This is the second volume of Barbirolli recordings with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra and it continues showcasing the young conductor's immense talents in this much maligned period of his career. It is good of Dutton and the Barbirolli Society to provide us with such an important record of Sir John's activities.
The Piano Concerto #27 is one of the miracles of the repertoire and in Casadesus and Sir John's hands it certainly turns to gold. The opening Allegro is beautifully shaped with an almost palpable sense of wonder in the music and the pianist is definitely having a ball of time. The final Allegro is also very commendable for its grand sense of pomp and majesty bringing the work to a glorious close with the recording quite good for its age.
The exquisite symphony also receives wonderful attention and care from Barbirolli and the NYPSO. Here one can sense the conductor's love for Mozart's inspired melodies and the work comes across as well nigh perfect. Benny Goodman is a characterful interpreter of the Clarinet Concerto which is generally described as the composer's greatest concertante work and both artists surely rise to the occasion here. The 1940 recordings have been superbly remastered by Michael Dutton and with fine notes taken from Michael Kennedy's book on the conductor, one really cannot go wrong.
Copyright © 2004, Gerald Fenech