Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Harty conducts Berlioz

Sir Hamilton Harty conducts Berlioz
*Overture to Beatrice and Benedict; Romeo et Juiliette (excerpts): *Romeo seul - Tristesse - Concert et bal - Grand fete chez Capulet, Queen Mab Scherzo; Roman Carnival Overture; Les Troyens (excerpts): Royal Hunt and Storm, *March; ^Overture to Le Corsaire; Funeral March from Hamlet; Damnation of Faust (excerpts): Dance of the Sylphys, Rackoczy March
Halle Orchestra; *London Philharmonic Orchestra; ^London Symphony Orchestra/Sir Hamilton Harty
Pearl GEMM CD 9485 | Mono AAD

(IMPORTANT! Some of my Pearl CD's are beginning to succumb to CD rot and other afflictions that unfortunately demonstrate how "permanent" CD's really are. This is one such CD. This CD plays fine until the closing Hungarian March which is plagued with the "skips" and "bumps" of CD rot. The performance is still listenable, but just has more background noise, though it may not be immediately noticeable to most listeners. So important is this CD, however, that I have decided to post it warts and all. I hope you enjoy it and I apologize for any sonic inconveniences.)

Some people may recognize the name of Sir Hamilton Harty as the composer of the very wonderful Irish Symphony. A beautiful work; Harty was a very talented composer. Even more may recognize him as the arranger for modern symphony orchestra of Handel's Water Music and Music for the Royal Fireworks. These were once popular concert and recording staples, but it seems the "Authentick" performance police have banned these from the concert hall. But many forget now that he was also a very well regarded conductor in his day. The recordings that have been reissued resound with the musicality of a man who knew how to get warm, full playing from his orchestra, with a superb sense of pacing, and great flair. He was also a formidable Berliozian and did much to popularize the composer's works in Britain. Here on this Pearl CD we have ample proof of his credentials as one of the last century's great conductors.

As I said in an earlier post, Berlioz offers so many opportunities for the conductor and orchestra to let it rip, but few take him up on them. Harty is one of the few that does. He knows how to thrill the listener, but he doesn't sacrifice tonal beauty to do this. The old Halle, LSO, and LPO play with great beauty, warmth, and fire. The Halle especially sounds very fine. Not one whit inferior to the London orchestras.

Musical history has an odd way of forgetting the accomplishments of the great. Pearl's CD proves that Harty deserves to be more than a mere footnote in this history.


  1. http://www.mediafire.com/?yjmmjm1ghw2

  2. You're going so fast! Don't burn yourself out --- or at least don't burn me out! Thanks for the warning about Pearl --- I must check the ones I have and make sure they aren't disintegrating. I will certainly download this, but not before I've actually had a chance to listen to the Mitropoulos, Gerald Moore and so on and so on ...

    Thanks two million times!

  3. @maready

    Thank you for your comments. Yes, please do check those Pearl CD's. A few, like a CD of Percy Grainger's recordings, is completely unplayable now. Very sad.

  4. Hello -

    For those interested in more Harty recordings, please see the following files - these are transfers I did a few days ago celebrating Harty's birthday (Dec 4)
    Schubert Symphony No 9 “the Great C Major”
    Harty with the Halle Orchestra
    Recorded January 14, 1928

    Beethoven Symphony No 4
    Harty with the Halle Orchestra
    American Columbia Set M-47
    Recorded November 26 and 27, 1926

    Mendelssohn Symphony No. 4 “The Italian”
    Harty with the Halle Orchestra
    American Columbia Set M-167
    Recorded April 10, 1931

    Shorter works (detailed discographical data included in the files)
    1. Handel-arr Harty - Water Music Suite (first recording) w/Halle
    2. Harty - Fantasy Scenes from an Eastern Romance w/ "The Court
    Symphony Orchestra"
    3. Berlioz - Roman Carnival Overture w/Halle

    1. Brahms - Hungarian Dances 5 & 6 w/ Halle
    2. Liszt - Hungarian Rhapsody No. 12 w/ Halle
    3. Smetana - Bartered Bride Overture w/ LPO
    4. Berlioz - King Lear Overture w/ LSO
    5. Berlioz - Trojan March w/ LSO


    Enjoy! - Bill Anderson

  5. @Bill

    Thank you so much! I can't wait to hear them.

  6. I enjoy your page and your taste in music.
    By the way, of the sixteen PEARL CDS I own two have come down with the dreaded bronse rot. Their numbers are GEMM CD 9448 and GEMM CD 9486. They include selections from Wagner's RING CYCLE conducted by Leopold Stokowski and The Philadelphia Orchestra. Dates of manufacture are 1990 and 1991 respectively. Keep up the good work!

  7. thanks a lot for sharing this :)