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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Refined yet powerful recordings from America, 7 Feb 2013
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Hywel James "Hywel James" (Devon, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Symphony No.5/Cockaigne/Four Sea Interludes (Audio CD)
I decided to replace or rather add to my trusted stereo hi-fi recently with a 'surround-sound' system but I didn't have any SACD discs to play on it. This recording by the Oregon Symphony under Carlos Kalmar of music by Elgar, Vaughan Williams and Britten on the Pentatone Classics label aroused my curiosity and I have now listened to it several times on the new set-up. The recordings are 'live' and were made in 2012 - there cannot have been a quieter audience since the last time a audience of mice was addressed by a very large cat.

The recordings are beautifully refined yet full, and the performances are variously warmly affectionate, in the Vaughan Williams symphony, rhythmically precise, in the Elgar overture, searingly direct in the Britten "Peter Grimes" Interludes, and thoroughly idiomatic throughout. In short this is a terrific programme and I recommend it strongly.

One thing puzzled me initially over the timings of the movements in the Vaughan Williams Symphony No 5: the performance under Carlos Kalmar, a conductor born in Uruguay to Austrian parents, seemed to possess the sort of tenderness of phrasing I hadn't heard since Barbirolli's wonderful 1963 recording with the Philharmonia, though comparable perhaps to Andrew Manze's concerts of the Vaughan Williams symphonies last year. I wondered if the symphony as a whole was being taken at an unusually slow speed, so I compared the timings for each movement with those of Sir Adrian Boult in his 1969 recording. The result was that the timings of both performances were virtually identical, movement by movement. I concluded that far from being slow, Kalmar's performance of the piece was highly disciplined yet remarkably beautifully phrased throughout and it was that which had deceived me. These are indeed great performances.
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Symphony No.5/Cockaigne/Four Sea Interludes
Symphony No.5/Cockaigne/Four Sea Interludes by Oregon Symphony Orchestra (Audio CD - 2013)
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