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Pierre's Tuesday Blog

Riccardo Muti - Felix Mendelssohn - New Philharmonia Orchestra ‎– Symphony No. 3

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We restart our bi-monthly Tuesday Blog shares with Vinyl’s Revenge, and an old all-Mendelssohn EMI recording featuring Riccardo Muti and the Philharmonia.

From the late 1950s to the early 1970s the Philharmonia Orchestra's chief conductor was Otto Klemperer, with whom the orchestra gave many concerts and made numerous recordings of the core orchestral repertoire.

In 1972, Klemperer announced his retirement from the directorship of the orchestra (briefly known as the New Philharmonia). The orchestra recognised that a strong chief conductor was needed to restore its standards and finances, but there was no immediately obvious candidate. The EMI executive Walter Legge no longer had any stake in the orchestra, though he watched its progress benevolently, and having spotted the potential of Riccardo Muti he recommended him to the New Philharmonia's general manager, Terence McDonald. Other potential candidates were considered, but Muti was appointed as the orchestra's chief conductor from 1973.

Muti, although he disclaimed such a description, was a firm disciplinarian, and under his conductorship the orchestra restored its standards. Critics at the time commented on the orchestra's "superb performance", "immense virtuosity", its "astoundingly delicate" string playing and "woodwind phrasing even more magical than their Berlin colleagues".
With Muti the orchestra recorded opera (Aida, 1974; Un ballo in maschera, 1975; Nabucco, 1977; I puritani, 1979; Cavalleria rusticana, 1979; La traviata, 1980; Orfeo ed Euridice, 1981; and Don Pasquale, 1982); a wide range of the symphonic repertoire including Schumann and Tchaikovsky cycles; concertos with soloists including Sviatoslav Richter, Andrei Gavrilov, Anne-Sophie Mutter and Gidon Kremer; and choral music by Cherubini and Vivaldi.

During Muti's tenure, the orchestra recovered its original title, after prolonged and complex negotiations From September 1977 the "New" was dropped, and the orchestra has been the Philharmonia since then.

One of our earliest shares in the Vinyl’s Revenge series was taken from the Muti/Philharmonia Tchaikovsky cycle, and today’s share is part of a partial Mendelssohn set (reissued and featured as a two-disk set per our YouTube link below). The specific LP in my collection includes the Scottish Synmphony and the Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage overture.

Fine performances all around.

Happy Listening!

Symphony No. 3 In A Minor, Op.56 "Scotch"
Overture, "Calm Sea And Prosperous Voyage" Op. 27
New Philharmonia Orchestra
Riccardo Muti, conducting

Label: Angel Records ‎– S-37168
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album, Quadraphonic
Released: 1976

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