Barshai/Oistrakh: Berlioz Harold in Italy Op. 16 (rec. 1964) - Melodiya 33C 0893-94
Jacket VG / LP EX (Russian pressing - pink label - stereo)
This outstanding LP from Melodiya (C 0893-4, Soviet pressing, black/silver label, stereo) features Rudolf Barshai’s absolutely unsurpassed account of Berlioz’s Harold in Italy Op. 16, recorded in Moscow in 1964 with David Oistrakh conducting the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra.
“Unsurpassed” is a term one should use reserverdly, and though there have been superlative recordings of this work by William Primrose, Yehudi Menuhin, Nobuko Imai, Pinchas Zukerman, et al, for my money Barshai sweeps the board, with Oistrakh providing wonderfully imaginative accompaniment, and the Moscow Philharmonic playing brilliantly.