The September Records
Cesar Franck died in 1890 and the world has therefore had more than half a century to make up its mind about his major cornpositions, for it must be admitted that a good deal of his less important music has passed already into oblivion. His solitary Symphony in D minor was finished in 1888 and we are presented this month with what the H.M.V. calls a " re-recording "; and a magnificent set of records they prove to be. (DB3226-30). Stokowski and his famous Philadelphians who first popularised the recorded version of this Symphony in England in 1928 have excelled themselves. The work is concise, serious and appealing; whether Franck was in fact a Symphonist and whether his themes and harmonies suit all tastes are matters that must be left here to the individual to decide.
The Busch String Quartets present Beethoven's Quartet in C sharp minor; Op. 131. (DB2810-14.) In these latter works of Beethoven " power has given place to intimacy and close-packed thought leaves no place for expansive oratory." If this music is austere, it is also music of the greatest quality and it would indeed be a bad day for music when Chamber Music of this kind ceases to attract its devotees.
Wanda Landowska perseveres with her harpsichord recordings and it is to be hoped that an increasing number of musicians will appreciate the beauty of her renderings: the rich and velvety touch on her instrument. On DB5005 she plays the sixth and last of the French suites of Bach; charming little dance movements that reveal Bach in his lighter vein.
Ballet music, including Mozart's German dances, vocal records and solos by Heifetz and Kreisler make up the complement of these lists; while popular taste is catered for by the records of Paul Robeson from his new film "Big Fella "; the latest dances; and some really charming light orchestral work, notably B8611, Destiny Waltz and Voices of Spring.
C. G. M.