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Decca Eclipse LPs
Posted by Jeffrey Davis on May 16, 2008, 6:01 pm
Rob Barnett's reference to Thomas Jensen's Danish recording of the Four Legends by Sibelius, in his review of the great Van Beinum CD on Decca set me on a nostalgia trip. When I was discovering classical music as a schoolboy in Earl's Court in the 1970s, it was Decca Eclipse that I invariably turned to. I could just about afford them with my Saturday job wages. Jensen's Four Legends was a favourite, with one of those atmospheric National Trust photos on the front (Cumberland etc standing in for the northern forests of Finland etc). The performance was unrivalled in my view; especially the haunting opening of the third movement. I don't think that any other recording approaches this in poetic atmosphere. Like Rob, I was delighted to discover this on CD, having looked around for it for ages. The discovery of Boult's Vaughan Williams Symphonies resulted in my transition from 70s jazz-rock (Blood,Sweat and Tears, Chicago etc)to classical music. The crucial disc for me being Boult's VW No 6 on Decca Eclipse (bleakly atmospheric photo of Blea Tarn, in Lake District on LP cover). VW's speech at the end of the LP was an added bonus "I would like to thank you and your conductor...etc." I still expect that familiar voice to appear whenever I hear the end of the symphony. Cumberland again, in the snow I recall, had to represent the Antarctic for the cover of VW's 7th Symphony.
Other Decca Eclipse couplings include the unusual coupling of Samuel Barber's Cello Concerto (Nelsova/Barber) with Alan Rawsthorne's Second Piano Concerto (Curzon). I am pleased that Decca legents have issued some CDs with the Decca Eclipse sleeves reproduced in the CD booklet (ie Rachmaninov's Third Symphony and VW Symphony 8, Boult).
Anyway, happy memories of Decca Eclipse.
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