With reissues of music from Haydn to Sibelius, Eloquence has returned to availability much of the recorded legacy of Eduard van Beinum, the chief conductor of the Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam in the post-war years. This is the first time that his complete Mozart studio recordings have been gathered together in a single issue and they have been newly remastered for the occasion.
Van Beinum prized warmth over clarity, according to some of his musicians but there is no lack of incisive attack in Classical repertoire such as the previous reissue of Haydn symphonies (476 8483). Of the three symphonies presented here, No. 33 KV 319 was a particular favourite of Van Beinum’s: he performed it more than any other Mozart symphony and this 1951 recording is an object demonstration of the art of orchestral legato, relaxed and easy-going in mood even in the momentum of the opera-buffa-style finale.
The soloists in the Clarinet Concerto and the Flute and Harp Concerto were the orchestra’s principals in those instruments, resulting in a memorably collegial atmosphere to these sessions in May and June 1957 which were the conductor’s last Mozart recordings before his death two years later. The C minor Piano Concerto was recorded at the earliest sessions here, in September 1948, when Van Beinum’s sober intelligence and immaculate sense of style were complemented by the British pianist, Kathleen Long.
A fascinating booklet note by Niek Nelissen, details the history of these recordings and of the conductor’s warm relationship with his musicians, including several personal testimonials: one violinist pays tribute to the ‘more flowing lines’ of van Beinum’s art which disregarded barlines to craft interpretations of outstanding suppleness and spontaneity.
WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART
Concerto for Flute, Harp & Orchestra in C major, KV 299
Hubert Barwahser, flute
Phia Berghout, harp
Symphony No. 29 in A major, KV 201
Symphony No. 33 in B flat major, KV 319*
Symphony No. 35 in D major, KV 385 ‘Haffner’**
Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor, KV 491*
Kathleen Long, piano
Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra in A major, KV 622*
Bram de Wilde, clarinet
London Philharmonic Orchestra**
Eduard van Beinum
* FIRST RELEASE ON DECCA CD
Recording Producers: Jaap van Ginneken (Flute & Harp Concerto, Symphony No. 29, Clarinet Concerto); John Culshaw (Symphony No. 33, Piano Concerto No. 24); Victor Olof (Symphony No. 35);
Balance Engineer: Henk Jansen, Cees Huizinga (Symphony No. 29, Clarinet Concerto, Flute & Harp Concerto); Kenneth Wilkinson (Symphony No. 33, Piano Concerto No. 24); unknown (Symphony No. 35)
Recording Locations: Kingsway Hall, London, UK, 1 May 1950 (Symphony No. 35); Concertgebouw, Grote Zaal, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 20 & 21 September 1948 (Piano Concerto No. 24), September 1951 (Symphony No. 33), 25 May 1956 (Symphony No. 29), 29 May 1957 (Clarinet Concerto), 6 June 1957 (Flute & Harp Concerto)
Remastering: Paschal Byrne; Chris Bernauer
‘This “Haffner” Symphony boasts an aptly festive pomp tempered with a stylish transparency and grace not always present in the accounts of such admired Mozartians as Beecham and Walter.’ Fanfare, September/October 2003
‘The performance of the [Flute and Harp] Concerto is delightful, and flautist Hubert Barwahser is splendid here. Pia Berghout coaxes from the instrument a surprisingly wide range of dynamics and colours, she can very effectively suggest legato in melodic lines, and plays with a great deal of rhythmic vitality.’ Fanfare, July/August 1997
‘The balance between piano and orchestra, the clean, sensitive style of playing, the actual size of the orchestra, are all so right, so completely Mozartian in proportion, that this recording can be held up as a model.’ Gramophone, March 1949 (Piano Concerto KV 491)