This is the second release in Hallé's historical survey of recordings that goes back to the twenties in its antiquity and is really resurrecting some very important performances. The only minor gripe which I have pertains to the timing, which is slightly less than an hour and I'm sure some other recordings could have been found to make the disc more economically viable although it retails at mid price.
Albert Sammons recording of the Bruch Violin Concerto is a classic of its time and although the sound is rather primitive, it is indeed a magical performance. Sammons plays the work to the manner born and he receives committed and sympathetic support from Sir Hamilton Harty.
Mendelssohn was something of a Harty favourite although this 1931 recording is not one of the best available. The Allegro vivace is full of life and energy whilst the Andante con moto has the mooted resonance of Italian rustic life. However, I must stay with Cantelli, Dohnányi or Karajan for the dashing Saltarello, which is rather tame in Harty's hands. Sir Malcolm Sargent's reading of the 'Hebrides' Overture is rather quaint although the recent re-issue of Carl Schuricht's VPO recording from 1954 takes the cake for this listener.
Recordings are on the dull side but the remastering is adequate and one cannot really complain of the presentation, which is excellent. Collectors will want the outstanding Bruch but the other recordings are of curiosity value only although they may appeal to Harty enthusiasts.
Copyright © 2004, Gerald Fenech