Aldeburgh Festival, June 21, 1973.

Brahms’s Double Concerto (Opus 102, for Violin and Cello) opens powerfully, cellist Bengtsson introduces himself with virility and rich tone; in response, Parikian (a one-time leader of the Philharmonia Orchestra), is sweet and silvery (he can do fireworks too). The setting-up of both soloists had been cannily cued by the English Chamber Orchestra (led by Kenneth Sillito) and Norman Del Mar to herald a free-flowing first movement of energy, muscle, and shapely melody. This impassioned traversal is followed by an Andante of poetic curves and an athletic if poised Finale.

Enter George Malcolm (who had started the evening – a live relay on BBC Radio 3 – with a Piano Concerto by William Sterndale Bennett, 1816-75) for Beethoven’s Triple (Opus 56), curtain-raised in swashbuckling fashion by the ECO and Del Mar (his baton as sword) for an anything-but-moribund account of the opening movement, followed by a Largo that flowers to eloquence and a Finale that is given enough spaciousness to justify its “Polacca” tag. Come the close, the coda sparkles delightfully.

The mono sound, despite attentive remastering, is restricted and mushy, if well-balanced between soloists and orchestra – so it says much for these lively, colourful and interactive performances that they speak so handsomely and directly as well as inviting returns to listen. Applause is retained, as are the radio announcer’s signings-off.

This release, DACOCD 870, completes Danacord’s extensive series of tributes to the late Erling Blöndal Bengtsson.

https://www.danacord.dk/frmsets/blondal.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Malcolm_(musician)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manoug_Parikian

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Del_Mar