Treasure Trove is a page which features rare, exceptional, not so exceptional
forgotten Lp recordings or just lists performances to enjoy or
to remember, even if they had a short life.
Many may be known to, and have already been evaluated by, die hards,
but to point out their existence can be of use to music lovers and collectors.
If you have comments, additional information or questions, just send an
on a link:
sultry night with Curzon and Jorda in the Spanish Gardens
in the past sense there are three important conductors when it comes
to performing works of Spanish (and not so Spanish) composers:
Ataulfo Argenta, Raphael Frübeck de Burgos and Enrique Jorda.
All three have made recordings of De Falla's "Noches en los jardines
de España", the three symphonic impressions for piano and
orchestra: Nights in the Gardens of Spain. For many a favorite recording
always has been the one on DECCA SXL 2091 from 1959 with pianist
Gonzalo Soriano and conductor Ataulfo Argenta coupled with Rodrigo's
Guitar Concerto performed by Narcisso Yepes. Right from the first
release it was a best selling one too! Rodrigo had composed this
popular work in 1939 and it was first premiered in 1940. It inspired
many a composer. The most well know is Victor Young who took the
theme to write the music for the movie "Johnny Guitar".
And Gill Evans arranged the theme of the second movement for his
band to accompany jazz trumpeter Miles Davis.
Decca never reissued the original coupling of these performances
in the cheaper Ace of Diamonds (SDD), World of the Great Classics
(SPA) or Jubilee (JB) Series. This was for copyright reasons. The
recordings had been made in cooperation with Spanish Columbia who
were the copyright owners. That is why Decca kept SXL2091 for more
than 20 years in the catalogue. That was the only way to assure
the continuity of the success. At
left the cover of Alhambra MCC 30054, the Spanish mono edition of
Four years after his DECCA recording, pianist Gonzalo Soriano played
the piano part in a somewhat more streamlined, straightforward performance
with Raphael Frübeck de Burgos which was recorded by HMV. Also
in beautiful sound.
is however an earlier recording of Falla's Nights in the gardens
of Spain made by DECCA with English pianist Clifford Curzon and
conductor Enrique Jorda made in July 1951 (Kingsway Hall, London)
and released with Grieg's concerto on LXT 5165, and also on the
2 sides of a 10" Lp with reference number LW 5216 from 1956.
When Falla started working on this composition he gave it the title
"Nocturnes" which still indicates the atmosphere of the three sections.
Most pianists and conductors play the work in a well structured
manner and sometimes rather straightforward. Curzon and Jorda however
work together in a fine tuned atmospheric recording. Enrique Jorda
is a conductor from the old school who - in stark contrast to the
hyper active conductors of the youngest generation from the second
milennium, takes time for phrasing and subtle dynamic variations
and so achieves a sense of sultry and mysteriousness, while the
air is bearing with heavy scents. This rendition has a quality which
was hardly experienced before (and after, I must say). This performance
shows once more all too clear how crucial the cooperation is of
all the musicians involved. In this case the synergy between Jorda
and Curzon is intense, yet intuitive. A true treasure that was well
recorded with the piano well embedded in the orchestra.
liner notes on Westminster XWN 18417: "Kurt Appelbaum
began to play piano at the age of four. One of the most
outstanding pupils of Arthur Schnabel, he made his debut
in Berlin at the age of twenty-four, meeting with immediuate
success. He concertized extensively in Europe and made his
American debut in New York's Town Hall in 1938. He has lived
in the United States since 1938, and has made annual concert
tours. His programs for the most part have been devoted
to the music of Beethoven, for whom Mr. Appelbaum feels
a deep affinity. He has devoted many years to intensive
study of the Beethoven piano sonatas." The New York
Times reported on February 1, 1990 that Kurt Appelbaum had
died at the age of 84.
The liner notes of Westminster WL 5075 deal extensively with the structure
and the nature of Beethoven's Op. 111 and Op. 2 No. 2. There
are however no data about the pianist, Kurt Appelbaum, with whom Westminster
started a complete cycle of Beethoven Sonatas in 1950. The first disc
- with Sonatas Nos. 7 and 21 (WL 50-44) - was released in December
1950. From six records produced, only the one containing Sonatas Nos.
9 and 24 was well received (WL 5090). Westminster apparently abandoned
the project and substituted Appelbaum for Paul Badura-Skoda but
Demotte says that the wisdom of this choice was to be questioned
as Badura-Skoda was much too young.
