But I can only respond to the comments already made by John Quinn in his review of the Lyrita release of the first performance of Berkeley's Magnificat recorded in St. Paul's Cathedral in July 1968. John comments on the "resonant acoustic" of St. Paul's and compares the sound to that of the performance conducted by Sir Adrian Boult at the Proms the following year.
In his book about the Music of Lennox Berkeley Peter Dickinson noted that most of the detail of the work was lost in "the excessively reverberant acoustic of St. Paul's". In his own diary Berkeley recorded "a very unsatisfactory performance". He later expressed the view that the performance itself was "not too bad" but that the sound prevented the work from being properly appreciated.
There is another performance of the Magnificat given at the Three Choirs' Festival in Worcester Cathedral in August 1978 by the BBC Northern Symphony Orchestra under Donald Hunt. I have a tape of that performance and-it seems to me-that the sound quality is certainly superior.
It is of course possible that Richard Itter did not record the 1978 Worcester performance and that Lyrita therefore had no choice in the matter. I am sure that the Hunt recording would have responded to Lyrita's engineers' wizardry but I can understand fully that the deal with the BBC is to use recordings made by Itter himself.
At least we have a performance conducted by the composer....and, as ever, Paul Conway's incredibly informative booklet notes.
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