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Salient. Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 26, No. 8. Monday, July 1, 1963




A Set which has been out now for a couple of months, but which has not had previous consideration in this section is the Shostakovitch 11th Symphony by the French National Radio under Andre Cluytens (Record Society RZ 6009).

How "definitive" this playing is, is of course arbitrary to one's conception of the Shostakovitch symphony. Suffice it to say that this is the first performance of the 11th and was recorded under the "personal supervision of the composer." The scoring is of a brazen nature and receives due amount of weight from all sections of the orchestra. The string phrasing in II is most clean, while the fortes in III resound mightily with no distortion apparent. Cluytens takes the whole schemozzle at a brisk gait, adding vigour to an otherwise enervating experience.

Unreservedly recommended is the disc of Eva Turner singing arias in the past (Colc 114). These performances, recorded in 1927. have enjoyed a remarkably good transfer, with only some slight top cut noticeable. Eva Turner's flawless singing of Princess Turandot's "In questa reggia" is a joy to the ear: her range and power are exceptional, as in the muted passion of her piano. Just listen to the soar up to the high C in "O patria mia!" Singing as one seldom ever hears. Notice, too, the 20's style of portemento in string playing—a curious phenomenon, but it seems to jell with the soprano far more than would clean phrasing.

Two piano recitals this week. Firstly, from Samson Francois and the French National Radio under Paul Kletzki comes a recording of the Schumann and the Chopin 2nd piano concerto (Mxlp 20017). Altogether, two insipid performances boxily recorded and hamfistedly played. The piano sounds like a clapper-board. The lack of transience is disgusting: it is simply not possible to recommend this. Similarly with Cziffra's playing some of his "favourites." but for different reasons. The tone of Cziffra's instrument is clear and wide as is the playing (Rachmaninoff, Chopin. Gounod, etc.). Not so noticeable in the Rachmaninoff G minor Prelude perhaps, but listen to his playing of Chopin and Mendelssohn. What magnificent nerve. Forte, forte, forte. His technique is unquestionable. Some may beg to differ on the interpretation.