The 109-CD Sir John Barbirolli Boxed Set

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Lance
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The 109-CD Sir John Barbirolli Boxed Set

Post by Lance » Sun Mar 28, 2021 12:04 am

In planning programs for the future, I've come up with a number of artists that actually were due to be presented in 2020, but inspiration and timings did not configure into my schedule as planned. Some of these artists included pianists Andrew Wright, Marcel Worms, Anton Kuerti, and conductor Sir John Barbirolli among many others all of which will be presented in the very near future.

This brings me to Sir John Barbirolli. Those of you who latched on to Warner's 109-CD boxed set are in for some great surprises, from his earliest days of recording on 78-rpm discs right into the stereo era. In those earliest years, his collaborators included some of the finest singers and instrumentalists known at that time including Alfred Cortot, Artur Rubinstein, Jascha Heifetz, Mischa Elman, Gregor Piatigorsky, etc. Beyond that, his recorded legacy is hugely wide-ranging. When you add to this 109-CD collection, his New York Philharmonic recordings, complete on Sony Classical or on those recordings released on Britain's Dutton label, plus a huge number of performances on labels such as BBC Legends, Guild Historical and Music & Arts just to mention a few, the Barbirolli legacy turns out to be enormous. In several cases, Barbirolli, himself, made arrangements of some music, and the recordings he made with his wife, Evelyn Rothwell. In the end, I am very pleased I acquired this set, and especially for the 78-rpm and early mono recordings. •
Lance G. Hill
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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maestrob
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Re: The 109-CD Sir John Barbirolli Boxed Set

Post by maestrob » Sun Mar 28, 2021 8:49 am

Good morning, Lance. :D

As I have so many great CDs of Barbirolli in my library already, I've been holding back from getting this EMI box. It's still under consideration, though, along with the Previn, also from EMI.

Barbirolli in stereo, recorded when he was a mature artist, showed him at his best, because he was superb at creating a certain atmosphere and could energize his Halle orchestra to new heights, notably in his recording of Nielsen IV, which is a personal favorite, as well as his recordings of Mahler with Dame Janet.

He was at his peak in his recordings of Vaughan-Williams III & V with the London Symphony as well. His recording of Elgar's "Sea Pictures" with Dame Janet is surely above reproach and still at the very top of the list for many collectors, including myself.

Not so fond of his Mahler V, but VI (except for the opening bars which are just a bit too slow) has many extraordinary moments, especially the slow movement.

Besides failing with Mahler V, I have a disastrous Mahler VII on BBC Live. Barbirolli's Otello with Vickers is, in my estimation, quite poorly done: even Furtwangler, not a noted Verdi interpreter, succeeds there, but Barbirolli mastered Puccini's much more complex scoring in his recording of Butterfly with Scotto/Bergonzi, which remains a classic success.

I could go on, but you get the idea of why I have mixed feelings here. Still, every great artist has some weaknesses on recording, including Toscanini's very dry Haydn, Ormandy's mushy Beethoven, Szell's Brahms First Concerto w/Serkin, Levine's Eugene Onegin on DGG, etc.

We'll see. I know I mustn't hesitate too long...... :wink:

Lance
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Re: The 109-CD Sir John Barbirolli Boxed Set

Post by Lance » Thu Apr 01, 2021 1:39 pm

No, I wouldn't hesitate too long on this. The more I'm into that truly mega-box set, the more fascinated I am. There is so much of the old stuff (from 78s) that is really of interest, especially with the vocalists he accompanies. The audio processing has been done excellently as well.
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

Image

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