Sony Classical Releases The Boston Symphony Chamber Players
Sony Classical Releases
The Boston Symphony Chamber Players
Complete RCA Victor Recordings for the first time in a 10-CD Box
Release Date: August 26, 2022
Reviewer Rate: $31.26
It was inevitable that the Boston Symphony – hailed as “The Aristocrat of Orchestras” in the early ‘60s by RCA Victor, its long-time record company – would spin off an ensemble from its elite roster of principals. The Boston Symphony Chamber Players were duly launched in 1964 during the Austrian conductor Erich Leinsdorf’s music directorship. Starting that October, RCA Victor recorded them regularly in Symphony Hall until the orchestra changed labels at the end of decade. By then, ten LPs of chamber music had been issued in four critically acclaimed releases. Sony Classical is now pleased to present all these recordings for the first time on CD.
The BSO’s ensemble of first-chair players is led here by its patrician concertmaster Joseph Silverstein, one of the finest American violinists of his generation as well as a highly regarded conductor and teacher. It also features such illustrious BSO principals as oboist Ralph Gomberg, flautist Doriot Anthony Dwyer, violist Burton Fine and cellist Jules Eskin, as well as two distinguished guest artists: Claude Frank and Richard Goode sharing honors in the works with piano. RCA Victor recorded these outstanding musicians in a wide spectrum of repertoire, and each LP release represented a judicious balance of classical and modern works, both European and American.
In recommending the original releases, High Fidelity, the leading US classical record magazine of the day, lavished special praise on performances including Mozart’s Flute Quartet (“What a pleasure it is to hear [Doriot Anthony Dwyer’s] shifts of color … her bright staccato notes displayed like pearls on a string”), Beethoven’s Serenade Op. 25 (“Wickedly pointed in its moments of repartee, and as fast, facile, and flexible as need be when Beethoven’s little game of table tennis hits its peaks”), Schubert’s B-flat Piano Trio (“The Boston performance … is a beautiful one”), Brahms’s C minor Piano Quartet (“Long-breathed sweep … plateaus of broad grandeur … Their sense of forward propulsion enables them to drive on where others seem merely to jog”) and the Webern Concerto (“Not only do these musicians play the notes accurately and clearly, but they also succeed in conveying the melodic sense of Webern’s febrile intensity with great musicality. A triumph for all concerned”).
There are also further works by Mozart, Schubert and Brahms, as well as Hindemith, Poulenc, Milhaud, Martinů and Villa-Lobos. American music is generously represented by composers such as Aaron Copland, Elliott Carter, Walter Piston and Irving Fine. Also reissued from the original release, on a bonus disc with music examples from the performances in this collection, is Peter Ustinov in a conversation about chamber music with Erich Leinsdorf and Joseph Silverstein as well as Ustinov’s own “urbane and witty survey” of the genre. The set also contains previously unreleased recordings of the Spohr Nonet and Samuel Barber’s Summer Music for wind quintet.
As High Fidelity wrote: “The pleasures set forth here by the Boston Symphony’s formidably accomplished first-chair players are not come by every day, and almost never in a collection of such range and variety … This collection clearly provides a satisfying and enlarging musical experience for anyone interested in ensemble music.”
Mozart: Flute Quartet in D Major, K. 285
Mozart: Quartet in F Major, K.370: Allegro - Adagio - Rondo. Allegro
Brahms: Quartet in C Minor, Op. 60
Beethoven: Serenade in D Major, Op. 25
Fine: Fantasia for String Trio
Copland: Vitebsk (Study on a Jewish Theme)
Carter: Woodwind Quintet
Piston: Divertimento for Nine Instruments
Mozart: Piano Quartet in G Minor, K. 478
Mozart: Quintet In E-Flat Major for Piano and Winds, K. 452
Brahms: Trio in E-Flat Major for Horn, Violin and Piano, Op. 40
Schubert: String Trio No. 1 in D Major, D. 471
Poulenc: Trio for Oboe, Bassoon and Piano
Haieff: Three Bagatelles for Oboe and Bassoon
Villa-Lobos: Bachianas Brasilieiras No. 6: Aria - Fantasia
Colgrass: Variations for Four Drums and Viola
Schubert: Piano Quintet in A Major D.667, Op. 114 "The Trout"
Brahms: Piano Trio in B Major, Op. 8
Poulenc: Sextet for Piano, Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon and Horn
Webern: Concerto for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Horn, Trumpet, Trombone, Violin, Viola and Piano, Op. 24
Martinu: Nonet for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Horn, Bassoon, Violin, Viola, Cello and Double-Bass
Dahl: Duettino Concertante (1966)
Schubert: Piano Trio in B-Flat Major D.898, Op. 99
Hindemith: Kleine Kammermusik, Op. 24, No. 2
Spohr: Nonet in F Major, Op. 31
Coker: Concertino for Bassoon and String Trio
Barber: Summer Music for Wind Quintet
Chamber Music Discussion with Peter Ustinov, Erich Leinsdorf, and Joseph Silverstein, with musical excerpts
A Survey of Chamber Music with Musical Illustrations