• U.S.

Music: New Records, Jul. 3, 1950

3 minute read

On the records it was Beethoven’s month. Some of the best:

Sonata No. 4, Op. 102 No. 1 (Artur Schnabel, pianist; Pierre Fournier, cellist; Victor, 4 sides 45 r.p.m.). This sober and somber sonata anticipates—but ranks with—the last great quartets. Schnabel’s playing, as always, has wisdom and warmth; French Cellist Fournier can not quite match the playing of Pablo Casals in an earlier record. Performance and recording: excellent.

Concerto No. 3, Op. 37 (Claudio Arrau, pianist, with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Eugene Ormandy conducting; Columbia, 2 sides LP). Chilean Pianist Arrau brings dramatic power and sweep to the first and last movements of Beethoven’s first big concerto; he fails, however, to breathe life into the important opening measures of the slow movement. Recording: slightly blurry.

Sonata No. 18, Op. 31 No. 3 (Artur Rubinstein, pianist; Victor, 5 sides, 45 r.p.m.). Although Rubinstein plays with his usual eloquence and perception, some will find the color of his tone too light for Beethoven. Recording: excellent.

Other new records:

Dello Joio: Concerto for Harp and Orchestra (Edward Vito, harp, with the Little Orchestra Society, Thomas K. Scherman conducting; Columbia, 1 side LP). U.S. Composer Dello Joio (TIME, May 22) manages to write charmingly and effectively for the harp without sounding too much like either Debussy or Ravel. On the other side of the record, David Diamond’s Music for Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” sounds like little more than warmed-over Prokofiev. Both performances and recordings: good.

Haydn: Missa Cellensis in C (Akademie Chorus of Vienna, the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, Hans Gillesberger conducting; the Haydn Society, 2 sides LP). Boston’s Haydn Society continues its faithful task of preserving the Austrian master’s works on records; this Mass (1782), known as the Mariazeller-Messe, is one of those works that makes the task well worth while. Performance and recording: good.

Sessions: Symphony No. 2 (the New York Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra, Dimitri Mitropoulos conducting; Columbia, 2 sides LP). A powerful and highly individualistic statement of confusion, which is somewhat hard on the ears. Performance and recording: good.

Puccini: II Tabarro, Gianni Schicchi (Cetra-Soria, 2 sides LP each). These two one-acters, with Suor Angelica, make up Puccini’s Triptych, which had its world premiere at Manhattan’s Metropolitan Opera House in 1918. Gianni Schicchi, which still survives at the Met, is a bright and appealing piece of foolishness. In this recording, it is a roaring fine vehicle for first-rate Baritone Giuseppe (Falstaff) Taddei. Il Tabarro (The Cloak) is Puccini at his most melodramatic blood & thundering. These Radio Italiana performances give both operas their full due; so does the recording.

More Must-Reads from TIME

Contact us at letters@time.com