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WAGNER: Opera Overtures / BRAHMS: Academic Festival Overture (Boston Symphony / Koussevitzky) (1946-1949)

Composer(s):Brahms, JohannesWagner, Richard
Artist(s) Koussevitzky, Sergey, Conductor • Boston Symphony Orchestra
Period(s) Romantic
Genre Classical Music
Category Orchestral
Catalogue 8.111283
Label Naxos Historical
Quality   320kbps
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Serge Koussevitzky’s tenure of the Boston Symphony lasted from 1924 to 1949, a notable time during the orchestra’s history, owing to adventurous programming and wide-ranging commissions. The recordings on this release, made between 1946 and 1949, are representative of Koussevitzky’s final years with the orchestra and, although the conductor was in his early to mid-seventies, lack nothing for energy. The opening of the Overture to The Flying Dutchman inspires a typically dramatic and intense performance. Intimacy abounds in Siegfried Idyll, a lyrically shaped account with a gentle degree of forward thrust, beguiling strings and characterful woodwind solos. Brahms’s Academic Festival Overture is given a lusty outing but not without light



Review By Penguin Guide,January 2009

One associates Koussevitzky with Debussy, Sibelius, Ravel and Prokofiev rather than with Wagner. These records, made between 1946 and 1949, show him as no less masterly and authoritative an interpreter of the Master of Bayreuth. Under him the Boston Symphony was peerless and these performances are in every respect a joy.

Review By David Denton, Naxos,March 2008

As part of the ‘Great Conductors’ series, Serge Koussevitzky directs the Boston Symphony orchestra in recordings made between 1946 and 1949, the last few years of his tenure as Music Director of the orchestra. He had a colourful life in his Russian homeland, combining his role as an outstanding exponent of the double bass with a fast growing reputation as a conductor and composer, while setting up his own publishing house. He stayed in Russia for a short time after the Revolution before setting up home in Paris. It was there that he began championing composers of his time, eventually arriving in the States where he became conductor of the Boston orchestra in 1924, already having reached the age of fifty. His tenure of the post created one of the world’s most highly


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