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last update 15 Mayl 2012


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Music for  Whitsuntide

Gibbons Evensong for Whitsunday Kings College Choir
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Music for a pageant on the River Thames

On Sunday 3rd June 2012 over one thousand boats will muster on the River Thames in preparation for Her Majesty The Queen to take part in the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant. This will be the largest river pageant since 23 August 1662,  when King Charles II and Queen Catherine of Braganza were greeted by an extravagant pageant on their arrival at Whitehall from Hampton Court.

Such an event will need music. Handel's Water Music was written for performance on the Thames. In the twenthieth century it was common for this music to be performed in concerts in an arrangemnet by the Irish conductor and composer Hamilton Harty.

You can download Harty's arrangemnt of the Water Music from Beulah Extra
water music
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YB35D CLASSICAL MUSIC IN THE FORTIES

Benjamin Britten's Young Persons Guide to the Orchestra was the subject of Tales from the Stave broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on 15 and 19 May.
YB35 Classical Music in the Forties
This DVD features artist that brought music to the people during and after World War 2. Dame Myra Hess plays Beethoven [View] and Mozart [View] in a National Gallery devoid of pictures. Instruments of the Orchestra [View] and Steps of the Ballet [View] were two educational films made by the Crown Film Unit to help schools meet the requirements of R.A. Butler's 1944 Education Act which put music into the curriculum for the first time. Benjamin Britten wrote his Young Persons Guide To The Orchestra for Instruments fo the Orchestra performed by the London Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Sir Malcolm Sargent. Arthur Benjamin was commissioned to write the score for Steps of the Ballet which unlike its orchestral colleague has become a forgotten film. Robert Helpmann explains the staging of a ballet with choreography by Andree Howard and lead roles by Gerd Larsson and Alexander Grant. Finally Dennis Brain explains the French horn and the performs Beethoven's Horn Sonata with Denis Matthews [View]. Contains an audio extra. Holst - The Perfect Fool ballet music played by the London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Sir Malcolm Sargent. Recorded in the Kingsway Hall, London in March 1946.
Black and white 76 minutes DVD PAL video.

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1PD44 Collin Davis conducts Beethoven and Brahms

Beethoven Symphony No. 7

"Edward Greenfield wrote that it was ‘a lively sympathetic account to rival any in the catalogue … [with] well balanced recording’... and I’m very pleased to see that Beulah have reissued it now. It holds its own for me against the many Beethoven symphony recordings which Davis went on to make in the UK, Holland, Germany and the USA. The recording is a touch less detailed than we would expect now, but it’s come up very well in this transfer... Some conductors seem to delight in seeing how fast they can take the finale without losing the orchestra. Davis is fairly fast at 6:42 – all the recordings which I list below are noticeably slower – but the RPO never come off the rails ... From an earlier period Beulah have released Erich Kleiber’s 1950 mono recording – an excellent performance but the sound inevitably sounds dated by comparison with the Davis. (9-12BX6) " Brian Wilson at Music Web International

Brahms Variations on a theme by Haydn

"The recordings have come up well in Beulah’s transfers ...There’s nothing revelatory but there’s nothing run of the mill here, either." Brian Wilson at Music Web International

Although not currently available on compact disc you can buy these tracks atlisten and buy

Historic Brahms Trios

1PD48 Historic Brahms Trios

Horn Trio in E flat major Op.40
Aubrey Brain(horn)
Adolf Busch (violin)
Rudolf Serkin(Piano)
1933 recording

Piano Trio No. 2 in C Op. 87
Myra Hess (piano)
Jelly d’Aranyi (violin)
Gaspar Cassado (cello)
1935 recording

Although not currently available on compact disc you can buy these tracks atlisten and buy



New from Beulah Extra

bach chromatic fantasia and fugue
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bach italian concerto bwv971
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1st movement
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2nd movement
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3rd movement
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"I must admit to some feelings of ambiguity when it comes to George Malcolm’s Bach: we owe much of what we now think of as authentic performance to him and Thurston Dart, but the instruments which he employed would now be regarded as inauthentic. The miracle is that he was able to produce a performance of such subtlety as this of the Italian Concerto – plenty of virtuoso playing and forward momentum, though not clockwork-sounding and with real delicacy where it’s called for. The recording has come up sounding well.

With such fine performances, my likes easily outweigh my reservations in the final analysis." Brian Wilson at Muisc Web International
borodin symphony number 2 coates

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1st movement
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2nd movement
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3rd movement
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4th movemnet
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"Recording a full orchestra was still a hazardous business in 1929 and 1931, so it’s hardly surprising that the recording shows its age, though by a good deal less than I had expected. There’s some inevitable 78 rpm light frying noise in the background, though it’s not really troublesome.

