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Chris Mullins
Opera Today, March 2012

André Previn’s leadership of the London Symphony Orchestra in the early 1970s resulted in some highly regarded recordings, including one of the classic accounts of Rachmaninov’s Second SymphonyThe Bells, a work for orchestra, soloists and chorus based on an Edgar Allen Poe poem.

The sound is sharp and clear…and Previn leads a dynamic, detailed reading. His fine soloists, obviously comfortable with the English libretto, are Sheila Armstrong, Robert Tear and John Shirley-Quirk. Think of this as a fine opportunity to enjoy a relative rarity…

ICA offers two other pieces from separate BBC filmed concerts, a colorful jaunt through Prokofiev’s Lieutenat Kijé suite and a rip-roaring race through Bernstein’s Candide overture. Previn projects confidence and elegance from the podium… © 2012 Opera Today Read complete review

Richard A. Kaplan
Fanfare, March 2012

Previn adopts standard tempos and conducts with efficient gestures; his singers are attractive and effective. The late Robert Tear…was always an intelligent and musical performer, and John Shirley-Quirk’s deep baritone is ideal for this music. The chorus is outstanding; the performance is sung in English…

…Previn is admirably clear and free of mannerism on the podium. The Bernstein serves as an encore. © 2012 Fanfare Read complete review on Fanfare

Geoffrey Norris
Gramophone, January 2012

The DVD of Previn’s 1973 performance is an evocative piece of nostalgia, since I was there on that occasion, too. But it is much more than that. …it has that palpable tingle of unfamiliar music being unveiled and given new, vibrant life. It is unlikely that Robert Tear, Sheila Armstrong or John Shirley-Quirk had been involved in The Bells many times before then. Their singing is of searing emotional intensity. The chorus sing with a passion. The LSO are on top form. Brian Large’s visual direction is commendably unfussy…the DVD is worth it for The Bells alone. © 2012 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone, October 2011

Rachmaninoff’s The Bells…gets the combined excellence of vocal quality that it receives here. …it is clearly a Rachmaninoff work, with its lush orchestration and recurrent Dies Irae motif, and Previn leads it with considerable gusto. Prokofiev’s much less weighty Lieutenant Kijé Suite, recorded in 1977, gets an appropriately light treatment and is very nicely played, while Bernstein’s Candide Overture…is its usual bright and brassy self in a performance from 1971.

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