ALEXANDER BRAILOWSKY - POLYDOR REORDINGS
MAHLER: Symphony No 1 in D "Titan"
Again Pristine takes us back to the glory days of the Met with this magnificent performance of Otello March 8, 1958. Mario Del Monao at the height of his powers sang the title role with uncommon conviction and vocal control. Victoria De Los Angeles, also in her prime, was a gentle Desdemona, and what a treat to hear Leonard Warren as Iago. Del Monaco first sang Verdi's tragic Moor of Venice at the Teatro Colón in July of 1950. During the course of his career, Del Monaco performed Otello well over 200 times! When he died in October 1982 at the age of 67, he was buried dressed in his Otello costume.He recorded the opera twice for Decca, in 1954 and 1961, both times with Renata Tebaldi. There also is an exciting 1958 video from RAI. Surely all who love opera will wish to investigate this Met version, which boasts excellent audio as XR remastered by Andrew Rose.
Russian-born pianist Alexander Brailowsky (1895 - 1976) specialized in music of Chopin,. ThisPristine set, Volume I of two, contains many of his early recordings for the Polydor label. Often during his career Brailowsky would present a Chopin marathon, a six-concert series that included all 169 of Chopin's music for solo piano. His American debut took place in New York in 1924. His earliest recordings were for the Ampico reproducing piano roll system, followed by his Polydor recordings heard on this new CD. Later he recorded for RCA, HMV and Columbia. He recorded few concertos: the two of Chopin, Rachmaninoff No. 2, Saint-Saéns Concerto No. 4, sand Liszt Totentanz. .¹he Polydor recording apparently is the first ever made of the Chopin Concerto No. 1. The rather primitive engineering captured a rather boxy sound for the Berlin Philharmonic; the piano fared much bette sonicallyr. Pianophils surely will be interested in these issues and might also wish to investigate Sony's 8-disk set of the pianist's RCA recordings. Mark Obert-Thorn;s transfers of these early Polydor recordings does what an be done with the dated material. On a personao note, I heard Brailowsky only once when he appeared with the Baltimore Symphony in 1957, with guest conductor Werner Janssen (best known for his work in films) in an erratic performance of Rachmaninoff 2. Surely this wa an off-day for this fine pianit.
Jascha Horenstein had a particularly close association with music of Gustav Mahler, and his recordings of the master's music are of utmost importance, particularly Symphonies 3 and 8. In 1922, Horenstein made his debut as a conductor leading the Vienna Symphony in Symphony No. 1 of Mahler. He also included it when he made his debut with the Berlin Philharmonic in 1926, and conducted it at least two dozen times with other orchestras until February 1953 when this performance was recorded for Vox. Throughout the reading Horenstein shows his total understanding of the Mahler idiom; he never rushes excessively and the finale builds to a truly triumphant climax. The orchestra is excellent and Andrew Rose's XR remastering has greatly enhanced audio. A memorable, and important issue in the Mahler catalog.
R.E.B. (December 2018)