However, in hindsight, WL 5075 (released in June 1951), gives a remarkable
example of what was feasible as far as High Fidelity is concerned.
It is amazing how clear and clean and well defined, and also how natural
the sound of the grand piano is, captured and engraved in this disc.
The sleeve says "Copyright 1951" and at the time the extremely high
sound quality was recognized by engineers, critics and record collectors
alike. If the standard of technique was already that high in 1951,
one wonders why not more records were produced in the same technical
vein in the early years of the monaural record, and in the years thereafter?
of course, there were. Like the outstanding
recordings made by Robert C. Fine and the Mercury team. Westminster's
recording quality in later years never reached that same height and
as far as dynamics were concerned lost its superiority. In those years
there were not many labels that could challenge the Westminster/Appelbaum
sound. Specifically the cycle with Wilhelm Kempff on Deutsche Grammophon
(in the USA released on American Decca) could not be recommended at
all because of the rather low recording quality. Notwithstanding the
fact that the Decca equivalent of any Deutsche Grammophon disc generally
had a much clearer and defined sound and had better dynamics than
the DGG disc cut and pressed in Germany. But even the sound
of the Kempff US Deccas was not good enough as many reported. The
choice for Deutsche Grammophon to make LP recordings with a rather
heavy rounded sound is incomprehensible as most of the 78 rpm POLYDOR
shellac discs reveal such a realistic piano sound.
Even if Appelbaum sometimes lacks the necessary lightness, seriousness,
playfulness and humor (as many pianists do) to explore Beethoven's
realm, the recording and the interpretations are nevertheless very
pleasing to the ear. Later the Sonatas Op. 110 (No. 31) and
Op. 111 (No. 32) were re-released on XWN 18417. And on second hearing,
I must conclude that these are individualistic and interesting performances
and more information about Kurt Appelbaum is available on that later
XWN 18417 edition. (See at left.)
Alexander, an amateur pianist who studied with Kurt Appelbaum
from 1979-1981 in New York, with whom I corresponded for a short
while, wrote to me:
"Appelbaum (...) was from Berlin, studied with Artur Schnabel,
and his first wife was Anna Cassirer (daughter of Ernst
Cassirer). (...) Off and on, I have tried to write about
the years I spent as his student as he was without doubt
one of the most profound teachers and pianists I have come
across. That you find his recording of Op. 2 #2 without
such things as lightness, seriousness and so on I do find
surprising. I will have to revisit this recording. Actually,
this is a work we spent a great deal of time on and I found
his insights and playing to be most insightful. As you pointed
out, only one of his recordings was well received and this
seems to have been the curse of his life. He was so frustrated
with audiences not understanding his interpretations that
he walked away from the stage in the early 1950's. As I
recall, he felt that it was this move that led Westminster
to drop his contract, but I am not certain if I am remembering
this correctly. (...) Perhaps Appelbaum would have agreed
with your criticism that there were times when his interpretation
was a little less of Beethoven and more of him. But, I believe
he would have said something to the effect that B would
have understood this and indeed would have expected this
from an interpreter. Actually, I am not sure how A would
have answered this. One thing I do remember from my study
of the Op 2 #2 with him was the tremendous difficulty I
had with the runs in the first movement. Appelbaum had an
uncanny ability to use language as a way of reaching an
understanding of how to approach such difficulties. He said
that in order to understand such passages one had to become
a tiger and run up the keyboard as it would. This visual
image had such physical power for me that I learned from
it how to play these rather difficult runs. In fact, A had
me practice them by playing the notes in bunches and to
pounce my way up the keyboard as if I were a tiger running
after its prey. Gradually, he had me play the notes in succession
rather than in bunches. It worked! This (...) does show
you something of his teaching style. About Appelbaum, I
am afraid there is painfully little information as he led
a rather hermetic life (...) when I knew him in the late
1970s. Your mentioning of Badura-Skoda taking over the recording
contract did remind me of his mentioning this. I do not
remember him as having any ill feelings towards Badura-Skoda.
