THE most interesting-looking of recent records is the complete recording of Brahms' German Requiem by the Viennese Phil- harmonic Orchestra, the chorus of the Musikfreunde, Schwarzkopf and Hotter, conducted by Karajan (Columbia). But the choral tone is very uneven, and though the more dramatic interpretation of the big climaxes than we are used to in this country is interesting, I personally do not find it convincing. Columbia has issued some good new vocal recordings. Ebe Stignani sings Condotta ell'era in ceppi (Trovatore) with magnificent dramatic sweep, and Jenny Tourel's Bel raggio (Semiramide) is a record for connoisseurs. So is Dinu Lipatti's recording of Listz's Petrarch Sonnet No. 104.
The only chamber music is the Lowenguth Quartet's recording of Beethoven's op. 135 (H.M.V.), beautifully balanced and impeccable in tone. Decca has issued three concertos. Elizalde's violin concerto played by the L.S.O. and the French child prodigy, Christian Ferras, is clever music, and Paganini's (National Symphony Orchestra and Campoli) is unfailingly interesting to violinists—though in this case the performance is not quite transcendentally virtuosic enough— and to Berlioz fans. Clifford Curzon and the N.5.0. play Mozart's A major piano concerto (K.488) with a full appreciation of its half- romantic quality. Karl Rankl and the N.S.O. have recorded two symphonies for Decca—Beethoven's first and the unaccountably neglected Schubert No. 4 (" The Tragic "), worth having for its slow movement alone. Charles Munch and the L.P.O. have made a brilliant but patchy recording of Bizet's single symphony, full of brio but poor in string tone. Joan Cross and the Boyd Neel Orchestra's performance of Finzi's Dies Natalis is by now classical, and it is very proper that they should have recorded it (Decca). Amateurs of the early Vaughan-Williams will like Peter Pears sing-