This is a fine Testament release taken from the archives of Netherlands Radio and enshrines some magnificent Barbirolli performances in somewhat opaque sound.
The Satie Gymnopedie's have a delicate and loving sound that reveal Sir John's deep and intrinsic love for the miniaturistic charm of these enchanting pieces.
Britten's 'Sinfonia da Requiem' was another Barbirolli speciality and this is one of many recordings available. However it is intriguing to observe the special attention and alertness that the Concertgebouw players impart to the music that takes on an added grandeur.
However it is the Dvořák Seventh that is the real highlight of the disc as it is a version to die for! Sir John handles the music with real imagery and heart-on-sleeve emotion that almost rivals Kertész and Sejna, my other preferred versions in this landmark work.
The only qualms I have in this otherwise splendid disc is the sound that is extremely dry in places. But otherwise this is another fine release, well documented and presented with the usual authority from this source.
Copyright © 2003, Gerald Fenech