Appelbaum's life as a performer seems to have had a tragic
quality to it in that public opinion seemed to go against
him." - Louis Alexander
Katz's eloquent interpretations of Khachaturian's Piano Concerto
and Prokofiev's No. 1.
may have stumbled on Khachaturian's Concerto performed by pianist
Leonard Pennario and conductor Felix Slatkin (father of Leonard)
on Capitol P-8349, a noteworthy performance at the time of its release
in 1957. Although it was originally released as a mono recording
(made on 5-6 of October 1956), there exists a stereo issue of the
same performance on SP-8349. Capitol must have recorded the concerto
already in stereo at the time. Pennario's clear and chiseled technique
and impetus are very appropriate for this extrovert score. He fully
does justice to Aram Khatchaturian's style and melodies based on
Armenian folk music. A performance to enjoy.
A few years later Everest had recorded Peter Katin in the same,
released on SDBR 3055 (1960). Although there had been remarkable
recordings by other famous pianists like Moura Lympany (Decca/London),
Oscar Levant (Columbia), Youri Boukoff (Philips/Epic) and William
Kapell (RCA Victor), in 1966 High Fidelity Magazine reviewed a new
recording of this work (which is as loud and as easy to access as
the captivating Second Symphony, "The Bell" - do get the
performance conducted by the composer himself on the Decca/London
label). But now the pianist was Mindru Katz and the label was Vanguard.
Appealing is Katz's pianism as well as the extremely brilliant recording
technique which, even in a later pressing in the Vanguard Everyman
Classics Series, which is as dynamic as it is thrilling. Defenitely
a must have item not just for the audiophile
P.S. After writing this paragraph I acquired Philippe Entremont's
recording with Seiji Oszawa conducting. Interesting is that Entremont's
is a many facetted and very personal interpretation (CBS 72981 from
1971 = M-31075, coupled with Liszt's Hungarian Fantasia) and also
very well recorded.
There is also an old Urania recording (URLP 7086) with Margot Pinter
and Artur Rother which was issued by Eli Oberstein on Royale 1276
stating that the pianist is Maria Hüttner and the conductor
Joseph Bälzer. See
Lumpe's Allegro-Royale Pages.
Gershwin and Ravel in adventurous interpretations.
Prokofiev's 3rd Piano Concerto by Byron Janis
and Kyrill Kondrashin? By Martha Argerich and Claudio Abbado? Yes,
Janis because of his composed playing, the "cool" cooperation
with Kondrashin, the excellent microphone placement and the practically
perfect recording and mastering of Mercury SR-90300 (if you have a
top quality copy). Argerich not
so much because of the recorded sound of SLPM 139 349,
but because of the lyricism and intensity she and Claudio Abbado achieve.
Both may be among your favorites. Argerich's is coupled with Ravel's
Concerto and Janis with his beautiful reading of Rachmaninoff's 1st.
But it is time you added a third and blasting performance in transparent
and dynamic sound to your collection (if you did not already). It
is the recording by Julius Katchen made around the same time as Argerich's
Deutsche Grammophon in 1969. It is DECCA's SXL 6411 which was still
in the second Wide Silver Band series of recordings. The conductor
is Istvan Kertesz, who leads the orchestra in a frenzy rendering of
the work with drama and drive and suppleness at the same time. The
scenario of the performance must have been written by both pianist
and conductor well before the clarinetist calmly pressed the air,
vibrating the reed, after which the sound is building up its structure
to a first climax.
The whole affair takes you aback by amazement and sheer joy. The strong
dynamics add to this firing furnace. The dynamics are followed by
well executed diminuendos and the remarkable athletic piano playing
of Katchen which cools down the atmosphere when necessary. All these
moves are obviously well planned, yet never seem losing their make
up of being propelled on the spur of the moment. Katchen is a master
pianist, a wizzard, and Kertesz is a king in his own realm of symphonic
sound making who's lead is well followed by the members of the London
You may miss the calm and precise climaxes of Byron and Kyril which
sound probably more Prokofievian than the effective rendition of Julius
and Istvan. You may miss the flow of Argerich's playing and Abbado's
conducting. But you will not easily forget the splendor of this SXL
which contains on Side 2 Gershwin's Rhapsody in a very satisfying
performance with good understanding of the Gershwin idiom, and an
even captivating Concerto for the Left hand of Ravel which does not
pale when placed next to the reading of Samson François.
On top of that, the grand piano and the orchestral score are captured
in all the detailed glory from the lowest register to the strong top,
which of course adds to the thrilling experience. This truly inspires
you to take up learning
the piano. Both the Ravel and Gershwin make the cockles of
your heart jump and you will be nailed to the edge of your chair.
