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The selections on these transfers are some of my absolutely favourite Stravinsky. Though I've been listening to and enjoying this music for more than 40-odd years, I never tire of them. Coupled to this of course was Ansermet's impressive relationship with both the composer and the Ballet Russe around the WW1 era. Thus, with these favourable arguments in my sights, I anticipated great hopes when purchasing these transfers. It's well known the Suisse Romande was never a great orchestra, and this bites the listener in the leg almost immediately. The ensemble, intonation, the general musical vitality in much of the passagework, plus the overall playing standard, are far from top-notch. One might debate these burdens are the province of the conductor, and to a degree, this is absolutely true. However, a multitude of rehearsals, plus yelling, screaming, threatening, and enraged destruction of numerous batons will never make an average orchestral player into a great one, and accordingly these recordings simply cannot stand beside - for example - the Bernstein readings, much less the composer's!! On the plus side, Ansermet's voicing of chords and certain passages are clear demonstrations of his obvious rapport with this music, and one can at least sense the "potential" of his interpretations, had it otherwise been the Berlin or Vienna Phil, or something in that calibre. But the orchestral playing simply doesn't support his vision of these incredibly great works, so sadly I can only rate these recordings 3 stars.
Excellent early Decca sound, but the OSR under Ansermet is - as always - a bit on the rough side. The Symphony in Three Movements starts promisingly with real elan, but once the initial frisson dies down, some of the playing is just a bit sloppy. The Symphony in C fares better, but one cannot altogether escape the feeling that these neoclassical masterpieces by Stravinsky need an orchestra with more drive, snap and rhythmic precision than the OSR of this era can offer.
Title: Stravinsky Symphony In C Major (1940)
Symphony In Three Movements (1945)
Artist(s): Ernest Ansermet & L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande
Recording Info: Transferred from a 2 track 15ips tape
Recorded by Decca Producer: James Walker Engineer: Roy Wallace
April 1960 at Victoria Hall, Geneva
Symphony In 3 Movements
1. Allegro 10:31
2. Andante - Interlude (L'istesso tempo)- 5:48
3. Con Moto 6:14
Symphony In C
4. Moderato Alla Breve - Tempo Agitato Senza Troppo Accelerare
Tempo I 10:42
5. Larghetto Concertante 8:01
6. Allegretto - Meno Mosso - Tempo I - Più Mosso - Tempo I 5:00
7. Largo - Tempo Giusto, Alla Breve - Poco Meno Mosso 7:08
Total Time: 53:24