MENDELSSOHN: Symphony No. 3 “Scotch”; The Hebrides Ov. — London Sym. Orch./ Peter Maag – London/ORG (2 45 rpm vinyl)

by | Jan 2, 2012 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews

MENDELSSOHN: Symphony No. 3 in A Minor, Op. 56 “Scotch”; The Hebrides Overture, Op. 26 — London Symphony Orchestra/ Peter Maag – London/ORG 106 (2 45 rpm LPs), 48:05 ****:
This is an audiophile re-mastering of London CS 6191 from the late 1950s by the Original Recordings Group (ORG) under license from Universal Music. The results are a dazzling example of what vinyl still has to offer, if prepared with care that mass-produced records do not receive. The sound defines vividness, with an undistorted dynamic range and pin-point accuracy of the orchestral instruments’ locations.
Long considered one of the best recordings (among many) turned out by London (actually British Decca), this pair of 45 rpm discs was an ear opener. Exciting and involving, ORG has produced a must-have for anyone who possesses audiophile level equipment.
Swiss conductor Peter Maag (1919-2001) had his ups and downs personally in the music world and as a recording artist. But one of his greatest triumphs was this 1957 analog two-channel stereo recording. Maag knew this music inside and out, dramatically bringing out the best in the earlier Hebrides Overture and Mendelssohn’s last symphony named the “Scotch.”
The Scotch Symphony was initially inspired by a trip in 1829 to the decaying Palace of Holyrood House where Mary became Queen of Scots. Mendelssohn did not finish the four-movement symphony until 1842. By this time Mendelssohn had matured and his memories of his rough trips in Scotland had mellowed into pleasant impressions.
The Hebrides Overture (Fingal’s Cave) was also inspired by that trip to Scotland the next year and remains one of the high points in the early Romantic music of Germany. Like several of the composer’s other overtures which stand alone, it has been described as a miniature tone poem. It was written in 1830 and revised in 1832.
These two works are lyrical and at times haunting and dramatic. They are graced with Mendelssohn’s extraordinary gift for orchestration. The London Symphony unfailingly follows Maag’s lead with determination.
Pulling its choices from various main line labels, ORG does not limit itself to classical music. ORG began in 2006 with a mission to produce the highest quality vinyl records and packaging in the industry. This set is a limited edition of 180 gram vinyl in gatefold packaging. (With of course the limited playing times per side necessitated by the increased fidelity of the 45 rpm mastering. It’s worth it if you have a good turntable, in spite of its high cost…Ed.]
This is a highly recommended set!
—Zan Furtwangler
 
 
 
 

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