Sir Neville Marriner: The indispensable recordings

Sir Neville Marriner: The indispensable recordings


norman lebrecht

October 02, 2016

1 Mozart piano concert 27, K595 (Brendel)

2 Vivaldi Four Seasons, 1958 L’Oiseau Lyre

3 Elgar: Enigma Variations, with Sospiri

4 Barber Adagio

5 Mozart Requiem

6 Cosi fan tutte

7 Handel Messiah

8 Rossini: Messe solonelle

9 Schumann symphonies (SWR Stuttgart)

10 Gershwin, Rhapsody in Blue (Philharmonia)



  • David Osborne says:

    With the ASMIF- all Butterworth’s orchestral works and the most wonderful Delius ‘Walk to the Paradise Garden’. I’m talking better even than Beecham wonderful. Decca recording I think.

  • Rod says:

    Which Requiem? The one with Cotrubas or McNair’s?

    Which Messiah? The one with Popp or McNair’s?

    Thanks in advance.

  • Gonout Backson says:

    Haydn, Masses 9 and 11 on EMI. And probably all of the “Name” Symphonies, since I couldn’t pick just one.
    Die Zauberflöte.

  • Michela Cocolin says:

    He did so much to promote British music… I would also add “English Idyll” with Julian Lloyd Webber and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields (1994 Philips).

  • Peter says:

    And his Tippett disc, originally on Argo: Corelli Fantasia, Concerto for Double String orchestra, little music for string orchestra.

  • William Campbell says:

    His Yeomen of the Guard is the best G and S recording I have!

  • mbhaz says:

    Tchaikovsky “Manfred Symphony”. After all the baroque and classical, I didn’t expect him to turn in such a solid, thrilling account.

  • Sandy Matheson says:

    I’d go for his first Messiah. Ameling, Reynolds, Langridge, Howell and the spiffing ASMF Chorus. It still sounds as fresh as anything. And a big shout-out for his Tippett album!

  • Erney says:

    Listening to the Argo Vaughan Williams album right now: Tallis Fantasia, Greensleeves, Lark Ascending, and Dives and Lazarus–all marvelous. I also agree with Mr. Osborne about the wonderful Delius selections he recorded. R.I.P.

  • Brian B says:

    Authenticists and period intrument chi-chi be hanged I still love his ASMF Handel Concerti Grossi, Op.3 and 6

  • Nigel Simeone says:

    A couple more to add, both Mozart, and both on Argo.
    Coronation Mass with Cotrubas et al.
    Sinfonia concertante with Alan Loveday and Stephen Shingles.

  • Clarke Bustard says:

    Since no one else has mentioned it, the 1972 Argo disc of Vaughan Williams, with one of the finest versions of the “Tallis Fantasia” and a beautifully understated “Lark Ascending” with Iona Brown.

    • Chris says:

      Agreed. That recording is one of my all-time favorites.

      I would also throw in his recording of the three suites of Ancient Airs and Dances with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.

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  • Una says:

    And Heather Harper with him in Britten’s Les Illuminations, which won a gold prize around 1978.

  • Anon Y. Mouse says:

    Thanks for your moving tribute to Sir Neville. It is impossible to single out any of his recorded performances, since all are imbued with a consistent high quality and vitality. I especially continue to enjoy his collaborations with the Academy in the Haydn “name” symphonies (as well as his stellar performance of No. 52 from nearly a half-century ago) and his integral set of the Schubert symphonies, especially Brian Newbould’s wonderful realizations of the symphonic fragments, No. 10 and the four-movement version of the b-minor. “The Academy Plays Opera” (EMI) is a great tour-de-force, including “Un bel di” from “Butterfly” as an ondes martenot solo, and the “Trovatore” paraphrase with cimbalom and organ. I would very much like to see the reappearance of his performances, with the Concertgebouw, of Elgar’s “Enigma” and Holst’s “Planets” (both Philips).

  • Don Ciccio says:

    Walton’s film music. And I also love his Handel.

    • Don Ciccio says:

      I should also add his delightful Respighi recordings with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. Plus the Haydn Masses, already mentioned here.

  • Ernest Low says:

    His Barber of Seville with Baltsa Allen and Araiza is very fine too. RIP Maestro

  • Willi Philips says:

    Jesus, Norman. The Schumann Cycle on Capriccio isn’t in the same league as any of the other recordings you list. They’re rhythmically slack, anemic readings compared to 99% of what he produced. They were not well received and went into budget priced reissue very quickly–there is a reason. They weren’t of the same order of his otherwise extremely high level product.

  • Frederick West says:

    Suppé Overtures, EMI 1989, a glorious confection wonderfully recorded. Like eating an entire box of chocolates by oneself, pure indulgence and pleasure. A sugar rush of joy!
    Not repertoire I’d have associated with the great man but boy does he get it with style and panache.

  • Tom says:

    HIs Elgar 1st Symphony is magic (all the more so for being rather unexpected).

  • luciano tanto says:

    rossini: solennelle, e, not o.

  • Dub M Taylor says:

    I grew up and lived in Los Angeles, being in the music business most of my life since the mid 60’s. I discovered Neville Marriner in the early 70’s in Oslo, Norway when a friend and associate there recommended some of his recordings at a local record shop (remember those?) He told me, “You will never hear a better Haydn symphony recording. He was right. Listening the Nev changed the way I heard music.

    Marriner had become the music director of The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. I spent many a concert transfixed, listening and watching this amazing conductor. For a short time later I worked with the LACO after he departed LA. I did speak to him a couple of times and found him to be very charming.

    His recordings are unsurpassed. Two of my particular favorites are his first Vaughan Williams collection on Argo and the Respighi Ancient Airs and Dances with the LACO. There are too many other recordings to list. He brought new life to those sometimes tired “war horses”.

    We are musically poorer now without him.

  • Jane Hillhouse says:

    Wonderful to find an enlightened group of music lovers being able to rejoice in loving Sir Neville, his music making and his humility. They were also the most recorded orchestra about 15 years ago. Don’t know if they’ve been overtaken. And such a beautiful location. I used to walk that way frequently, before I left my home country for the US.
    Look out for his beautiful son. Not sure if he is official leader now but I heard him on KDFC with him as solo clarinet or oboe, and conducting. Perhaps someone following them more closely will know.

    PS may I recommend a good read: Wrong Sex, Wrong Instrument by Maggie ??? Terrific history of life in a minor English Orchestra made great by Simon Rattle. A wonderful escape from this CA life!! Enjoy