xdcd Archive

TCHAIKOVSKY: Swan Lake Suite – Menuhin, v./Philharmonia Orch./ Efrem Kurtz – HiQ xrcd24

TCHAIKOVSKY: Swan Lake Suite – Menuhin, v./Philharmonia Orch./ Efrem Kurtz – HiQ xrcd24

TCHAIKOVSKY: Swan Lake, Op. 20: (Suite from the Ballet) – Yehudi Menuhin, v./ Philharmonia Orch./ Efrem Kurtz – Hi-Q xrcd24 HIQXRCD49, 60:00 (6/24/16)  [Distr. by Warner Classics] ****: A fine xrcd remastering of a classic performance recording. Once more, Hi-Q remasters Parlaphone 1958 original analog recordings from the three Tchaikovsky ballets recorded in excerpts by Efrem Kurtz and the Philharmonia Orchestra.  Given that 1916 marks the centennial of violin virtuoso Yehudi Menuhin (1916-1999), the sliken collaboration in some of the world’s finest ballet music becomes even more attractively noteworthy. Menuhin appears thrice in the course of the excerpts, the last of which, the Danse russe from the Supplement materials, provides a rousing finale. As per expectation, the warm and often suavely heart-rending Menuhin violin tone proves ravishing, as in the appearance of the Swan Princess, Odette. Kurtz himself has an excellent grasp of the Tchaikovsky style, although for unbridled passion in particular dances and scenes, I might recommend Fricsay, Markevitch, and Gergiev as my preferences. At every moment, however, the effect of the new mastering process by Tohru Kotetsu at JVC consistently stuns for effects, especially through my BOSE headphones.  The booklet, the slick production qualities, and the recording itself […]

TCHAIKOVSKY: The Nutcracker, Op. 71 – Suite from the Ballet – Philharmonia Orch./ Efrem Kurtz – Hi-Q Records

TCHAIKOVSKY: The Nutcracker, Op. 71 – Suite from the Ballet – Philharmonia Orch./ Efrem Kurtz – Hi-Q Records

The 1958 classic Nutcracker excerpts assume a new audiophile guise in this issue from Hi-Q Records. TCHAIKOVSKY: The Nutcracker, Op. 71 – Suite from the Ballet – Philharmonia Orch./ Efrem Kurtz – Hi-Q Records xrcd24 HIQXRCD51, 60:00 (6/24/16) [Distr. by Warner Classics] ****: The Nutcracker – Suite From The Ballet is performed by the Philharmonia Orchestra and conducted by the well-known Russian conductor Efrem Kurtz. Kurtz had already been a familiar name with the Philharmonia to the record collector of the 1950s, and he embarked upon a series of Tchaikovsky ballet recordings with the Philharmonia Orchestra for EMI in 1958. A tall, imposing figure – he often dispensed with a podium – Efrem Kurtz had studied with Glazunov and Tcherepnin and was a pupil of Arthur Nikisch. Kurtz had a broad symphonic and operatic repertory and conducted the premieres of works by Copland, Barber, Walton, Hindemith, Stravinsky, Shostakovich, and Khachaturian. He remained most highly regarded for his interpretations of Russian music. Of this Nutcracker in the original review in The Gramophone of November 1958, R. F. remarked: “The orchestral quality is superb, and the dynamic contrasts tremendous. If you can hear the opening pizzicato notes of the Sugar-Plum Fairy, the […]