Sir Thomas Beecham's influence on classical music during a span of several decades across the twentieth century was unparalleled.
The Norwegian Poet and Playwright Henrik Ibsen wrote Peer Gynt in 1867, but it was not until 1876 that an abridged version, with incidental music by Edvard Grieg, was produced at the Christiania Theatre. Peer Gynt, fashioned from Norwegian folkfore, is a Poetic Fantasy based on a character of the same name, who appears in the role of a great hunter, and slayer of Trolls in Absjornsen's "Norwegian Fairy Tales".
Edvard Grieg, intensely nationalistic and saturated with Norwegian folk-music, had already made his mark in the musical world with his Piano Concerto in A minor, and his delightful songs and small scale works, for which he had a particular genius. The two orchestral suites made from the Peer Gynt music soon took their place amongst the popular in the world. (Although not everyone knows the fantastic adventures of Peer Gynt, every music lover knows the music written for him.)
The first concert music to be heard by Sir Thomas Beecham was that of Edvard Grieg. He became devoted to this composer's music making his recordings unequalled. This album contains perhaps the most glorious performances of Peer Gynt music ever recorded.
"I like the amplitude and keen, spicy attack of the R.P.O. sound even more on the H.M.V. record." - Gramophone, 1959
"When we try to show our grandchildren why Beecham was for us so godlike a musician...we shall certainly pull this record from the rack." - Gramophone, 1959
Beecham is a favorite conductor of mine as I find his performances to usually be highly entertaining. Critics weren't too fond of Beecham as he frequently stretched the musical envelop to give the audience an enjoyable time. Because of that the concert going public loved him. The recordings on this LP were made at Abbey Road, Studio 1 in November 1956 and April 1957. For early stereo recordings, these are quite good and are close to EMI's later recording gems with the exception of the choral parts which are too closely mic'ed and a bit harsh sounding. Fortunately, the soprano parts sung by Ilse Hollweg are wonderful. Regardless of the poor choral recording, this LP is the one single LP of Peer Gynt that all other single LPs are judged against. Beecham was totally attuned to this music—it is playful, dynamic, thoughtful. Unfortunately, only ten of the 32 sections from the entire work are on this LP. This is too bad because that means that not all of the your favorite sections from Peer Gynt are here. Mint copies of EMI ASD 258 are hard to find and expensive if you do. Buying this LP is an easier and cheaper way to obtain this great performance. Positivefeedback Review
• Hi-Q Records Supercuts 180g Vinyl
• Cut from the Original Analogue EMI Master Tapes at Abbey Road Studios!
• Superior Audiphile Pressing
• Features Original Album Artwork
Ilse Hollweg, soprano
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Beecham Choral Society
Sir Thomas Beecham, conductor
Edvard Grieg (1843-1907)
Music for Peer Gynt
1. Wedding March
2. Ingrid's lament
3. In the Hall of the Mountain King
5. Ase's Death
6. 1st Arabian Dance
7. Solveig's Song
8. Anitra's Dance
9. Return of Peer Gynt (Storm Scene)