Grieg: Music for Peer Gynt
Sir Thomas Beecham, conductor
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Beecham Choral Society
Ilse Holberg, soprano
Pressing: Color postage stamp
Price range: $25-279, mean $53 on popsike
Comments: This album can pack a sonic punch. This might be one of my favorite recordings of Peer Gynt. Beecham's interpretation is really fantastic. It might just give the Fjeldstad recording on Decca a run for its money. In contrast to some of the other early Beecham stereo records, this recording does not have that mono-ish sound nor is there any loss of clarity in the louder musical passages. This could potentially be explained by the fact that my copy of this album is a later pressing (my apologies for forgetting to upload the photo of the label, but my camera's battery died), but I don't know for sure, since I haven't heard the first or second pressings to be able to tell if these pressings also sound impressive. Aside from the orchestral power heard in movements like "In the Hall of the Mountain King", the most notable feature of this album is the beauty of the vocal performance. I'm referring to the voice of Ilse Holberg, who sings the female solo vocal parts. Her voice is beautiful and very well recorded by EMI on this album.
On a more technical note, I was quite surprised to see YAX stampers on this EMI ASD album. Somehow, I thought that records in this series all had 2YEA stampers, but I'm apparently wrong!