THE MICHIGAN DAILY.
Friday, October 11, 1968
Grooving with a paler shade of Beethoven
1955 and now released for the
first time in America, cann6t
boast of splendid sound, but the
early stereo is, in ways, better
than many closely-milked re-
leases of today.
Beethoven's poetic ideas were
often nothing more than the
dynamic impulse taking form,
and nowhere is this as true as in
his well-known "Choral Sym-
phony," w h e r e intellectual
search for a modus vivendi -
in the end refuted for salvatioi
through faith, joy;, and brother-
hopd - works itself out in vig-
orous displays of rhythmic, pro-
pulsiveness and dramatic con-
trasts. This niusic must never
sound re-created from a score;
it must surge with a sense of
primal urgency and sincerity.
Perhaps the Ninth is basically.
unperformable, for while various
conductors have achieved cer-
tain* wonders, the quest for a
totally satisfying recording con-
tinues. A new Seraphim release'
(60079) has its points. Andre
Cluytens conducts the Berlin
Philharmonic, the St. Hedwig's
Cathedral Choir (a most relia-
ble group), and four adequate
soloists, including tenor Nicolai
Cluytens' adagio movement is
quite marvelous: serene, yet dy-
namically interesting and for-
ward moving. He even achieves
some powerful and exciting ac-
tion in the molto vivace, but in
general his version lacks a con-
tinuing, unflagging, overall in-
tensity. It also fails in smaller
moments, as in t h e opening
bars: where Horenstein (my
favorite despite the poor Vox
sound) captures the sense of the
gods warming up for the cosmic
drama to c o m e, Cluytens is
mundane. So too the bass re-
futation of the offered thematic
recapitulations in the final
movement lacks vigor and acer-
Over 70 minutes are captured
on this one disc and therefore
the dynamic level is quite limit-
ed. Despite its flaws (and what
recording of the Ninth is flaw-
less?) it can be recommended at
its bargain price. It should be
said too that the St. Hedwig's
Choir, which cut fine records
with Erna Berger, sing with'
wonderful enthusiasm and spon-
* * *
Those who enjoy Prokofiev's
Lt. Kiji will probably find the
composer's The Stone Flower
equally jaunty. Continuing the
excellent Prokofiev series on the
Angel/Melodiya label, the newest
release (SR-40066) offers ex-
cerpts from this ballet which
the composer began in 1948 but
did not finish until shortly be-
fore his death in March, 1953.
Based on an old Ural . folk
tale, the plot follows the sculp-
tor Danilo from his despair at
being unable to carve a perfect
malachite vase to his journey
beneaththe Copper Mountain,
where he learns craft secrets
from a female Spirit. Simul-
taneously, Danilo's bethrothed,
Katerine, searches for him
through village and, forest. Ob-
viously not a profound plot, but
the music does - even without
the visual factor of the da ce it-
self-capture the charm and co-,
for that we have come to expect
of Russian ballet since Stravin-
sky. Gennady Roshdestvensky
,eads the Bolshoi Theater Or-
chestra in a fine performance,
well-recorded, that misses little
of Prokofiev's percussive and
Columbia can usually be count-
ed on for important classical re-
leases, but recently they have
brought out several albums 'of
musical goop. On M21-786, the
Philadelphia Orchestra under
you-know-who fills two discs
with the usual fare of marches.
dances, and other snatches from
the usual Russian and French
sources. If you enjoy such fruit-
cake programming, you will be
pleased to know that the sound
is Super and the performances
On MS 7175 Philippe Entre-
mont does little to enhance his
good reputation. Not that he
does anything bad, mind you,
but each of the piano pieces
offered has been done better.
elsewhere: the Granados by de
Larrocha, the Beethoven (first
movement of the "Moonlight"
only!) by Moravec, Serkin, and
the Mendelssohn by Novaes. The
rendition of Bach's "Jesu Joy
of Man's Desirng" comes no-
where near the purity of line
and infusion of spirit that Dinu
Lipatti miraculously produced.
The recorded sound is fair and
the cover a ghastly purple.
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