I always like to sit very close to the orchestra. Row 6 in the Concertgebouw
in Amsterdam is perfect for me. There you hear the clarity and the
loudness and softness of the grand piano and the Cinerama-like display
of strings, percussion, wood, brass and bass. And that is what the
disc delivers if you have a lively audio set and have not dimmed down
all the fine details by too much damping. That is, if you play it
with a very good cartridge which provides all aspects of the score
with clean dynamics and the loudest tutti, which can be grasped by
the ear completely in all their complexity.
Szell's breathtaking Beethoven's Fifth and Mozart's KV 338 with
the Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra.
Philips LP 802 769 LY.
Gieseking playing Mozart's KV 488 with Herbert von Karajan conducting
the Philharmonia Orchestra on Columbia 33C1012.
performance is not easily surpassed. A perfect synergy between Gieseking
and Von Karajan in a technically well recorded concerto. It is important
however to acquire the original English Columbia pressing as other
pressings - like the one on the Eterna label - do not convey that
most authentic sounding recording of a great treasure.
This performance, recorded in Berlin in the midst of World War II,
has been pressed on various labels: Deutsche Grammophon, Melodiya,
Unicorn and Ariston. All technicians involved have been cleaning up
the old Reichsrundfunk Gesellschaft's tapes. To my knowledge the full
impact of the performance in those dark days has only been cut into
the lacquer with a lot of atmosphere by the Italian Ariston label.
Ariston covers two full sides of a 12 inch record instead of just
one side as Unicorn does. The impact is also heightened because they
simulated stereo. Although simulated stereo is not always preferred,
in this case the application gives extra impact. Thus this Ariston
pressing of Beethoven's 4th Piano Concerto in the dramatic performance
Hansen and the Berlin Philharmonic conducted by Wilhelm Furtwängler
has become an even more compelling Furtwängler recording. It
is one of my ten
Frieda Valenzi and conductor Jean Morel play César Franck.
This performance of
César Franck's 'Variations Symphoniques' on Remington with
conductor Jean Moreau (Morel?) is - to my knowledge - the only interpretation
of this work which does justice to its concept of variations.
Haebler plays Mozart: Fantasia and Sonata KV 475 and 457, Sonata
KV 533 and 494, and Fantasia KV 397. Philips 802 749 LY.
it is advised to play Chopin as if you would play Mozart, and Mozart
like you would play Chopin, Ingrid Haebler has her own, convincing
and integer ideas when playing Mozart's Fantasy K 475 and Sonata
KV 475 with great intensity.
Castelnuovo Tedesco: Romancero gitano, Sylvano Bussotti: ultima
rara, Heinz Friedrich Hartig: Perché.
Siegfried Behrend, guitar; Sylvano Bussotti, voice; NCRV Vocaal
Ensemble, Marinus Voorberg, conductor. Deutsche Grammophon 2530
Extraordinary music, extremely well performed.
of Delius and Elgar on Argo.
These are performed by the Louis Halsey Singers released on one
of those collectible, early Argo stereo recordings with the oval
label. These are wonderful compositions on poems by Tennyson, Longfellow,
Shelley, Arthur Symons, Andrew Lang, Henry Vaughan, Rosa Newmarch,
and Byron, and an anonymous poet. There is even a text attributed
to Delius himself as the insert tells. The choral sound is excellent
and the singing is of the highest order with beautiful phrasing
and perfect timing. Listen to the beautiful 'My love dwelt in a
northern land' composed by Edward Elgar, and 'The splendor falls
on castle walls' by Frederick Delius, and get carried away on the
intimate sounds of the human voice into the wide and spacious countryside.
The program contains all in all 14 songs.
Lydia Gordon who lives in Montreal, Canada, writes:
Szegedi was my former teacher at the Franz Liszt Academy
of Music in Budapest.
Yes, he was from Szeged, but his original name was Ketter
Ernö and his teachers were Imre Stefaniai and Ernö
Erno Szegedi was a wonderful interpreter of Debussy and
Ravel and he was a virtuoso when playing Etudes of Chopin
and Liszt, compositions by Dohnanyi, Tchaikovsky (Piano
Concerto), etc. His first wife Magda Vasarhelyi was an excellent
concert pianist herself. They often performed together playing
original repertory written for duo-pianists. Aniko Szegedi,
Ernö Szegedi's daughter, is a pianist too. She is especially
well known in Europe." - Lydia Gordon
Ernö (Erno) a.o. play Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsodies.
