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CD Review

BBC Legends

Janet Baker, soprano
BBC Symphony Orchestra/Reginald Goodall
BBC Legends BBCL4086-2 125m ADD
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Reginald Goodall's prowess in Wagner has been immortally realized with his ground breaking recording of the 'Ring' that is now safely enshrined in Chandos' superb Opera in English series. This recording of the Bruckner 8th is awesome and monumental in scale and lasts almost 90 minutes, quite an outstanding achievement on all counts. The recording is very clear and Goodall's unerring grasp of the score is beautifully realized.

The opening Allegro moderato is wonderfully played with a deep sense of mystery and nostalgic beauty with the BBC Symphony responding superbly to Goodall's impassioned direction. The Scherzo is also taken at quite a slow pace but that adds to the grandeur and mystery of the music. To my mind, Goodall's Adagio surpasses all his competitors except Karajan and Furtwängler who also had a knack of pacing this movement perfectly, and Goodall pulls out all the stops for a hair raising Finale that is truly in the 'great' class all along.

The couplings are equally valuable. A beautifully emotive and luxuriant 'Tristan und Isolde' Prélude rubs shoulders with an equally impressive rendering of the Wesendonck Lieder with Janet Baker on top form throughout. As I already said, the recordings are truly excellent and this issue should serve as a fine memorial to Reginald Goodall's outstanding conducting and understanding of the German late-romantic repertoire.

Copyright © 2002, Gerald Fenech