Thursday, December 22, 2011

Try some tasty free range Mozart this Christmas


Classical music is becoming more and more like factory farming. An intensive and industrialised process financed by global corporations rears consumer friendly products in confined spaces with the sole intention of bringing the bland results to market as quickly as possible . But there are alternatives, such as Bruno Walter's deliciously tasty Mozart. I paid just 14 euros (18 US dollars) in FNAC in Avignon for the new 6CD Sony set seen above which re-issues recordings made in perfectly acceptable sound between 1954 and 1960. Current pricing on Amazon UK is £13.50, which makes this almost free range Mozart.

Thoroughly recommended despite the cost of the bargain price being no documentation at all other than recording venues and dates. Which means no mention that Bruno Walter was a disciple of the Austrian philosopher and educationist Rudolf Steiner. Steiner was a founding figure in the Theosophy movement who influenced a diverse group of musicians including Alexander Scriabin, Ruth Crawford Seeger, Dane Rudhyar and Jonathan Harvey. In 1907 Steiner split with mainstream Theosophy and went on to found Anthroposophy, a spiritual path that cherishes and respects the freedom of the individual. Bruno Walter followed Steiner and contributed a chapter titled My way to Anthroposophy to an authoritative book on the subject.

All of which is fascinating but peripheral to recommending some really tasty free range Mozart. Read Arturo Toscanini's cable to Bruno Walter in The conductor who hated compromise.

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5 comments:

Pliable said...

There are some other astonishing bargains in these Sony budget boxes.

Anner Bylsma plays Boccherini - a sadly underrated composer - has given me much pleasure - http://www.amazon.co.uk/Boccherini-Cello-Concertos-Symphonies-Works/dp/B0042GNDTI/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1324547689&sr=1-1

Kubelik conducts Mozart, Schumann and Bruckner should also not be missed -
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Rafael-Kubelik-conducts-Great-Symphonies/dp/B0056K4VZO/ref=sr_1_sc_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1324547722&sr=1-1-spell

As with all of these bargain issues do hurry, they may not be around long.

Lyle Sanford, RMT said...

Thanks! I had no idea of the Steiner connection. He was an early proponent of music therapy. Maybe that's why I always liked Bruno Walter's recordings.

Pliable said...

Lyle, interestingly Bruno Walter makes no mention of Steiner or his interest in Theosophy and Anthroposophy in his early autobiography Themes and Variations. This dates from 1947 (Walter died in 1962) and is still well worth seeking out. A quick check on Amazon reveals some affordable copies -

http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=bruno+walter+themes+variations&x=0&y=0

Christopher Culver said...

"Steiner was a founding figure in the Theosophy movement who influenced a diverse group of musicians including Alexander Scriabin, Ruth Crawford Seeger, Dane Rudhyar and Jonathan Harvey."

And don't forget Per Nørgård, who set a text by Rudolf Steiner in "Libra", one of his 1970s pieces celebrating the unity of the cosmos.

Pliable said...

Thanks Christopher for pointing us down another very rewarding path.

More on Per Nørgård's music here -

http://www.overgrownpath.com/2010/12/classical-music-as-ritual.html