Top positive review
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Very fine Sargent Box
on 19 April 2014
It is a very fine compilation Richard J. Bradburn and Lyndon Jenkins have done with this Sargent Box. I don't think Malcom Sargent is in the same class as Barbirolli, Beecham and Boult - but he was generally a good conductor and sometimes in choral works among the greatest. When we are speaking about choral works it would have been good to have also the Messiah and Elijah from the fifties with Morrison, Lewis etc. and also the old Gerontius with Heddle Nash as Gerontius. The sound is very fine in Messias and Elijah, but not better than Mike Duttons CDs - I remember Mike Dutton told me when he produced the Messiah that he had a lot 78 records to listen to for finding the best copy, and his mother at last said that now she has heard Messiah too much for a time ! Isobel Baillie and the other soloists are very fine and Sargent conduct both orchestra and choir in the best way - the choral sound in the forties was special and it's a joy to listen to these old recordings. I also like "Flash Harrys" (as Beecham called him) Holst performances, "The Perfect Fool and Beni Mora" are very fine and I have always find it strange, that Waltons First Symphony not had a better reputation, I like it better than Previns performance. The other items are also very good, Eroica, the Sibelius symphonies and all the English music by Bax, Bliss, Vaughan Williams and Rubbra are really good performances, and Lyndon Jenkins notes in the booklet is, as always, very fine. For me Sir John Barbirolli was the greatest conductor England has produced, JBs way with Elgar and Vaughan Williams is second to none, and he was also a very fine Mahler, Bruckner, Sibelius and Nielsen conductor - but there is a lot of Beecham, Boult and Barbirolli CDs in the cataloque - so it is good now at last also to have this fine Malcom Sargent Box - The Promenaders loved Flash Harry and listening to this box one can understand why !
Steen Bichel, Hundested - Denmark