoph von Dohnányi’s imposing Cleveland account of MENDELSSOHN’s Scottish Symphony is paired with the finest available recording of his Goethe-inspired rarity Die erste Walpurgisnacht (CD-80184, £8.99).

Also from Telarc, André Previn’s STRAUSS discs with the Vienna Philharmonic are superlative on all counts.

There’s a particularly compelling narrative feel about his 1989 Alpine Symphony (CD-80211, £8.99), more naturalistic and spontaneous than many, and brilliantly recorded in the Musikverein by an orchestra that understands this music more intuitively than any of its rivals.

Strauss’s two ‘Dons’ usually make a satisfying CD coupling, and Previn’s disc of Juan and Quixote (CD-80262, £8.99) features the VPO’s great principal cellist Franz Bartolomey’s eloquent depiction of Cervantes’s ‘Knight of sorrowful countenance’. Viola-player Heinrich Koll is equally capable as Quixote’s trusty sidekick.

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If you’re wondering about Telarc’s early recordings from Cleveland, including Maazel’s roof-raising MUSSORGSKY Pictures and PROKOFIEV Romeo and Juliet, keep an eye out for forthcoming releases carefully, as five additional titles are promised each month.