BEECHAM Tchaikovsky: Symphonies 5 & 6, Francesca da Rimini

"I find a heartening flexibility in the opening, everywhere taste, imagination, quality worth savouring. I find the recording kind to needles and to the ear, and the reading grateful to the spirit. In all, a product much to my liking" - The Gramophone, July 1940

This week's release brings together two recordings Sir Thomas Beecham made with his London Philharmonic Orchestra as the 1930s moved into the 1940s of music by Tchakovsky - his Fifth Symphony and Francesca da Rimini (review excerpt above) - with the only surviving record of his conducting of the Sixth, "Pathétique" Symphony, in the form of two abridged movements recorded way back in 1915 with his Beecham Symphony Orchestra.

Mark Obert-Thorn brings his remastering brilliance to bear across all of these recordings and, despite the gulf in sound quality between the earlier and later recordings, all are definitely worth your time and ears. Beecham conjures up plenty of fire in this repertoire, along with a modicum of targeted string portamenti and no little flexibility of tempi.