Recently I acquired a boxed set of 3 LPs, all in mono, with the 19
Hungarian Rhapsodies by Franz Liszt performed by various pianists.
I have not played them all, but I will do in due time and I may be
in for more surprises.
The Hungarian Rhapsodies are favorites of mine. I have a few recordings
on the shelves: Misha (Mischa) Dichter on Philips, Alexander Brailowsky
on RCA, Michele Campanella on Philips. Roberto Szidon on Deutsche
Grammophon. Misha Dichter is dynamic, Brailowsky is idiosyncratic,
Campanella is honest and less sophisticated, but is recorded in beautiful
sound, and Szidon is dynamic as well and fully understands the score.
In Hungary the Christian name is always placed after the family name.
So when you come across the name Szegedi Ernö (Erno), it means
that Ernö is the given name and Szegedi is the family name (maybe
the family originally came from Szeged, who knows). Ernö Szegedi
is one of the six pianists Hungaroton put together on LPX 1079-80-81.
The other five are: Harnádi Lajos, Katona Agnes, Antal István,
Gabos Gábor, and Wehner Tibor (who also gives us a very personal,
After the records were cleaned I put on one of my favorites which
is the 5th Hungarian Rhapsody (Héroide élégiaque).
In this Hungaroton collection it is performed by Ernö Szegedi.
I was in for a shock. There was no bravura, no slick piano playing,
no superficiality. Ernö Szegedi performed the Liszt we all know
from 'Funerailles' and also from the Sonata (so well played by
Barere). Szegedi's Fifth Rhapsody is the core of what could
be called the Hungarian soul, it is the essence of Liszt's deeper
creativity. Szegedi also plays No. 1 in his own manner, and No. 14
(from which the Hungarian Fantasy is derived, very well played by
Shura Sherkassky with Herbert von Karajan on Deutsche Grammophon and
by Sondra Bianca with Carl Bamberger on Musial Masterpiece Society).
Szegedi sheds a different light on all these compositions.
So if you come across this Hungaroton set or just recordings of Szegedi
Ernö check them out. He also played compositions of
Ernö, and on Hungaroton HLPX 1044-45 (a two record set)
Bela Bartok's "For the Children" (Gyermekeknek, Series I
and II). Maybe you can confirm the quality of playing and agree with
my suggestion, and you are happy that I have talked you into buying
Do not confuse the set with the Hungarian Rhapsodies with the later
Hungaroton LPX 11488-90 set recorded in stereo from the nineteen seventies
with Gabor Gabos, Erika Lux, Gabriella Torma, Erszébeth Tusa
and Kornel Zempléni. There you can hear that Gabriella Torma
in No. 5 is somewhat emulating Ernö Szegedi, but she has a less
Messiaen: Complete Works for Organ. Almut Rössler. Schwann
AMS Studio 351.
"Gesamtausgabe" (Complete Edition) is printed on box and
book of this 7 Lp set of recordings made in the years 1969 till
1972 of the complete works for organ played Almut Rössler plays
on the Riegel organ of the Neander church in Düsseldorf and
on the Beckerath organ of the "Johanneskirche", also in
Düsseldorf. These are modern instruments with all the possibilities,
voices and registers, for performing works from Clérambault
to Messiaen (as is said about another Beckerath organ). Olivier
Messiaen himself took part in the preparation of these performances.
Years ago I owned a Ducretet Lp with "L'ascension" and
"Le banquet celéste", music which transports you to far
away spheres. These two compositions get however their full meaning
in the context of the many other works in this fascinating set.
The recording engineers and technicians were Heinz Klein, Ingo Engelsmann,
Richard Hauk, Günther Half and H.N. Matthes. They all did a
Messiaen's music is based on a strong religious believe. But even
if you do not accept his convictions, the inspiration can be felt
in each and every work. Messiaen explores the possibilities of the
organ to new levels and while creating so many different sounds
and combinations of sounds, he compiles as it were an entire catalog
of creativity and beauty, sometimes curious and sometimes exploring
strange worlds, but it seems always a blueprint of the soul.
Goehr with Rimsky-Korsakov on Musical Masterpiece Society MMS 2004
(12 inch)/ Guilde Internationale du disque M-126, and with Mewton
Wood in Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto Op. 44 (CHS 1125).
month the postman would deliver a parcel with a few MMS records.
