I know, I know… It is light, it is pop, it is not serious, it is glitzy … but not when Hermann Scherchen does it! As many times I heard it I always was shocked how a magnificents of an interpretation could convert a peace into a totally new music. (A first time observation? :-) Anyhow, It is really amassing in what Scherchen converted the Liszt’s works.
Among a dozen of symphonic poems that List composed Scherchen performed only #3, #6 and #11. Those “Les Preludes”, “Mazeppa” and “Battle of the Huns” are such a trip and Scherchen fills them with absolutely everything that cold be felled into a large and complex pieces: from mockery and self-deprecated pomposity to an atypical in the Liszt’s poems…. symphonic seriousness. The orchestra plays phenomenally, the reading is extraordinary … the all-together works breathtaking: the performance is good as it theoretically could be measured at the most demanding scale. I can easily play it 3-4 times and I still keep be shocked wondering how Scherchen was able to do it! Haitink, Fiedler, Karajan, Beecham, Masur, Mehta and others stay light-miles away form what Scherchen did with those Liszt’s symphonic poems!
Scherchen recorded them in 1957-59, with Vienna State Opera, in studio. There are Westminster records as well as Electrola-Heliodor pressings and some subscriber’s labels. There were some releases of DG and Westminster on CD. The transfers were OK but nothing spaceal. The funny part that there was a budget company somewhere in 90s - MCA Double Decker and they did their cheap “pressing”. When I bought it I read about thier “digitally remastered sound” and their Sony PCM professors and I thought that it would be another digital garbage. But I turned out to be wrong that this MCAD2-9832 turn out to be quite amassing…
Romy the Cat
"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche