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A companion to this,, and constituted thus,, presented as on LP and with original artwork.

As a starter I played the ‘Eroica’ Symphony, recorded March 1957 using three microphones – one centre, and one for each of the sides – for a forty-six-minute account neither as fast nor as fiery as the movement timings might suggest. Rather it is lean and lyrical with a dignified ‘Funeral March’ at its core. From December of that year an expressive Brahms Two, an on-the-move performance neither rushed nor ruthless, with intense singing lines and adrenalin rushes, poignancy (Adagio) and, the Finale, freewheeling optimism, a canny mix of discipline and spontaneity. From a couple days before Christmas the following year, a Tchaikovsky thriller, embracing a weighty Marche Slave that is beautifully detailed and balanced, tangible too – this stereo malarkey really coming into its own – the Minneapolis players providing an exciting conclusion, then going on to swing the ‘Waltz’ & ‘Polonaise’ from Eugene Onegin (not sure the composer would recognise certain aspects of orchestration in the latter) Dorati’s tempos suggesting he had last-minute Christmas shopping to do and trusting there would be no need for retakes, his musicians like-minded regarding festive pursuits, so let’s assume that the white-hot Francesca da Rimini was played straight through and everyone then went their separate ways to meet again in 1959 … if not before these productive sessions also yielded a Richard Strauss LP coupling a swashbuckling and passionate Don Juan with an atmospheric/heavy-of-heart, dramatic, bittersweet and gloriously exited Death and Transfiguration

Mercury’s adventure into three-microphone, two-channel recording had begun (at least in Minneapolis) in November 1955 with Bartók’s early (Opus 4) if revised (1943) four-movement, rhapsodic and earthy Suite No.2, which Dorati conducts with strong convictions and numerous insights, music that doesn’t always reveal its composer’s identity and is attractively unpredictable in its byways; it keeps one listening, Dorati would record the companion Suite a couple of decades later in Detroit, as he would such as The Rite of Spring, already a Mercury mono, and in November 1959 his dynamic and driven conducting of it would be captured stereophonically in an even quicker reading than before, just short of thirty minutes, orchestra unfazed, delivered with intoxicating urgency, engineer C. Robert Fine bringing the vivid action close to us; play this when the neighbours are out.

Eloquence 484 4207 (30 CDs).