Sender was Musical Masterpiece Society (Muzikale Meesterwerken Serie)
located in Amsterdam at Paulus Potterstraat 12 (opposite the later
built Van Gogh Museum which opened in 1973). As a collector one
was not pressed to buy one or more records. The membership was a
perfect and agreeable way for collector and music lover alike to
get acquainted with works from the classical catalog performed by
interesting artists: Beethoven's 4th Concerto with pianist Noel
Mewton-Wood; Liszt's "Hungarian Fantasia" with pianist
Sondra Bianca and "Les Preludes" conducted Carl Bamberger
(who studied with
Schenker) on MMS-166; violinist Ricardo Odnoposof playing
Mendelssohn, Paganini and Bach; Walter Goehr conducting Tchaikovsky's
4th and 5th Symphonies, and many more. And the odd 10" record
(reference MMS-196) had pianist Georges Vincent playing and
Fred Hendrik conducting the Concert Hall Promenade Orchestra,
pseudonyms for Georges van Renesse and Benedict Silberman (Silbermann)
probably. On the program Warsaw Concerto (Addinsel), Cornish Rhapsody
(Bath), and Swedish Rhapsody (Alfven).
MMS was an ambitious label, recording for example all Beethoven
and Mozart String Quartets played by the Pascal Quartet,
and the complete Mozart Symphonies (41), Walter Goehr conducting
the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra.
MMS not only
pressed 33 rpm 12 and 10 inch discs, but 7" records as well
which were also cut at 33 1/3 and never at 45 rpm.
Some time ago I acquired Rimsky-Korsakoff's "Scheherazade" conducted
by Walter Goehr on the early MMS label, number four in the 2000-series
of 12 inch pressings.
No listing of this recording as a Concert Hall Society release can
be found in editions of the Schwann Long Playing Record Catalog,
nor in the Gramophone, but it is assumed that the recording was
made in 1957, at the end of a fruitful period of making recordings
in the Netherlands and when plans were developed to change the modus
operandi of the enterprise. By 1958 the Concert Hall label as such
ceased to exist. Now several MMS recordings were released in the
US on the Urania label.
I have always liked and often admired Walter Goehr's uncomplicated
style of conducting. There is no pretense, he has good insight in
the musical score and, what is more important, he has extremely
good timing and treats a movement as a well thought over concept,
not as a fragmented, rhapsodic cluster of themes. Proof of this
is in the wonderful recording of Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto
No. 2 with pianist Noel Mewton Wood on Concert Hall
CHS-1125. Just listen to the exquisitely played second movement
with the Winterthur Symphony Orchestra. To my knowledge hardly no
other recording equals the perfect cooperation between conductor
and soloist, in this case of Goehr and Mewton-Wood, in this movement.
Sure, Shura Cherkasky's Tchaikovsky with the Berlin Philharmonic
is very well performed, but many "modern" performances
seem to be manipulated or fabricated, like the Postnikova/Roshdestvensky
on Philips. In the Concert Hall recording the violin solo is performed
by Peter Rybar and the cello is played by Antonio Tusa as is mentioned
on the page of
CHS 1125 (=MMS-131) was first listed in the December 1951
Schwann Long Playing Record Catalog. The record was released
in time for the Christmas Season or even earlier in November
as it took at least one month to prepare and print a new edition
of the catalog and generally monthlies were antedated and so the
December issue was already on stands in November. The recording
was deleted (discontinued) by June 1957.
Walter Goehr and Noel Mewton-Wood decided to play an abridged version
of the second movement. The long orchestral introduction was omitted
and already after a few bars the piano sets in, sensitively. Also
the long orchestral part is omitted as well. If you want to hear
the extensive version of the second movement, there is as an example
the recording made by EMI with Sylvia Kersenbaum and Jean Martinon
The shorter version of Mewton-Wood and Goehr has a more sober style,
is more classical in approach and by its shortness gains in impact.
Innokentiy Smoktunovskiy plays Tchaikovsky in the Russian movie
"Chaykovskiy" from 1969, which is directed by Igor Talankin
and L. Sadikova and Tchaikovsky's music is adepted and arranged
by Dmitri Tiomkin. The movie visualizes the prominent compositions
and suggests the creative moods of the composer which is quite interesting
for those who are familiar with the works of this great Russian.
An important instance is also the premiere of the First Piano Concerto
performed by the composer. The concerto is not well received, especially
by teacher Anton Rubinstein. He tells Tchaikovsky that the B minor
Concerto does not have the quality of a Beethoven Concerto.
