Tuesday, August 6, 2013

EMI ASD 263 A Pair of Modern Russian Symphonies


Prokofiev: "Classical" Symphony; Shostakovitch: Symphony No. 1 in F major

Efrem Kurtz, conductor
Phiharmonia Orchestra

Pressing: UK, ED1

Condition: NM

2YEA 75-9
2YEA 76-3

Performance:  9/10

Sound:  8/10

Comments:  A beautiful recording of these two Firsts from Prokofiev and Shostakovich.  Efrem Kurtz -- one of the 4 K's -- made some really outstanding recordings for EMI, and this is one of the earliest in stereo.  The Prokofiev is light and playful, much different in character than his later symphonies.  The Shostakovich 1st, though not my favorite of his symphonies, has some memorable moments, particularly the passages for solo violin which are beautifully played and vividly recorded.  Overall, there is warm, tube sound to this record.  Both sides of this LP are included in the Efrem Kurtz EMI Artist Profile 2-CD set, which, if you don't already have, you really ought to find a copy. 

Update 8/24/15:
Listening to this album for the first time on my all-tube system has increased my appreciation of this recording and motivated me to upgrade the sound rating from a 7 to an 8.  Compared to the Martinon RCA/Decca (LSC-2322), this recording has greater warmth, more extended bass, and a more distant presentation.  Transparency is better on the Martinon, as are dynamics (seem just a little bit constricted here), but this album is nevertheless very enjoyable. 


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  2. CFP 40004 is the poor collector's alternative for this. I like my later London with Abbado. I wonder if this performance compares? The Abbado with Prokofiev Sym. 3 also has very nice sonics.