Classical Corner Classical Music Corner

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by George P, May 29, 2015.

  1. drh

    drh Talking Machine

    Taking some time out tonight to stop organizing and start listening, at least for an hour, I treated myself to an all off-the-beaten-path-Rimsky-Korsakoff concert:

    Quintet for Piano and Winds (Capricorn; Hyperion A66163)
    Concerto for Trombone and Military Band (arr. Shuman) (Davis Shuman with Tibor Serly and NBCSO Members; Classic Editions CE 1041)
    Dubinushka (second version) (Evgeni Svetlanov and USSR SO; Moscow Studio Archives MOS 20022)

    Hearing these works back to back was a good reminder of what an expert colorist R.-K. was and of his knack for a good Russian tune. Note to French Horn mavens: the second mvt. of the quintet offers some lovely passages for the instrument in its lyrical guise. I've been in love with the lively first mvt. ever since I first heard it as a teenager sometime in the 1970s (in those pre-Internet days, when getting obscure repertory on records was not just a mouse click away, I assembled a cassette tape of the piece by calling the all-request program of our local radio station, which limited each request to a fairly short time, for four weeks running, asking for each mvt. in succession; not knowing how many it had, in week 4 I committed the gaffe of requesting "the fourth movement of Rimsky-Korsakoff's quintet" when it has only 3 :oops: ). In those days, the sole recording in print on a readily available label, as far as I know, was an affair with players from Vienna on London STS, the flip side of a recording of the Mendelssohn Octet. Capricorn takes the R.-K. work at a much brisker clip and plays with more precision. Anyhow, the last mvt. is a skittish delight, lots of fun. The piece should be played more often.

    The trombone concerto is also rollicking good fun, ending with a Russian sailors' dance sort of a thing. In this recording the soloist plays a modified trombone of his own devising; I gather it was intended to address some issues in playing certain notes, but it didn't catch on. Our local NPR affiliate plays "Dubinushka" occasionally, but not this arrangement. Interesting to hear the contrast.

    Returning to the quintet for a moment, I believe it did get one recording on 78s, but if memory serves the sole copy I've seen (on eBay) was priced into the stratosphere. There was a mono recording by Jesus Maria Sanroma and others that I have, of all things, on an LP put out by a drug company as a "premium" for doctors, and I have a Melodiya LP of the work by a group of Soviet-era artists whose names are unfamiliar to me. Not a large discography, I fear.
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2019
    Marzz, George P, Gollum and 1 other person like this.
  2. Åke Bergvall

    Åke Bergvall Forum Resident

    Location:
    Karlstad, Sweden
    I share your excitement for the first two works (the third I'm not familiar with), and there are alternative, if not better recordings, if the ones you have are hard to come by:
    For the wind quintet, the classic recording by the Wiener Oktett: https://amazon.co.uk/Mendelssohn-Kreutzer-Berwald-Borodin-Rimsky-Korsakov/dp/B0045DO8S8/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1GDYSS9QM2YAA&keywords=vienna+octet&qid=1566545418&s=music&sprefix=The+Vienna+Octet%2Cpopular%2C190&sr=1-1.
    For the concerto, Christian Lindberg's recording for BIS: https://amazon.co.uk/Lonely-People-Nikolay-Andreyevich-Rimsky-Korsakov/dp/B000027E4W/ref=sr_1_1?crid=24LMRBYMWBTBA&keywords=all+the+lonely+people&qid=1566545726&s=music&sprefix=all+the+lonely%2Cpopular%2C175&sr=1-1.
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2019
    Gollum likes this.
  3. Bassist

    Bassist Zungguzungguguzungguzeng

    Location:
    London
    I have struggled to find a recording of Verdi's Otello (including the 70s Karajan) that really opens it up for me.

    I have never seen it staged (which might be part of the problem) but I actually prefer the Rossini version, especially the Von Stade / Carreras recording which I have owned since not long after it first came out.

    Don Carlo is probably my favourite opera (along with Pelleas and Parsifal) so it is not that I have an aversion to late Verdi but I need some help with a recording that is light on orchestral bombast. Thanks in advance for any guidance offered. I have no aversion to historical recordings if that helps point the way.
     
  4. Åke Bergvall

    Åke Bergvall Forum Resident

    Location:
    Karlstad, Sweden
    I have found Ralph Moore's opera surveys at MusicWeb very helpful, and you will find his take on Othello in the following list: Ralph Moore Recorded Opera Surveys .
     
    George P and Bassist like this.
  5. drh

    drh Talking Machine

    Have you tried Toscanini's recording? Toscanini was cellist in the orchestra at the premiere. Alternatively, if not having seen it is a problem, perhaps a performance on video?
     
    Bassist likes this.
  6. Bassist

    Bassist Zungguzungguguzungguzeng

    Location:
    London
    Thanks for the tip. I'll give the Toscanini a try.
     
  7. drh

    drh Talking Machine

    Gladly! Please let us know what you think.
     