Judged from the second movement of the Second Concerto - typically
in the performance on Concert Hall - Tchaikovsky's response to Rubinstein's
remark can be heard, especially at the end of the movement where
there is a reminiscense of the ending of the Second Movement of
Beethoven's 4th Concerto.
Compared to the pianistic Shura Cherkassky (with Fritz Lehman),
the musical Werner Haas (with Eliahu Inbal), and the clear Sylvia
Kersenbaum (with Jean Fournet abit exaggarating), Noel Mewton-Wood
and Walter Goehr give a human rendition although they leave half
of the score out around 7 1/2 minutes) while Haas and Inbal take
15 1/2 minutes. Compared to these and other greats, Wood and Goehr
are atmospheric and compelling.
Schumann Op. 54 in A is also a remarkable performance released on
a 10" disc (MMS 43). There the mood of the Second Symphony
and even Träumerai shines through, although the Third Movement
(allegro vivace) is a bit too German for my taste.
Walter Goehr always knows how to get good playing from the musicians
and he knows how to put the orchestra and the performance on the
rail. This was especially important if only a short recording time
was available, and if one or more movements had to be recorded the
next day or even several days later, he accepted that fact. It is
said that one work could have been recorded by the same orchestra
but several musicians would have been replaced as they were on the
next assignment playing the remainder of a score. It just depended
on who was available for a side job. It is also said that rather
often in the middle of playing a movement, the recording was stopped
because the orchestra - which was actually the Radio Philharmonic
Orchestra (Netherlands) - had a busy schedule and was to perform
for Dutch Radio Union that same day. In the score the bar was marked
were to begin the following day or whatever day the next session
was scheduled for.
be that "Scheherazade" was recorded in such a manner,
and at least during two sessions (if not more). Generally a break
can be heard if the ambiance changes due to a slight difference
in microphone placement. In recordings the slight change in positioning
the micophone(s) can often be noticed. A clear example of this phenomenon
can be heard in the recording of Rachmaninoff's Third Concerto with
Lazar Berman and Claudio Abado where the cadenza was recorded under
different circumstances - CBS.
In the MMS Scheherazade it seems that the first recording session
included the first movement and half of the second. So far the performance
is rather uninteresting and the sound recording is somewhat dull.
But from halfway the second movement up to and including the fourth
movement, the performance has a lively character. The sound engineers
have been more careful and the orchestra is more alert. The result
is quite good. Even the violinist seems to be in a better mood or
must have been replaced by another player as the violin solo has
far more spirit and soul now. The Netherlands Philharmonic, as the
group of musicians is called, play correctly. The performance does
not reach the intensity of "The young prince and the princess"
of Bernard Haitink's Scheherazade (Philips), but Goehr and his musicians
play very well and typically the last movement has about that same
vigor and drive as the much admired, perfect recording of conductor
Kyrill Kondrashin with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
and violinist Herman Krebbers has (Philips).
question concerning this Musical Masterworks Society recording is:
"Who is plays the solo violin?"
Maybe Piet Hartvelt, or Jacob van der Woude, who were concert masters
/ leaders of the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra in the nineteen fifties.
Or it could have been Theo Olof, who also recorded for MMS? Or maybe
it is the concert master of the Broadcasting Orchestra (Omroep Orkest),
Dutch violinist Willy Busch (a far cousin of Fritz, Adolph
and Hermann Busch), who also plays the solos in the MMS recording
of Bach's St. Matthew Passion conducted by Piet van Egmond? Or just
any violinist who was available at the time? Whoever he may be,
it is remarkable that he plays with understanding, in strong and
beautiful lines, and with passion. This is in strong contrast to
violinist Jan Damen's poor (to put it bluntly) solos in the Concertgebouw
Orchestra performance under Eduard van Beinum, recorded for the
Philips label in the same year. The sound of this MMS recording
is also remarkably good, and better -I should say- than the Philips.
The playing of the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra (at the time
Bernard Haitink was conductor of the Radio Philharmonic) shows that
it is a well trained orchestra.
The little money invested in this second hand, old and used record
was well spent. But be sure to acquire the relatively heavy 12 inch
disc if you are interested! For more info see
Hall Society - MMS.
Schibler, Boris Mersson, Jean Perrin, Conrad Beck.
The title of this record is "Saxophone Musik Schweizer Komponisten"
(Saxophone Music of Swiss Composers). Iwan Roth is the soloist who
plays together with the Camarata Zürich conducted by Raäto
Tschupp, and with pianists Boris Mersson and Gérard Wyss.
