BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 4 in B flat, Op. 60. The Creatures
of Prometheus Overture, Op. 43. The Ruins of Athens Overture,
Op. 113. Consecration of the House Overture, Op. 124. Coriolan Overture,
Op. 62. King Stephen Overture,
Op. ll7. Namensfeier Overture, Op. 115.
JOHANN STRAUSS, JR: Die Fledermaus (highlights)
PROKOFIEV: Symphony No. 1 in D, Op. 25 "Classical." DEBUSSY: Ibéria from Images. SAINT-SAËNS: Danse
macabre, Op. 40. STRAUSS: Don Juan,
SMETANA: String Quartet in E minor "From My Life." DOHNÁNYI: String
Quartet No. 2 in D flat, Op. 15. SPIRITUALS (arr. Alfred Pochon): Go
down, Moses: Swing low, sweet chariot. Deep River. PONCHON: Irish Cradle
Song. TRADITIONAL (arr. Pochon): Irish Reel. Sally in our alley (Old
English Tune). Turkey in the Straw.
In the early days of LP, Hermann Scherchen recordings were keenly anticipated by collectors. Now, fortunately, many of his recordings of standard repertory as well as lesser-known works, have been reissued. Here we have his vigorous Beethoven: Symphony No 4 recorded with the Royal Philharmonic in 1954, coupled with six overtures recorded the same year with the Vienna State Opera Orchestra. All were transferred from mint Nixa Westminster LPs. The legendary Scherchen embraced modern music as well as the classics, all presented in his own distinctive style. Collectors should investigate the enterprising Tahra label, operated by René Tremne and the conductor's daughter, Myriam. They have devoted themsleves to reissuing many historic recordings by a wide range of conductors including Scherchen, Furtwängler, Fricsay, Mengelberg, and Van Beinum. Check out their website: TAHRA RECORDS
There was much confusion about the Met production of Die Fledermaus in the 1949-1950 season. Garson Kanin and Howard Dietz supplied direction and text, and the cast included Ljuba Welitsch as Rosalinde, Svet Svanholm as Eisenstein, and Lily Pons as Adele, with Fritz Reiner scheduled to conduct. Reiner disliked the production from the beginning and, perhaps foolishly at the time, switched his recording contract from Columbia to RCA. However, we can be glad he did—just think of the spectacular series of recordings he made for RCA with the Chicago Symphony! As Fledermaus was to be recorded for Columbia's Met Opera series, Rudolf Bing replaced Reiner with Eugene Ormandy, who had conducted little opera previously. A furious Reiner, when he learned he would not be on the podium, said to Ormandy, "I hear that you are going to conduct Fledermaus. Do you know the piece?" The Columbia recording has been issued in a fine Mark Obert-Thorn transfer (REVIEW). RCA, perhaps driven by Reiner, decided to make their own recording using a new version by Ruth and Thomas Martin. RCA wished to use only a single LP, so their version is shortened considerably. Their disk was issued before Columbia's complete recording, and of course the cast was different, as listed above. Reiner is in top form, as are his superb singers.MOT also made this transfer which is an important release—the first time this has been issued other than the original LP / 45 rpm format.
Arturo Toscanini's complete broadcast of March 25, 1950 contains no performances previously unissued. We do have Ben Grauer's announcements including his statement that we will be hearing music by "the contemporary Russian composer, Serge Prokofiev" (after all, this was three years before Prokofiev's death). The dry acoustics of Studio 8H are ever apparent, and orchestral playing is sometimes uneven—but Toscanini admirers doubtless will welcome this.
Collectors will welcome this CD of performances by the Flonzaley Quartet (violinists Adolfo Betti and Alfred Pochon, violist Nicolas Moldavan, and cellist Iwan d'Archambeau). New Yorker Eduard J. de Copper founded the quartet in 1902 when he hired the four players, and named the quartet after his summer home in Switzerland. There is a bit of confusion about the violist. According to Wikipedia, from 1902 to 1917 Ugo Ara held that position, from 1917-1924 Louis Bailey was violist, replaced by Félicien d'Archambeau. However, Nicolas Moldavian is listed as violist in the recordings on this new CD all of which were made from 1926-1929. At any rate, this quartet was a pioneer in the recording industry. They made 32 acoustic and 92 electric recordings for Victor/HMV. Pristine Audio's CD now completes MOT's transfers of Flonzaley Quartet recordings, including lighter fare they played as encores. A welcome issue!
All of these can be obtained from PRISTINE AUDIO
R. E. B. (January 2010)