Tuesday, January 28, 1964

by Colin Mason
(Thanks to Mrs. Martha Schuricht)

The name of Carl Schuricht was unknown to post-war audiences in London until he appeared here last year with the London Symphony Orchestra. A return visit to the Royal Festival Hall last night to conduct the same orchestra in Beethoven's Ninth Symphony confirmed that we have been depriving ourselves for many years of an outstanding conductor.
He is slightly junior to Monteux and wears his years almost as well, and his performance last night had something of the same dynamic quality - though its rugged finish was nearer to what we are used to from Klemperer. The lines of the first movement were stark, the salient entries sharply pointed, impetus and clarity the conductor's properties. The warmth of phrase of the first violin's second entry in the slow movement was exceptional, though this warmth came again at the entry of the first violins, in the first orchestral exposition of the main theme of the finale - contrasting violently with the introduction to this movement and its recurrence before the baritone's entry, harsh in tone and unrelenting in rhythm, almost savagely sweeping aside the reminiscences of the earlier movements.
It was altogether an immensely dramatic and exciting performance that made one hope that Schuricht will join the band of regularly appearing veterans to whom we are so attached in London.
The orchestra observed his wishes, and realised the strength and character of his interpretation well, and the Bach Choir likewise sang lustily. The excellent team of soloists were Heather Harper, Helen Watts, William McAlpine and David Ward.

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