Lanchbery: Tchaikovsky Sleeping Beauty - EMI ASD 4300 (3LP box, DDD)
Box EX / LPs NM
This handsome and elusive 3-LP box set from EMI (ASD 4300 / SLS 5272 / 161-64905/7 T, English pressing, red/silver label, DDD stereo, booklet included) features conductor John Lanchbery’s richly evocative account of Tchaikovsky’s complete ballet music to The Sleeping Beauty Op. 66, sumptuously recorded with the Philharmonia Orchestra on glittering form at EMI Studio No. 1, Abbey Road, London, in July 1982.
Wrote the eminent critic Ivan March for November 1982 issue of The Gramophone:
“I remember John Lanchbery's Nutcracker on its original issue, from its packaging. Sponsored by Du Maurier it looked like a cross between a handsome red chocolate box and a packet of cigarettes. That individuality has disappeared and all that remains of the cigarette company is a diminutive logo in the right-hand corner. The recording made at No 1 Studio, Abbey Road was early EMI digital and very good too. The sound is brilliant in an ear-tingling way, but not edgy and it makes the big Act 2 Divertissement glitter with sparkle and colour. The Philharmonia playing is marvellous full of flair and throughout the score John Lanchbery adds many little touches to prevent even a suspicion of blandness. In the more atmospheric music of the First Act, one would have liked a more evocative resonance to the sound (as on Mackerras's Telarc recording), although the performance itself never falls into routine for a minute. But I enjoyed Act 2 enormously: the "Waltz of the Flowers"—beautifully done—is a perfect example of the ballet lilt Lanchbery produces and there are subtle contrasts of light and shade and hints of ritenuto which show his absolute sympathy for Tchaikovsky's miraculous score. This is certainly a distinguished set, but EMI would have been wiser to reissue it at midprice, given the competition. Indeed on points I would still choose Previn also on EMI (or Mackerras), although I could be very happy with Lanchbery on a desert island—one would only have to play Act 2 immediately to cheer up. Incidentally, nicely placed among the various national dances, the conductor has added an "English dance" which he has scored himself. It only plays for 42 seconds, but it is a very delightful 42 seconds. The big Act 2 Pas de deux, incidentally is magnificent—very spacious and gracious. Yes, I like this set a lot.”
This album was produced by John Fraser and engineered by Christopher Parker. Included is a lovely 12-page booklet (with glossy endcovers) containing an introduction by Dame Margot Fonteyn an extensive banded plot synopsis, and numerous photographs from a famous 1977 Royal Ballet production of The Sleeping Beauty. The striking cover design is also uncredited.
This album was underwritten by the World Investment Corporation, Ltd. and was issued as part of the ‘A du Maurier Record Collection’ series, which included John Lanchbery’s similarly captivating accounts of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake and The Nutcracker.
CONDITION – PLEASE READ VERY CAREFULLY:
The gradations of condition I use are as follows: MINT, Near-Mint, Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor.
The condition of box is EXCELLENT. The only flaw barring a NM grading concerns some scuffing to the lowe edge. However, there are no corner breaks, seamsplits, bends, owners’ markings, or other defects, and the box remain solid, bright, glossy, and highly attractive – overall, an excellent collector’s copy.
The condition of the booklet is near-MINT. Really there are no flaws to speak of – a superb copy.
The condition of the 3 LPs is near-MINT throughout and playback is superb – overall, truly fine collector's copies.