Symphony No.6 in B minor, Op.54
Symphony No.12 in D minor, Op.112 (The Year 1917)
Tahiti Trot (Tea for Two) [arrangement of Tea for Two by Vincent Youmans]
Johann Strauss II
Johann Strauss II, arr. Shostakovich
Excursion Train Polka
BBC Symphony Orchestra
Philharmonia Orchestra [Symphony No.12]
Symphony 12 recorded on 4 September 1962 in Usher Hall, Edinburgh; Symphony 6 recorded on 10 December 1980 in Royal Festival Hall, London; remainder recorded 14 August 1981 in Royal Albert Hall, London
Reviewed by: Colin Clarke
Reviewed: October 2008
CD No: BBC LEGENDS
Duration: 73 minutes
The weighty first movement of the Sixth Symphony, marked Largo finds the conductor on surer ground, the BBC Symphony Orchestra very assured). Rozhdestvensky keeps the musical argument moving while paying full attention to the import of the argument. Even the flute and bassoon duet (around 6’45”), normally a place of respite, continues the tension. The first movement’s dying moments are expertly managed; a shame the same cannot quite be said of the opening bars of the finale (just that little bit too tentative and slack of ensemble). Yet the sense of fun is there for all to hear, with Rozhdestvensky and his forces revelling in the overt silliness of the final few minutes.
The lighter items follow naturally on after the antics of the end of the Sixth. They are taken from a Prom. If one wasn’t told that, one could probably guess, as the acoustic opens out into the cavern that is the Albert Hall. Still, it is difficult not to smile in the Nichevo Polka, and more difficult still in the Excursion Train Polka. The arrangement of Vincent Youmans’s ‘Tea for Two’ as Tahiti Trot is pure delight, outrageous and surprisingly tender by turns. There is plenty of Prommers’ laughter, although whether it was in response to the music or shenanigans on behalf of the conductor cannot be known. The audience’s final howl of delight is, for once, justified.