Sir Thomas Beecham, Vol. 2
Format: COMPACT DISC
BBC Symphony Orchestra; Beecham, Thomas; Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Rob Cowan wrote in Gramophone about the first volume featuring Sir Thomas Beecham: ‘numerous live Beecham releases have appeared over the last few years, some more successful than others (in both recording and performance terms), but this collection is certainly one of the best.’ This second volume continues with rare performances which as far as is known have never been made available before covering a period from 1952 to 1959. French music was a favorite of Beecham and this set is made up of music by Chabrier, Franck, Gretry, Lalo, Mehul and Saint-Saens, all of which he recorded in the studio but when Beecham was caught ‘live,’ it often showed the mercurial side of his character and no performance was ever the same. As David Patmore said in an essay: ‘What Beecham sought at all times was freshness and his unpredictability was one way of achieving this.’ The Franck is played for all its worth while the Mehul, rather than being performed as a period performance, is treated as a romantic composer in a big-boned approach. The Lalo Symphony with the RPO has a greater intensity than the French studio recording which came a few months later.