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Brian Wigman
Classical Net, June 2013

…any fan of the conductor will…want this; the Cologne forces play very well…it certainly was worth hearing. This applies to the whole of this fine sounding and entirely worthwhile two disc set. © 2013 Classical Net Read complete review



Bruce Surtees
The WholeNote, May 2013

…this version from Cologne is absolutely gorgeous, beautifully nuanced and abetted by the virtuoso horn soloist, Hermann Baumann.

Barbirolli’s reading of the Sibelius is exceptional even by his own high standards. From the confidently measured opening to the closing measures this is a mighty performance from one of the very best orchestras around. In the coda of the Finale Barbirolli unexpectedly broadens the tempo as if to hold back the inevitable. The effect is stunning, a real lump-in-the-throat experience. The recording of all three works is state of the art, crystal clear and dynamic with wide open tuttis. © 2013 The WholeNote Read complete review




Gary Lemco
Audiophile Audition, March 2013

…the Cologne Radio-Symphony[’s]…[performance] of the Schubert 1816 “Tragic” Symphony…emanates a taut sense of drama. Barbirolli assumes a hard driven line for the opening movement, whose modulations from C Minor to A-flat Major evoke an unrelenting tension from the Cologne players.

Benjamin Britten’s 1942 Serenade for Tenor, Horn, and Strings owes its existence to the legendary French horn virtuoso Dennis Brain…Tenor Gerald English…and horn player Hermann Baumann…join Barbirolli and the WDR strings for the processional, beginning with Cotton’s Pastoral…Tennyson’s “Blow, bugle, blow” provides the material for the Nocturne, here in stunning colors and clear diction.

Barbirolli remained a devoted Sibelius interpreter, having made four inscriptions of the 1902 D Major Symphony…Barbirolli urges the breathless Vivacissimo third movement as a kind of toccata for strings, winds, brass, and tympani. Its Trio offers ontological consolation in the form of an oboe-led pastoral. The WDR strings, tympani and trumpets establish a curtain of sound that quite sweeps us into the glories of D Major. The trombones carpet the pathway to ecstasy with their own silver sheen. Barbirolli treats the entire score with a veneration and majesty infused by the special element of an acolyte’s conviction. © 2013 Audiophile Audition Read complete review





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