The record is a pressing by Jacklin disco, reference number 568.
Saxophone records are hard to find. And it is a real treat if the
find is expressive music in exquisite performances. This one is
not to be missed..
of Young Romanian Composers: Anatol Vieru - Museum Music, Stefan
Niculesco - Formants, Tiberiu Olah - Translations, Mihai Mitrea-Celerianu
- Seth, and Costin Miereanu - Polymorphies.
amazing compositions, written in the nineteen sixties during the
reign of Nicolae Andruta Ceausescu.
Passionate and meticulous performances conducted by Marius Constant
and his ensemble "Ars Nova".
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Pieces of Joaquin
Rodrigo played by guitarist Pepe Romero.
You know how it is. There are recordings which you always can play
and never get tired of the music and the interpretation and the
beauty of it. And if you did not hear them for some time, there
suddenly can be a yearning to listen to one or more of them because
you want to reviset a wonderful place where you feel at home. That
is why I listened after a long time again to "Nun seh' ich
wohl, warum so dunkle Flammen" (Kindertotenlieder, Gustav Mahler).
One of those recordings you always can listen to is Philips 9500
915 with Pepe Romero playing beautiful compositions of Joaquin Romero:
En Los Trigales, Sonata a la Espagñola, Tientyo Antiguo,
Junto al Generalife, Fandango, 3 Petites pièces, Bajando
de la Mesata, and Romance de Durandarte. The execution has intimacy,
vigour, is at times meditative, and always conveys very well these
different moods of the pieces. They are extremely well recorded
by the Philips technicians and beautifully pressed.
Piano Concerto No. 1, Op. 15 and Mozart Piano Concerto No. 14, KV
449: Veronica Jochum von Moltke and Eugen Jochum.
The father, Eugen, may have said: "My dear Veronica, I will
give you the best orchestral accompaniement I have." And that's
what he gave her. OK. But then of course remained the question:
"Is Beethoven's First a late Mozart Concerto or should it be
played with the vigour of the later Beethoven?" That is the
reverse of the question whether Mozart's late Concertos should already
have a Beethovenian flavor.
Daughter and father certainly discussed extensively the way they
were going to play the scores. The interpretation reflects their
answers which lie in the nature of these performers, of Eugen Jochum,
the foremost Beethoven expert, and his daughter Veronica Jochum
von Moltke, the piano talent styled in extremely musical surroundings.
That is how it came about that the two recorded a wonderfully supple,
yet firm, Beethoven and a beautiful Mozart, together with the Bamberg
Symphony Orchestra (Bamberger Symphoniker) in 1969, very well recorded
by the Philips engineers. The record was released in 1970.
Yes, the question of a sensitive link to Mozart, is being answered
in this recording. The introduction of Beethoven's Op. 15 by the
orchestra with "Trois jeunes tambours" is played with
a youthful 'joy de vivre', but at the same time with a poignent
seriousness, without making the music sound military or giving it
a touch of agression.
The piano blends in very well with subtle phrasing through which
the melodic lines are sounding in a continuous flow as it were,
and this in all three movements. Naturally nothing of the sort of
testosteron displayed by her male contenders Claudio Arrau and Alfred
Brendel, both with Bernard Haitink, and Brendel also with James
Levine. Veronica remains sincere and integer throughout.
The same goes for her playing and the collaboration with her father
in the Mozart KV 449.
This record is relatively rare, it seems, and is worth its while
for more than one hundred percent. It is a performance that you
can play and play again. It never fails to bring joy. And if at
one moment or another you would need a more sturdy and nervous Beethoven
you can pick one from the large reservoir of male pianist, old and
young, just to remind you how beautiful, subtle and flowing Veronica
Jochum's Beethoven and Mozart are.
The record was released as Philips 6500 150, and in Germany also
as 6833 028 in a gatefold sleeve with a Philips catalog, beautifully
illustrated showing the many boxed sets of the Philips artists..
At left the
front and back of the German release, and a booking ad from 1968/1969
(Albert Kay Associates, Inc. New York)
See Veronica Jochum von Moltke's biography at the New England
Years ago a
pianist friend of mine advised me to listen to Christian Zacharias.
I did and also watched a program on German television WDR about
his approach of Scarlatti Sonatas. Now I found the Haydn Sonatas
played with beautiful energy. At left the front of the German release.
Not to be missed!