The performance was worth perpetuating: an exciting account of the first movement is punctuated by occasional rubato to a greater extent than is now usual. After the first movement I didn’t notice anything that wouldn’t pass muster nowadays – or perhaps I was becoming more attuned to Coates’s manner. Whatever the reason, I enjoyed hearing this blast from the past." Brian Wilson at Muisc Web International
mendelssohn symphony number five
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1st movement
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2nd movement
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3rd and 4th movements
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"The recording is not great, even for its age, and there’s a fair amount of surface noise, though it didn’t prevent me from enjoying the performance. The variations on Ein’ feste Burg in the finale go with a real swing – the highlight of an idiomatic performance of the whole symphony." Brian Wilson at Muisc Web International
Auf dem Wasser zu singen
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Schubert Im Frühling D 774 Lisa della Casa
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Schubert Du bist die Ruh D 776 Lisa della Casa
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Schubert Gretchen am Spinnrade D 882 Lisa della Casa
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"Lisa della Casa had a small but very beautiful voice and she uses it to good effect here in these four Schubert lieder, four of the very best works that he composed for the female voice. By comparison with the likes of Gerald Moore, her accompanist, whom I had never even heard of, is efficient but no great shakes. Whether through his influence or from her own inclination, the rallentandi complained of in 1957 do sound artificial, though they didn’t spoil my enjoyment. I could have wished, too, that she had shown the same sympathy for Du bist die Ruh’ as Busch and Serkin for the same tune in their recording of the Fantasie (above). Gretchen am Spinnrade is sung superbly, with real feeling for the music.

The recording is good, though, surprisingly for John Culshaw, both della Casa and Hudez sound rather distant; turning up the volume inevitably increases the otherwise hardly noticeable tape hiss." Brian Wilson at Muisc Web International
Schubert fantasie in c moajor busch serkin
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"This Fantasie deserves to be much better known and Adolf Busch and Rudolf Serkin form a dream partnership in the music; each was famous in his own right, the former as leader of the eponymous Busch Quartet, while Serkin was to go on until well into the stereo era as a renowned soloist, especially in Mozart, Beethoven and Brahms.

Only last month I fell in love with a cello-and-piano transcription of the Fantasie, performed by Pieter Wispelwey and Paolo Giacometti (ONYX4046) – more authentic in their use of period instruments, but less so in employing a transcription – but Busch and Serkin are even more intense in their performance of the andantino variations on Sei mir gegrüsst.

The recording sounds surprisingly well for its age, thanks, no doubt to the care taken with the transfer. There’s a good frequency- and dynamic range and only very light surface noise." Brian Wilson at Muisc Web International
schubert
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1st movement
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2nd movement
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3rd movement
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4th movement
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"This is a reconstruction of Schubert’s ‘real’ seventh symphony, not Joachim’s orchestrated version of the Grand Duo which was once thought to be the lost Gmunden-Gastein symphony, as recorded among others by Michael Halász on Naxos and, with greater success by Claudio Abbado on DG. Schubert drafted this but orchestrated only a small part – it’s one of several symphonies that deserve the appellation ‘unfinished’, perhaps more than the eighth which usually goes by that title. He seems to have somehow lost his nerve for completing symphonies around this time but Weingartner’s completion demonstrates that the work was good enough to have been rescued and it receives a sympathetic performance; though the VSOO were hardly the equals of their more famous neighbours the Vienna Phil, there’s nothing much amiss with their playing here and Litschauer proves himself an accomplished Schubertian.

So why did I find the whole thing enjoyable but unmemorable? This recording, though made in 1952, was not released in the UK until several years later, on the Vanguard label. Many Vanguard recordings from the 1950s still sound fine, but this has not worn too well. In Beulah’s transcription it still sounds thin, though perfectly acceptable and mercifully free from surface noise." Brian Wilson at Muisc Web International

New Video Download

More inland waterways titles just released:

  • Take to the Boats
    Take to the Boats (1962)
    This BTF documentary depicts the uses made of the inland waterways in the early 1960s. The boats and fashions have changed and the commercial traffic using narrow boats has all but gone, but much else is unchanged. The Zoo Water Bus still navigates the Regents Canal. Hire boats for partying, although bankers these days will want more spectacular venues than the Bank of Bangkok staff of 1962 experienced. There is still a trip boat at Newark, though it does not offer a five day trip form Nottingham to Lincoln as featured n this film. There are some changes with the passage of time . Upton on Severn Water Festival has down graded from an ox roast to a pig roast and Coventry Cathedral is not new any more.

    watch and buy


  • Robert Reid Reports on British Waterways (1962)
    Television reporter Robert Reid takes a journey on British Waterways tug Primrose from Avonmouth Docks to Worcester calling at Sharpness and Gloucester Docks en-route. Made by British Transport Films, with photography by Oscar winning cinematographer David Watkin, the film is designed o to promote commercial use of waterways in the face of the challenges from road and rail in a pre-container age.


  • Waterways our Heritage (1972)
    The 1970s were difficult days for Britain's inland waterways. This 30 minute film lists the various activities to be found on British Waterways but spends most of its time following a family cruising from Hilmorton via Harecastle and the Shropshre Union. Also features the Calidonian Canal, the Welsh Harp (London) and canoeing around Dewsbury.


  • World of the Waterways (1968)
    This is a title from British Transport Films made for British Waterways in 1968. Canals for commerce and pleasure are promoted along with angling

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