Sunday, 6 July 2014

Legendary Mahler 5 released - Horenstein

At last, a remastered release of  the legendary Jascha Horenstein  Mahler Symphony no 5, with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra recorded at the Edinburgh Festival in 1961. It's available for digital download from  Pristine Classical, the specialist supplier.

"And so it came to pass that on the night of 31st August, 1961, somebody, somewhere, was listening to the radio broadcast that evening, live from the annual Edinburgh Festival in Scotland, with tape reels loaded up, poised and ready to press record as the BBC announcer began his introduction to the evening's main concert attraction: Jascha Horenstein would be conducting the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra in a performance of Mahler's Fifth Symphony.  Perhaps the unknown sound recordist was already aware of Horenstein's reputation in this field. Perhaps he was simply excited to hear a performance of this then-somewhat-neglected composer's symphonic work. Perhaps he was merely curious. I don't have any clues on this front. But the tape survived and, fifty-something years later, a copy arrived in the hands of the conductor's cousin, Misha Horenstein, who has dedicated a good part of his life's energies into collecting together as comprehensive an archive of Jascha's work as is possible." writes Andrew Rose, head of Pristine Classical

Horenstein's "renown in the works of Mahler is legendary. Yet two major symphonies have eluded us and for many years were believed unrecorded: the second remains in this limbo (though who knows?...); the fifth is now known to exist in no less than three concert recordings, all unreleased. This week we finally fill that gap in Jascha Horenstein's catalogue with the most brilliant, electrifying performance of those three, a performance with the Berlin Philharmonic which easily demonstrates the conductor's abilities as one of the great Mahlerian's of all time, a performance that all involved would surely be proud of."

"Sometimes mythical, lost recordings turn up, then fail to quite live up to expectations. It's as if they sounded better in the imagination than in reality. That is not the case here - indeed, I suspect for many this will exceed their expectations, and then some."

As Mischa Horenstein, cousin of the conductor, writes "I listened to the whole symphony and compliment you on a grand job. You have successfully managed that compromise between cleaning up a pretty miserable recording and maintaining good sound, no, improving it tremendously, so that's terrific. The sound is very similar to what I remember from the JH concerts I attended, big orchestra, wide dynamic range, powerful bass line. Bravo!"

Please click HERE for a link to purchase Click HERE for a review

No comments: