From the Notes: Taken as a whole, this substantial, important collection gives us a stimulating, revelatory cross-section of Horenstein's conducting over a span of sixteen years. Although many of his commercial recordings date from the same period, we are nonetheless presented with performances both supplementary and complementary to those already available, sinificantly filling our our aural image of Horenstein's accomplishments. May it prove to be but the first of many such surveys of his art to appear. Written by Joel Lazar, Horenstein's personal assistant during the last two years of the legendary Maestro's life, the only young conductor ever to serve in this capacity
Released in 2003, Allegretto from Symphony No. 7, Theme and Variations features pianist Loussier in a trifecta alongside bassist Ben Dunoyer de Segonzac and drummer André Arpino interpreting ten variations on the Allegretto portion of Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony No. 7. For those unfamiliar, the term Allegretto (translated as "rather fast") refers to the composition's tempo, encompassing a speed of less than 120 but exceeding 108 measures per minute. As he had done in prior outings that incorporated the respective works of Bach, Debussy, and Handel, among others, Loussier approaches the composition with an ear toward the third stream, blending classical pieces to a decidedly jazz orientation.
This set is, indeed, complete, including as it does the six standard trios as well as the op. 11 work that Beethoven originally wrote for a clarinet, but later arranged for violin. The performances were, to judge from viewing, given exclusively for video, no audience evidently being present. The third of the op. 1 set and op.11 are in black and white; everything else is color. Throughout, the picture quality is excellent. The mono sound, however, is disappointing for the vintage: somewhat brittle in the piano and shrill in the violin. Much of this can be corrected with good tone controls, however. Prior to filming these performances, this triumvirate recorded studio versions of these works that were widely admired. Nearly all of what is offered here is in the same class: well-organized, vibrant readings attuned to the wit, drama, and lyricism of these remarkable scores. Everything in op. 1 works well, as does the violin version of op. 11. The two trios in op. 70 are, of course, studies in contrast—No. 1 comprising some of the most explosive chamber music that Beethoven ever composed, No. 2 more lyrical and experimental, its eerie opening being a case in point. Both works are impressively played, No.1 (“Ghost”) projected with thrilling energy and spooky delicacy.
Ransom Wilson has long been recognized internationally as one of the greatest flutists of his generation. After graduation from the Juilliard School in 1973, he spent a year in Paris as a private student of Jean-Pierre Rampal. In 1976 he gave his official debut concert in New York City, with Rampal as his guest artist. An exclusive recording contract with Angel/EMI followed soon thereafter, along with extensive performances all over the world.