22 MARCH 1946, Page 12


THE recent orchestral recordings are not a very distinguished lot. The best of them is the Overture of Mozart's Die Entfiihrung aus dem Serail, played by the London Philharmonic Orchestra under Sir Thomas Beecham (H.M.V. DB625r), and lovers of Delius will be glad to have " The Walk to the Paradise Garden," played by the Halle Orchestra under John Barbirolli (H.M.V. C3484) ; but the two selections from Tchaikovsky's delightful opera Eugen Onegin, the Waltz from Act 2 and the Polonaise from Act 3, do not do justice to the fine music of that opera, although they are lively pieces and are well played by the London Philharmonic Orchestra under Sir Thomas Beecham (DB6266). On the other hand, the vocal recordings are above the average. I put first, because of their extra- ordinary expressiveness and delightful though not perfect rendering, the two wonderful Handel songs, " Oh Sleep, why dost thou leave me," from Semele, and " Come, Beloved," from Atalanta, sung by Ada Alsop with the Boyd Neal String Orchestra (Decca Kri64). Miss Ada Alsop's name is unknown to me, but I congratulate her on her good taste and musicality. She also has a good voice, so the root of the matter is in her as it is not in so many of our English singers. She has chosen to sing two very difficult songs, and technically her performance is not without blemishes, but artistically she is greatly to be praised. Much less interesting as music but more expertly sung by M. Pierre Bernac are the two Gounod songs, Serenade, Quand to chanter and Au Rossignol, with Francis Poulenc at the pianoforte (H.M.V DB625o). I also recommend " Hark the Echoing Air," Purcell, and " 0 How Pleasing to the Senses," from The Seasons of Haydn, sung by Isobel Baillie, with the Halle Orchestra under Leslie Heward (Col. DXi214). Finally, there is the recording by that delightful artist Elizabeth Schumann of Schubert's Die Forelle and Vollmond strahlt sus Bergeshohen (H.M.V. DA1852). The Decca Company announces that it is recording some Beethoven and Berlioz by the Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra. This is good news because this orchestra sets a very high standard that is