  8. Bassist

    Bassist Zungguzungguguzungguzeng

    Location:
    London
    This is great! The balance between voices & orchestra and the mono really help solve a lot of the problems for me. I find the more bombastic moments far more listenable without modern recording techniques. Feels far more like something happening in a theatre a couple of hundred feet away than the other recordings I have tried (even though this is live in the studio rather than a live recording per se). Toscanini is a bit of blind spot for me so this is encouraging me to look more closely at the 40s. Recordings made after 55ish has tended to be my cut off.
     
  9. drh

    drh Talking Machine

    Glad it worked out! There actually exist a few recordings of Toscanini in early, experimental stereo--his last two concert broadcasts. If you're looking to explore his recordings but prefer "modern" sound quality, they might be a place to start.

    Here are the ones you want (not necessarily these specific issues, which were the first I could find in a quick perusal of Amazon):

    https://smile.amazon.com/Arturo-Tos...canini+stereo&qid=1566770929&s=gateway&sr=8-4

    https://smile.amazon.com/Tchaikovsk...nini+rossini&qid=1566772503&s=gateway&sr=8-12

    Note that a four-minute, +/-, segment of the Pathetique Sym. is in mono; some dimwit clipped that segment of the stereo tape out for a demonstration reel to play for RCA brass and then lost it.

    You may also see a Verdi Requiem claiming to be in stereo. That's a bit misleading; it's not true stereo but was painstakingly manufactured from a pair of mono feeds that were taken at a concert performance, now put together and synchronized.
     
    Bassist, Åke Bergvall and crispi like this.
  10. crispi

    crispi Vinyl Archaeologist

    Location:
    Berlin
    So basically the best part is missing. Way to go, fool. That’s like when they cut out frames out of film prints. Of course frames went missing in key moments. :)
     
    Bassist likes this.
  11. drh

    drh Talking Machine

    Of course--and, understand, I'm merely offering a reason, not a justification--at the time nobody knew whether stereo would come to anything; it hadn't even reached the level of "might be a passing fad" at that point. Even well after that, engineers tended to think of the stereo feed as distant second in importance to the mono. What's a calamity from our perspective, then, at the time probably didn't seem to matter very much.

    But still: :cussing::rant:

    On a somewhat different note, finding myself with some down time today, I did a bit of comparative listening to the last mvt. of Beethoven's op. 31 no. 1. Pianists involved were Willems (ABC--"A" being "Australian"), A. Fischer (Hungaroton), Goodyear (Marquis), and Erno (aka Ernst von) Dohnanyi (Testament). The last was from a public recital and by far the least well recorded, but it was my favorite account by a goodly margin. As I've noted in a review on TNT-Audio and in these pages as well, I very much like Goodyear's complete traversal of the sonatas, but he and Fischer more or less tied for second at some distance; in my review, I noted that bringing out Beethoven's humorous side is not always Goodyear's long suit, and so it proved here. Willems was very slow and sounded rather tired; definitely my last choice notwithstanding his interesting presentation of an Australian Stuart & Sons piano. I was at the office, else I'd have added Schnabel, at least, into the mix, but I didn't have his recording at hand there.
     
    Marzz likes this.
  12. George P

    George P Forum Pianophile Thread Starter

    Location:
    NYC
    As you know, I always enjoy comparing different interpretations of Beethoven's sonatas.

    My current favorites, in order, are Op 31/1 – Fischer – Gulda, Kempff(m), Gilels.

    I think Schnabel does well in Op. 31/2, but not in 31/1.
     
  13. violarules

    violarules Forum Resident

    Location:
    Baltimore, MD
    I'm not a fan of how those final Toscanini Stereo broadcasts were engineered. Nothing like the early Reiner/CSO stuff.

    However, I have listened to the "accidental" stereo Verdi Requiem, and though I'm not sure of the original mic placement, the sense of space is there and it's probably the closest we are going to get to know what Toscanini sounded like live and in person. It's pretty great, for what it is.
     
    George P likes this.
  14. George P

    George P Forum Pianophile Thread Starter

    Location:
    NYC
    New release from Marston Records. Just got this email:

    [​IMG]

    We are excited to announce that our second volume of Lotte Lehmann's recordings is nearing completion, and is now available for pre-orders at Lotte Lehmann: Odeon Electrical Recordings, 1927-1933. If you are an All-Preferred or Vocal-Preferred customer, or have placed a pre-order directly through us already, you do not need to order online and will receive your copy automatically. We hope to have the set finished and ready to mail by the end of October.

