||Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra
conductor Antal Doráti
Recorded in 1952 and 1957
XR remastering by Andrew Rose at Pristine Audio, June 2012
Transfers by Edward Johnson
Cover artwork based on a photograph of Antal Doráti
Total duration: 74:40
©2012 Pristine Audio.
Download ID: 1629635-37
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Presented in Stereo (Albéniz, de Falla) and Ambient Stereo (Tchaikovsky)
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Doráti in fiery form in these recordings of Russian and Spanish music
Mercury Living Presence sound brought up to date with XR remastering
TCHAIKOVSKY Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Op. 64 [notes / score]
Recorded 27-29 April 1952
Issued as Mercury MG 50008
Presented in Ambient Stereo
- ALBENIZ (orch. Arbós) Iberia [notes / score]
- DE FALLA La Vida Breve - Interlude and Dance [notes / score]
Recorded 21 April 1957
Issued as Mercury SR 90007
Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra
Antal Doráti conductor
FLAC downloads include scores for the works by Tchaikovsky (orchestral score) and Albéniz (original piano score only)
Dorati grasps the fiery work with both hands, throwing none of it away. Right from the crisp "till ready " of the allegro of the first movement it is clear that this is going to be an alert performance and the alertness does in fact continue until the very end. Sometimes, arguably, a bit too much so: in the slow movement, after the pizzicato chords, when the violins take over the horn's original tune—is this not pushing on a bit too vigorously ?
The orchestra responds to Dorati with some very alive playing. The violas in particular are unusually strong—this was noticeable, too, in the same orchestra's recording of the Mozart G minor Symphony, reviewed here this month ; could it be anything to do with the microphone placing ? "A single Telefunken microphone hung about 15 feet directly over the conductor's podium" is the recipe; it does seem strategically placed for the violas. (Not, in passing, for the bassoons— their last notes to the first movement of the Tchaikovsky are quite lost.)
The recording is vivid, matching the performance ideally. With the opening of the slow movement re-made, I would have little difficulty in believing this to be the best available version...
M.M., The Gramophone, June 1954, excerpt (link)
Review (Albéniz, de Falla)
I started here with the Vida Breve extracts —the atmospheric Interlude and the gay First Dance. Excellent playing, and very life-like recording in both mono and stereo versions. A slight lift of the eyebrows at what struck me as an exaggerated broadening of the tempo at the heavy string theme in the Dance, but on the whole very good indeed.
And then, having dug out the Argenta version for comparison, I settled down to the Arbós orchestrations of five of the Iberia suite—Evocación, El Corpus en Sevilla, Triana, El Puerto and El Albaicin. Critics seem to spend most of their time sighing "If only..." In this case, faced with first-rate playing by the Minneapolis Orchestra and fine recording by Mercury, one's constant thoughts are "If only Antal Dorati weren't in such an almighty hurry all the time..." and "If only Argenta could have had the advantage of this orchestra and the best modern recording..."
L.S., The Gramophone, April 1960, excerpt(link)
Notes on the recordings:
These recordings, made just five years apart, demonstrate in their original forms the advances in recording technology that took place between 1952 and 1957. The Tchaikovsky, in mono and with limited frequency extension, sounded as if from another era. But it's the same orchestra and conductor, and I've attempted to convey this in the remastering of all three works, with significant benefits to the earlier LP's sound, which is now considerably improved and realistic, though some very high frequency "fuzz" is occasionally audible.
The two stereo recordings were much more successful, and here I've been able to make the very most of the full extension both at the top end and in the very deep bass, to convey the wonderfully evocative and dramatically Spanish intent of the conductor.
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biographical notes from Wikipedia
Antal Doráti KBE (April 9, 1906 – November 13, 1988) was a Hungarian-born conductor and composer.
Doráti was born in Budapest, where his father was a violinist with the Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra. He studied at the Franz Liszt Academy with Zoltán Kodály and Leo Weiner for composition and Béla Bartók for piano. He made his conducting debut in 1924 with the Budapest Royal Opera. He became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1947.
He conducted the world premiere of Bartók's Viola Concerto (as completed by Tibor Serly) with the Minneapolis Symphony in 1949. As well as composing original works, he compiled and arranged pieces by Johann Strauss II for the ballet Graduation Ball, as well as Jacques Offenbach's La Belle Hélène and Bluebeard, and Modest Mussorgsky's Fair at Sorotchinsk.
His autobiography, Notes of Seven Decades, was published in 1979. In 1983, Queen Elizabeth II made Doráti an honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE). This entitled him to use the post-nominal letters KBE, but not to style himself “Sir Antal Dorati”. Dorati died at 82 years old in Gerzensee, Switzerland.
He made his first recording with the London Philharmonic Orchestra for the recording label His Master's Voice. Over the course of his career Doráti made over 600 recordings. [Richard Chlupaty of The Antal Doráti Centenary Society notes: "According to our tally of AD’s recordings, we’ve clocked up well over 700 works recorded in the studio; additionally, there are now a large number of live recordings –including unpublished items - which will bring the total to around 1000."]
He was the first conductor to record the complete symphonies of Joseph Haydn in other than a very limited-release edition, with the Philharmonia Hungarica: an orchestra comprised of Hungarian musicians who fled the Soviet invasion of Hungary. He also recorded an unprecedented cycle of Haydn's operas.
Doráti became especially well-known for his recordings of Tchaikovsky's music. He was the first conductor to record all three of Tchaikovsky's ballets - Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker - complete. The albums were recorded in mono in 1954, for Mercury Records, with the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra (later renamed the Minnesota Orchestra), as part of their famous "Living Presence" series. All three ballets were at first issued separately, but were later re-issued in a 6-LP set. Dorati never re-recorded Swan Lake, but he did make a stereo recording of The Sleeping Beauty (again complete) with the Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam for Philips Classics Records, and two complete recordings in stereo of The Nutcracker, one with the London Symphony Orchestra (again for Mercury), and the other with the Concertgebouw Orchestra for Philips. He also recorded all four of Tchaikovsky's orchestral suites with the New Philharmonia Orchestra, and he was the first conductor to make a recording of Tchaikovsky's "1812" Overture (featuring the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra) with real cannons, brass band, and church bells, first in mono in 1954 and then in stereo in 1958. He also recorded all six of Tchaikovsky's symphonies with the London Symphony Orchestra.
Other prominent composers in Doráti's recording career are Béla Bartók and Igor Stravinsky. His comprehensive series of Bartók's orchestral works for Mercury have been brought together on a 6-CD set.
He also made the first stereo recording of Léo Delibes' Coppelia, with the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra. An album set of Richard Wagner's opera The Flying Dutchman is also among Doráti's more popular recordings.
He lived to make digital recordings, for English Decca Records (released in the U.S. on the London label), with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. One of these, the recording of Stravinsky's Le Sacre du Printemps, received the coveted French award Grand Prix du Disque.
Notes from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antal_Dorati
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