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CD Review

Ludwig van Beethoven

  • Symphony #5
  • Overture "Coriolan" *
The Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra/Carlos Païta
* London Philharmonic Orchestra/Carlos Païta
Lodia LO-CD781
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The art of Carlos Païta seems to be destined for cult status, but he was a talented conductor who made some fine records for Decca and Lodia, his own label. These are not so much reissues as they are reprints; Albany Music is slowing easing the Lodia catalogue back into circulation. Since most of these albums have only been obtainable at unfair prices on Amazon and eBay, collectors who have been searching will be happy to find that the albums can be purchased reasonably again.

That said, I'm not sure that this is an essential purchase unless you are a diehard fan. The early digital sound quality is unimpressive, leading to some questionable balances. More pressing is the quality of Carlos Païta's "Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra", which to my ear plays earnestly and intensely, but not always well. There is a certain crudeness in the brass particularly that quickly becomes tiresome. And the fiery Argentinean conductor seems less at home in Beethoven than in say, Tchaikovsky and Mahler.

The 5th needs more than it gets here; the interpretation isn't interesting enough to override the glaring sonics and somewhat steely playing on display here. Some of the ideas turn into good musical insights, and there's no question that there is a genuine presence on the podium, but it doesn't match less personably stamped but far better sounding renditions. On the other hand, the blistering Coriolan overture is a thrill ride, although the shrill sonic profile also is present here. The London Philharmonic plays more convincingly than their faceless disc-mates, though, with Païta at his most excitable. Wroth checking out if you're a collector.

Copyright © 2014, Brian Wigman