WAGNER: Das Rheingold
George London (Wotan). Irene Dalis (Frieka). Ralph Herbert (Alberich). Karl Liebl (Loge). Jean Madeira (Erda). Jerome Hines (Fafner). Ernst Wiemann (Fafner). Heidi Krall (Freia). Robert Nagy (Froh). Norman Mittelmann (Donner). Pau Kuen (Mime). Rosalind Elias (Wellgunde). Martina Arroyo (Woglinde). Mignon Dunn (Flosshide). Chorus nd Orchestra of the Metropolitan Opera / Erich Leinsdorf, cond.
PRISTINE AUDIO PACO 152 (2 disks) TT: 2:27:46

HANDEL: Acis and Galatea
Joan Sutherland (Galatea). Peter Pears (Acis). David Gallliver (Damon). Owen Brannigan (Pofyphemis). St. Anthony Singers. Philomusica of London / Sir Adrian Boult, cond.
JOAN SUTHERLAND SONG RECITALS (Music of Dalayrac, Bononcini, Boyce, Arne, Paisiello, Shield, Pergolesi, Soler, Mayr, Handel, Haydn, Spohr, Horn, and Recli
PRISTINE AUDIO PACO 149 (2 disks) TT: 2:24:10

BEETHOVEN: Piano Sonata No. 23 in F minor, Op. 57 "Appassionata," BUSONI: Violin Sonata No, 2 in E minor, Op. 36a.SCHUMANN: Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 54.
Rudlf Serkin, piano. Adolf Busch, violin. London Philharmonic Orchestra / Juius Harrison, cond.

Pristine has started another Ring Cycle with this wonderful issue of Das Rheingold, recorded at the Met December 16, 1961. Erich Leinsdorf leads, with a top-notch cast headed by a young George London as Wotan. The supporting cast includes major singers early in their careers, Martina Arroyo, Irene Dalis, Mignon Dunn and Rosalind Elias. Andrew Rose's remastering is remarkable. Let us hope the remainder of this Leinsdorf cycle eventually will appear. Pristine surely has given collectors some Wagnerian treasures, in particular the famed 1952 Furrtwängler/Flagstad Tristan, and the same conductor's 1950 Ring from La Scala Check their catalog!

This Met broadcast which fits onto two totally-filled disks, offers the complete Met broadcst with Milton Cross's commentary. The cast is sterling. This ws the first time George London had sung Wotan in Rheingold on stge, although he had recorded it

Leinsdorf also can be heard in the Sony Wagner Met set conduting Lohengrin (January 2, 1943), and an amazing Die Walkür featuring Lauritz Melchior (Februart 17, 1940.

Pristine already has issued a number of major Joan Sutherland recordings including live performances of Lucia di Lammermooor, The Magic Flute, and Handel's Rodelinda Here now is another treasure, the famed L'Oiseau-0Lyre1959 commercial recording of Handel's Acis and Galatea, with a perfect supporting cast and led by Sir Adrian Boult. Also included are two recitals recorded in BBC Studios in 1961 where she is accompanied by Richard Bonynge, piano0harpsichord. Those who purchase this fine set will be abe to download the libretto and score A quality, important issue featuring the legendary coloratura in her prime.

Admirers of Rudolf Serkin surely will wish to investigate this major release that contains the first CD issue of of the pianist's first recording of the Schumann concerto, a live recording from October 19, 1936 with the London Philharmonic conducted by Julius Harrison, a last-minute replacement for an indisposed Sir Hamilton Harty. November 3, 1936 Serkin made his first recording in EMI studios, Beethoven's Appassionata, a youthful, exuberant reading unlike his later versions. It is easy to forget that Serkin was a fantastic technician, very apparent from this exiting reading. We also have another major premiere issue, Busoni's Violin Sonata No. 2 recorded live in Coolidge Auditorium of the Library of Congress January 19, 1940, in which he is joined by his father-in-law Adolf Busch. This is an essential recordings in any Serkin collection, and a unique addition to the famed pianist's recorded legacy issued on Sony and many other labels. As usual, Pristine has done a splendid job in making old recordings sound almost like new.

R.E.B. (September 2018)