Stravinsky: Petrouchka, Circus Polka
Los Angeles Philharmonic, Zubin Mehta, cond.
London CS 6554 (LP/tape).
This is all the proof one could want that London’s big, fat sound is more the result of their recording philosophy than of the halls they record in. One of the first London recordings ever made in the US, this has the now-familiar London sound all down the line: The big, fat low end, the richness, the superb balance, and the razor-sharp detail without zizz or zip. As usual, the result is not terribly real, but it certainly is exciting as well as being musically satisfying.
This release has something more than sonics, too. The performances are excellent, particularly in the Circus Polka romp. Petrouchka comes through with less of the ballet flavor than, say, the old Ansermet stereo performance, but we found it equally exciting and satisfying in its own way.
Our review tape had a somewhat dull high end and, as usual, more hiss than the disc, but the hiss was low enough to ignore. Generally, though, the disc sound was better.
Highly recommended, in either medium.—Margaret Graham