SAUBT-SAËNS: Excerpts from Carnival of the Animals (Philadelphia Orch/Leopold Stokowski, cond.) (rec. Sept. 1929 in the Academy of Music, Philadelphia). STRAVINSK: Excerpts from Le sacre duprintemps (Philadelphia Orch/Leopold Stokowski, cond. (rec. Sept. 1929). TCHAIKOVSKY: Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op. 74 "Pathetique." (Boston Symphony Orch/Serge Koussevitzky, cond. (rec. 14-16 April 1930 in Symphony Hall, Boston). RAVEL: Boléro (Boston Symphony Orch/Serge Koussevitzky, cond. (rec. April 14, 1930). ELGAR: Excerpt from Cockaigne Overture (BBC Symphony Orch/Sir Edward Elgar, cond.) (rec. April 11, 1933 in Abbey Hall Studio, London).

TCHAIKOVSKY: Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor, Op. 23.(Van Cliburn, piano/RCA Victor Symphony Orch/Kiril Kondrashin, cond. (Tchaikovsky)(rec. Carnegie Hall May 30, 1958). SHOSTAKOVICH: Cello Concerto No. 1 in E flat, Op. 107 . Mstislav Rostropovich, cello/Czech Philharmonic Och/Kiril Kondrashin, cond. (rec. May 29, 1960).

Musc of Lehár, Von Suppe, Bach, Haydn, Handel, Korngold, Puccini, Sibelius, Mozart, Vivaldi and Verdi
Elisabeth Schwazkopf, sop. with various orch/cond.
GALA 1008290 (2 disks) P.T.: 78:47 & 78:01

Those intrigued by the art of recording surely will welcome this fascinating CD from Pristine called "Accidental Stereo." It was found that often even eight decades ago when some recordings were made there was a backup made on another turntable, on some occasions with a different microphone input. As a result, some recordings were actually two-channel, if not really stereo, and up until now it has been virtually impossible to experience the two channels simultaneously. Master product er Mark Obert-Thorn, using latest sophisticated technology and time-consuming patience, has recreated two-channel recordings; it seems those heard here might be the only ones that had different microphone inputs. You can read MOT's insightful comments on Pristine's WEBSITE. Repertory and recoding dates are listed above. Most remarkable are the brief excerpts from Carnival of the Animals , and the BBC recording. The Koussevitzky recordings do offer some semblance of "stereo." An intriguing issue, sure to delight collectors.

Pristine has now turned their attention to two important recordings by Kiril Kondrashin, his collaboration with Van Cliburn in Tchaikovsky's Concerto No. 1, and Mstislav Rostropovich in Shostakovich's Cello Concerto No. 1. The Tchaikovsky, recorded in Carnegie Hall March 30, 1958, is a landmark in the recording industry. It was the first classical recording to sell more than a million copies and eventually sold more than three million. And for good reason. The Texas-born pianist was a legend for winning the 1958 First International Tchaikovsky Competition. He insisted that Kondrashin, who had accompanied his performances in Russia, conduct the recording. The Russian live performances are available on video": Rachmaninoff concertos 2 and 3 (REVIEW) and Beethoven Emperor, Brahms No. 2 and the Tchaikovsky (REVIEW). Pristine's XR remastering has provided a richer audio picture easily superior to the manifold previous issues of this major recording. Rostrpovich gave the American premiere of the Shostakovich Concerto No. 1 with Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra. and recorded the work in November 1959, most recently reissues on Sony (REVIEW).. Pristine offers the cellist's second recording from a concert performance May 24, 1960 with the Czech Philharmonic under Kondrashin. This has been reprocessed with effective "ambient stereo." A minute of applause is included.. A major reissue.

Gala's twin-disk set of "rarities" by Elisabeth Schwrzkopf is a treasure making readily available live performances from relatively early in her career. Of particular interest is Luonnotar of Sibelius, a composer usually not associated with the soprano, although she did recorded two of his songs for EMI. The soprano has said of this performance that, "it was the best thing she had ever done in her life." That performance, recorded at the Helsinki Festival in 1955, can be heard on this reissue—and you also can hear it on YOUTUBE. It is an amazing performance indeed. Obviously the famous soprano related closely to this text from and Kalevala about the the creation of the world. Luonnotar is the Spirit of Nature and Mother of the Sea. The text is convoluted and can be found on the internet. Perhaps its best just to consider it Sibelius' hymn to Nature and creation of the world. The score is amazing and of greatest difficult to perform—you will not hear it sung better than Schwarzkopf's illuminating interpretation. Treasures abound here including the famous Marietta's Lied from Die Tote Stadt, excerpts from Madama Butterfly (sung in German), Vivaldi's Gloria and Verdi's Four Sacred Pieces, the latter from a Concertgebouw concert in 1960 with Carlo Maria Giulini conducting. And we also have highlights from Lehár's Paganini and von Suppe's Boccaccio. Audio throughout is excellent for its time. This is an essential set for Schwarzkopf fans.

R.E.B. (September 2014)