Arts has been dedicating a number of their recordings to the great and underrated Peter Maag and this provides a timely understanding to this master's varied repertoire. This disc brings some fine Tchaikovsky recorded in the late 60's with the RAI orchestras in Turin and Rome.
The Fifth has a gaunt and direct style to it that is most endearing. The opening Andante and transition to the Allegro con anima is superbly handled with the orchestra responding to the conductor's knowing nuances. The same goes for the lovely Andante cantabile which is drawn up to thirteen minutes but there is nothing in the character of the music that is any way lost.
The final two movements are also superbly handled with the Scherzo lithe and deft whilst the Finale is full of grand statements, quite similar to my previous favourites, Maazel with the VPO on Decca, and Markevitch with the London Symphony on Philips. The recording of the 'Nutcracker' is also beautifully shaped and is a refreshing tonic after the breathless dynamics of the symphony. Fine recorded sound and copious notes are an added bonus to this fine Maag memorial.
Copyright © 2004, Gerald Fenech