Arts continues to make important discoveries in the historical field especially from the wealth of recordings available in the RAI archives of the late 1950's and early 60's from such luminaries as Peter Maag, Andre Cluytens and other great artists of the past.
The rather underrated André Cluytens here takes the RAI Symphony Orchestra through its paces in Mussorgsky's potboiler "Pictures at an Exhibition". Although the recording is slightly on the thin side, one can admire the magnificent playing of the brass section especially in the "Promenades" and the eerie "Catacombs" pieces. I also was greatly thrilled by the noble "Great Gate of Kiev" which elicits a passionate response from the audience.
Ravels' La valse is also beautifully done, and I compared it to another Cluytens recording on Testament finding similar traits in the interpretation although the feeling of a live performance is obviously much more present here. The "Firebird" suite is also winningly done, demonstrating Cluyten's feel for the Russian master. Although most collectors will have multiple versions of these works in their collections, this CD is a fine tribute to the great André Cluytens and I eagerly await further recordings of this artist from this source.
Copyright © 2007, Gerald Fenech