Collins: Sullivan, Gardiner, Grainger - Decca LW 5297 (10"), beautiful copy
Jacket NM / LP NM
This beautiful 10" LP – a superb collector's copy – from Decca (LW 5297, UK pressing, black/silver ffrr label, mono, laminated flipback jacket) entitled "Orchestral Showpieces in Hi-Fi" features conductor Anthony Collins and the New Symphony Orchestra of London in three orchestra spectaculars, recorded in the fabled acoustics of London's Kingsway Hall on 5-6 December 1956.
The exact program is as follows:
Sullivan: Overture di Ballo
Gardiner: Shepherd Fennel's Dance
Grainger: Shepherd's Hey
This is the perfect album to showcase just how advanced Decca's sound engineering was at that time compared its major rivals. One doesn't really register the absence of stereo, and the orchestra is recorded in sound of great amplitude and impact. Happily, the performances are absolutely first rate, Collins bringing the same dynamism to these lesser-known scores as he brought to his justly famous Sibelius cycle, also for Decca.
This album was produced by James Walker and engineered by Kenneth Wilkinson. The reverse side of the jacket carries informative liner notes (uncredited), provided in English only. The wonderful cover art is similarly uncredited, alas.