    Lotte Lehmann (1888–1976) was a lyric soprano with a beautiful, rich voice, combined with impeccable musicianship and an innate skill for poetry and storytelling. This six-CD set presents Lehmann’s complete electrical recordings for the Odeon label, all made in Berlin between 1927 and 1933. Lehmann embraced the new medium of electrical recording to her full advantage, while still in her vocal prime. Remembered especially for her portrayals of Wagner and Strauss roles and as a consummate interpreter of German Lieder, her Odeon electrical recordings do not disappoint. Here, Lehmann expands her more famous repertoire to include selections from French and Italian opera to operetta, popular favorites of the time, and some lovely hymns and chorales accompanied by organ. This collection offers selections from Wagner’s Tannhäuser, Lohengrin, Die Walküre, and Lehmann’s only recording of Isolde’s Liebestod. Selections from Richard Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos and Arabella may also be enjoyed. Many gems are included on this set, including: “Leise, leise” from Der Freischütz; “Komm’ Hoffnung” from Fidelio; “Porgi amor” from Le nozze di Figaro; “Kennst du das Land” from Mignon; and Rosalinde’s two songs from Die Fledermaus. There is also a substantial selection of Lieder by Schubert, Schumann, Brahms, and Strauss. The recordings have all been meticulously remastered from original pressings, adding luster to Lehmann’s incomparable singing. The set is completed by a substantial booklet containing an abundance of photos, a biographical overview by Dr. Daniel Jacobson, essays on the recordings by Michael Aspinall and Gary Hickling, and a technical note by Ward Marston.

    We look forward to hearing from you soon, and thank you for your continued support.

    Best regards,
    The folks at Marston
     
    Bubbamike, Walter H and crispi like this.
  15. drh

    drh Talking Machine

    They wouldn't be. For one thing, they were made during broadcast performances before an audience in Studio 8-H, not as dedicated sessions in the splendid acoustics of Orchestra Hall. For another, they were "first experiments" with the medium, a learning experience for the engineers and proof of concept never intended for commercial release. A shame stereo didn't come along a few years earlier (or Toscanini didn't remain active a few years longer), but there it is. At least he did get to make recordings on continuous tape, unlike Serge Koussevitzky, whose recordings were all by the older "start and stop every 4 minutes" method to accommodate release on conventional 78s.
     
  16. Bassist

    Bassist Zungguzungguguzungguzeng

    Location:
    London
    I have bought RCA's Toscanini Conducts Wagner set and the Last Concert set on Arkadia. I am genuinely blown away by these recordings. These will certainly earn a place next to the Abbado "Orchestral Music" cd, my beloved Knappertsbusch and Kubelik recordings of Parsifal, the Goodall Ring cycle and the Bernstein and Bohm recordings of Tristan & Isolde. So thank you very much once again for the steer.
     
  17. violarules

    violarules Forum Resident

    Location:
    Baltimore, MD
    Everything I have read says that his final concerts were in Carnegie Hall, so the engineering team very well could have chosen a setup much like they used for Reiner and the CSO. However, I do understand they were still experimenting with the medium and the multi-mike setup was what they most likely had been using for a while for AT (you can certainly hear many spot mikes being used in AT's final years), so they just sent those mike feeds to a 2 channel mixer, I'm guessing, instead of using a more minimalist approach that would give a better sense of the space.

    AT's final concerts were on March 28 and April 4, 1954. The fantastic "Also Sprach" of Reiner and the CSO was recorded on March 8th of the same year. It's just a little sad to think of what the sound quality could have been, given contemporaneous efforts by the same recording company, and, in that case, the exact same engineering team of Mohr/Layton who recorded both AT and Reiner.
     
    crispi and Robert C like this.
  18. George P

    George P Forum Pianophile Thread Starter

    Location:
    NYC
    [​IMG]

    Now enjoying Schubert's D894. This is my favorite performance of this work and my favorite Schubert sonata. I found out a year or so ago that it was the pianists favorite Schubert sonata as well. The sound here is quite nice and the performance is gorgeously intimate at times, at others incredibly powerful. This performance can also be found in a later issue from Richter's The Master series on Decca.
     
  19. HowardLive

    HowardLive Forum Resident

    Location:
    Napa, California
    I have to agree. I only discovered this performance a few months ago while watching the documentary "Richter the Enigma," and it took only a few chords of this performance (the first-movement coda) before I had to get a copy of my own.

    If any performance can be said to stop time, this is the one.
     
    George P likes this.
  20. George P

    George P Forum Pianophile Thread Starter

    Location:
    NYC
    [​IMG]

    Toscanini's name came up recently, reminding me that I was due for a second listen to this set. Just finished symphony 1, better than a cup of coffee!
     
    JuniorMaineGuide likes this.
  21. George P

    George P Forum Pianophile Thread Starter

    Location:
    NYC
    [​IMG]

    Now enjoying this CD, which I found in the used bins today.
     
  22. JuniorMaineGuide

    JuniorMaineGuide Forum Resident

    Location:
    Denver, Colorado
    Academy? PRX?
     
  23. George P

    George P Forum Pianophile Thread Starter

    Location:
    NYC
    Academy. :)
     
    JuniorMaineGuide likes this.
  24. drh

    drh Talking Machine

    I imagine that's not bad, for a couple of second stringers. ;)
     
    George P likes this.
  25. George P

    George P Forum Pianophile Thread Starter

    Location:
    NYC
    :laugh:
     
    drh likes this.

Share This Page