C1764. CARL SCHURICHT Cond. Montreux Festival Chorus & Paris Conservatoire Orch.: Egmont Overture; w.Madeleine Dubius, Hélène Bouvier, Ernst Haefliger & Heinz Rehfuss: Choral Symphony #9 in d (Beethoven). (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL T-907. Transfers by Yves St Laurent.
“In interpretive profile this performance most resembles the 1954 one under Schuricht but with significantly better orchestral playing and solo vocal quartet. The ensemble is, naturally enough for a live performance, not quite as tight as in the 1958 studio recording, and instrumental eccentricities include a solo bassoonist and solo hornist with the most quavering vibratos I’ve ever heard from such players. Schuricht delivers an interpretively intriguing, swift-paced, taut reading, with marked touches of rubato that prevent monotony. Of the vocal soloists, all but soprano Madeleine Dubius (whose intonation is not ideal and who tends to yelp on her high notes) are quite good; Rehfuss delivers a cultivated opening peroration, while Haefliger is athletic in his high tenor solo. The chorus is adequate but not idiomatic, though it’s hard to tell - which brings me to the major drawback of this release. The sound quality is harsh and dry, with a good deal of shattering and distortion in loud passages and higher frequencies.
The Egmont Overture likewise receives a searing, incisive performance to match any competitors interpretively, but alas is subject to the same sonic limitations. Here, Schuricht has had three other live versions previously released on CD. Unfortunately, all three are long out of print, leaving this one as the only readily available alternative. (I own the 1956 performance; it is in significantly better though somewhat dull sound, but interpretively inferior to this version.) As always, St. Laurent Studio provides only a tray card with basic information and photos but no booklet.”
- James A. Altena, FANFARE
“Carl Schuricht was among the most distinguished German conductors of the inter- and post-War years. He studied composition with Engelbert Humperdinck at the Hochschule für Musik in Berlin, and then with Max Reger in Leipzig. He became music director in Wiesbaden in 1911 and elected to stay there until 1944. From this base he made frequent guest conducting appearances elsewhere and appeared at many summer music festivals. He was known for his interest in French music and other modern compositions, and frequently played music of Debussy, Ravel, Schönberg, and Stravinsky.
He toured abroad often, and made his first U.S. appearance in 1927. For many years he conducted annual summer concert series in Scheveningen, Holland, a resort town next to the capital city, The Hague. In recognition of this, the Dutch government gave him the Order or Orange-Nassau in 1938.
In 1942 he was appointed conductor of the Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra. He often opposed the Nazi government's policies, and in 1944 fled to Switzerland, where he resided thereafter. As many German conductors who had favored modern music in the inter-War years did, he settled firmly to the traditional symphonic repertory in the post-War years and thereafter became strongly associated with performances in the Romantic tradition, with rhythmic freedom and a smooth, beautiful and expressive sound.
He was chosen to conduct the re-opening, after the War, of the Salzburg Festival in Austria in 1946, and continued his frequent guest conducting appearances and associations with summer festivals, including the Ravinia Festival in Chicago and the Tanglewood Festival with the Boston Symphony Orchestra in Massachusetts. He often conducted the London Philharmonic and the BBC Symphony Orchestra. He was chosen to share conducting duties with André Cluytens when the Vienna Philharmonic made its first American tour in 1956. In later years he often took the podium with that orchestra and the Berlin Philharmonic and frequently conducted the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra.”
- Joseph Stevenson, allmusic.com