Tchaikovsky Swan Lake (Suite from the Ballet)
Efrem Kurtz, conductor
Yehudi Menuhin, solo violin
Price range: $29-201, mean $73 on popsike
a doubt, the Tchaikovsky ballet recordings of Efrem Kurtz and the
Philharmonia are hands down my favorite of both the analog and digital
eras. This one is no exception. Not surprising, considering that Kurtz was the conductor of the
Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo from 1932 to 1942. I was interested to learn that he became an American
citizen in 1944 and subsequently was named the music director
of both the Kansas City Philharmonic (1943-48) and the Houston Symphony
(1948-54). From 1955-57, he was the music director of the Royal
Liverpool Philharmonic. He passed away as recently as 1995 at the ripe
old age of 95.
These performances are full of vitality and charm and are blessed with excellent, warm, "tubey" sound. That is another reason I love these Kurtz records. They've got great sonics. Dynamic range is wide, and you can appreciate the acoustics of the recording venue. In addition, the violin solos are performed beautifully by none other than Yehudi Menuhin. These Kurtz ballet recordings don't generally sell for a lot of money on Ebay. Pick them up while you can! My copy of this record is a semi-circle second pressing, and I see no sonic deficiencies with it.