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Ronald E. Grames
Fanfare, January 2012

this is a fascinating reading of this score…Cologne players…are much more disciplined, accurate, and in tune with the conductor. © 2012 Fanfare Read complete review on Fanfare

Stephen D Chakwin Jr
American Record Guide, November 2011

Mitropoulos offers La Mer from the other of his last Cologne concerts as a filler. It’s a gorgeous performance with a few bumps…the sheer lift and life of the playing, the ecstasy of Debussy’s music caught so well. I don’t think I’ve heard the final chorus and climax…so well done on a recording…

To read the complete review, please visit American Record Guide online.

John Quinn
MusicWeb International, October 2011

…Mitropoulos’s…performance…carries all the hallmarks of his conducting, not least the intensity and energy that invariably marked his music making. …no one buying this set is going to feel seriously short changed by the quality of the playing, I think one can forgive fluffs and the inevitable technical shortcomings of a radio recording made over fifty years ago, when confronted by an interpretation of such intensity and one in which the conductor so evidently believes in the score.

So this account of the finale of the Third isn’t as spacious as I’d like. One might call the reading urgent—or, perhaps apply Tony Duggan’s description, elsewhere, of this conductor’s ‘edgy’ style.

This…reading of Mahler’s Third…has the sense of a great conductor at work and nothing about this reading is routine.

The recorded sound can be a bit boxy at times and the balances aren’t always ideal—the percussion is too prominent on several occasions. However, these are fifty-year-old recordings so one must make allowances. They’ve been transferred pretty well and there’s nothing to mar ones appreciation of the performances.

This is an important set and I’m thrilled in particular that ICA have brought about the first official release of Mitropoulos’s mighty vision of Mahler’s Third. This is an essential appendix to the Music & Arts box of New York performances and all admirers of this great conductor should snap it up as a matter of urgency.

Gramophone, September 2011

BRAHMS, J.: Symphony No. 1 / ELGAR, E.: Enigma Variations (BBC Symphony, Boult) (1971, 1976) ICAC5019
MAHLER, G.: Symphony No. 3 / DEBUSSY, C.: La mer (West, Cologne Radio Chorus and Symphony Orchestra, Mitropoulos) (1960) ICAC5021
BRAHMS, J.: Symphony No. 3 / TCHAIKOVSKY, P.I.: Symphony No. 6, “Pathetique” (Novaya Rossiya State Symphony, Bashmet) ICAC5023

ICA Classics continues to honour some of the great masters of the baton with impressive and well-transferred releases, most of them first-time releases. A smooth-sounding edition of Mahler’s Third with the Cologne Radio Symphony under Dimitri Mitropoulos just about pips rival transfers to the post (radio mastertapes have been used) and the coupling is a craggy, storm-tossed Cologne account of Debussy’s La mer which, like the Mahler, is from the tail-end of the conductor’s life (October 1960). This is pure “Turner-in-sound”, especially the closing “Dialogue of the Wind and the Sea”, which, to my mind at least, is as close to a Furtwängler La mer as we’re ever likely to get—unless one actually turns up! Brahms’s First with the BBC Symphony under Adrian Boult in 1976 is rather more temperate: straight-backed, admirably clear, rhythmically supple and with its big first-movement exposition repeat intact. A good recording, too, just as it is for a 1971 BBC SO Elgar Enigma Variations, where cleanly separated violin desks help balance the sound-picture. The well-known organist in the Elgar is George Thalben-Ball and, although I couldn’t in all honesty pretend that either performance is Boult’s most imposing on disc, both are well worth acquiring.

But the real surprise in this latest ICA Classics batch comes from viola player (as he’s principally known) Yuri Bashmet and the Novaya Rossiya State Symphony Orchestra—live recordings of Tchaikovsky’s Pathétique Symphony (2004) and Brahms’s Third (2005). Here everything holds the attention, whether in the sensitive phrase-shaping and careful balancing of the Brahms, or the searing intensity of Tchaikovsky’s Sixth (a hairraisingly fast march-scherzo followed by a gentle but very slow opening to the finale). The Allegro con grazia second movement is both swift and uncommonly delicate, and everywhere you sense an alert rostrum presence approaching the music afresh. Of the many instrumentaliststurned-conductors who have arrived on the scene in recent years, I’d say that Bashmet has to be among the most original. I look forward to hearing more rostrum work from him, much more.

Robert R. Reilly
Catholic News Agency, July 2011

…ICA Classics label has released an historical performance of Mahler’s Third Symphony, conducted by Dmitri Mitropoulos in October 1960, with the Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra. Mitropoulos was a legendary Mahler conductor, and it is good to have this memento, especially since it is in very fine mono sound. Surprisingly, the performance is rather straightforward and would not, by itself, go to the top of my list for performances of the Third. But for Mitropoulos fans, this may be a must. It was after the long first movement in this performance that Mitropoulos suffered a major heart attack. He insisted on continuing the performance, which was his last. He was dead several days later.

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