Allowance does have to be made for the fact that the recordings were made by Richard Itter between 1968 (Symphony 1) and 1979 (Symphony 5). In truth, however, I donít think too many allowances have to be made, especially in the case of Symphony 5. The recording of the ĎConflictí overture is the least successful in my view Ė though fully satisfactory as an historical recording. In this piece, on my equipment, the instruments are balanced a bit too closely for comfort and the sound is somewhat studio-confined. The other two recordings, whilst lacking some of the bloom and depth that we expect from todayís recordings, are perfectly acceptable in my opinion.
Over the years Iíve listened to many historical recordings, including many that were recorded off-air. In particular, Iíve listened to a lot of the American performances from the 1940s to the early 1960s issued on the Music & Arts and West Hill Musical Archive labels, some of which Iíve reviewed for MusicWeb. I wouldnít want to appear to knock those recordings in any way Ė the transfer engineers have achieved some very good results. However, when I think back, for example, to the WHRA recordings of Pierre Monteux and Charles Munch in Boston in the late 1950s and early 1960s I think that the Lyrita/Itter recordings so far issued offer generally superior sound.
I had hoped that we might have been able to sample both the Wordsworth disc and the disc of music by Anthony Milner as part of the most recent report from the MusicWeb International. Unfortunately, we ran out of time. However, we will do our very best to sample and report back on one or two of these Lyrita/Itter releases as part of our next session.
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Len Mullenger - Founder of MusicWeb