The Barbirolli archives continue to flourish with another excellent release in the 'Favourites' series.
A splendidly evocative 'Hebrides' Overture heralds the disc followed by charismatic accounts of the rustic 'Merry Wives of Windsor' and the emotional Tchaikovsky 'Andante Cantabile', wonderful Hallé strings here. Weber's 'Oberon' is also beautifully done with an enticing 'Wolf's Glen' sequence and a marvellous coda.
Rossini was definitely a Barbirolli favourite and his interpretations of both 'Semiramide' and 'William Tell' are from the top drawer, one almost recalls Beecham here. The Clarke Trumpet Voluntary is a s meaty as one could expect whilst I have rarely heard such a soulful 'Manon Lescaut' Intermezzo. Humperdinck's 'Hansel and Gretel' is delightfully done on all counts whilst the rousing Sousa March that concludes the disc is second to none.
As usual Lyndon Jenkins provides incalculably informative notes to this disc and Michael Dutton's remastering is excellent although there is some distortion in the Clarke recording. Obviously, this disc is a must for Barbirolli aficionados and collectors.
Copyright © 2002, Gerald Fenech