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Since 1972

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Yves St Laurent presents

LEONARD WARREN’s 1959 Met Opera RIGOLETTO,

his final Rigoletto at the Met. . .

ALEXANDER BRAILOWSKY . . .

TENNSTEDT, Vols. 26 & 27. . .

plus new titles on‘sale’





This Week's Offerings:

  • KLAUS TENNSTEDT Cond. Detroit S.O.: Siegfried Idyll; Meistersinger – Prelude; w.JESSYE NORMAN & RICHARD KNESS: Tannhauser & Die Walkure – Excerpts (all Wagner), Live Performance, 26 July, 1979, Meadow Brook Music Festival. (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL T-858. Transfers by Yves St Laurent. (C1735)

    “A prominent American soprano, Jessye Norman won the Munich Competition in 1968, leading to her operatic debut as Elisabeth in Wagner's TANNHAUSER in Berlin. A major European operatic career quickly developed: she appeared as Meyerbeer's L'Africaine at Maggio Musicale in Florence in 1971, Verdi's Aida at La Scala in Milan in 1972, and as Cassandra in Berlioz's LES TROYENS at London's Covent Garden the same year. These roles are all princesses and bespeak a major part of her stage persona, a commanding and noble bearing, partly due to her uncommon height and size. But this is even more a function of her unique, rich, and powerful voice. She has an uncommonly wide range, encompassing all female voice registers from contralto to high dramatic soprano.

    She made an extensive North American concert debut in 1976 and 1977, but did not appear in opera in the United States until 1982. This was with the Opera Company of Philadelphia, in a double bill as Dido in Purcell's DIDO AND AENEAS and Queen Jocasta in Stravinsky's OEDIPUS REX. Her Metropolitan Opera debut was as Cassandra in 1983, the opening night of the Met's centennial season.

    In addition to the direct and emotionally expressive qualities of her singing, her performances also impress through formidable intellectual understanding of the music and its style, as well as first-rate musicianship. She studies the languages of the music she sings, and has been acclaimed in her singing of Mussorgsky songs in the original Russian, in the German Romantic lieder repertoire, and in French music from Berlioz to contemporary composers.”


  • - Joseph Stevenson, allmusic.com






  • RIGOLETTO, Live Performance, 28 March, 1959, w.Cleva Cond. Met Opera Ensemble; Leonard Warren, Roberta Peters, Eugenio Fernandi, Margaret Roggero, William Wilderman, Norman Scott, etc. [This riveting performance was Warren's final Rigoletto at the Met, his very last one being two months afterward on the Met Tour in Toronto, 29 May] (Canada) 2-St Laurent Studio YSL T-864. Transfers by Yves St Laurent. (OP3314)



    “There are at least four recordings of RIGOLETTO available with Leonard Warren in the title role, as well there should be since he virtually owned the part during his long Met career. That the career should have been even longer is demonstrated by this performance, given about a year before Warren’s horrifying on-stage death at the Met in LA FORZA DEL DESTINO. The strong, vibrant baritone heard here demonstrates how well he was singing up to the end….By 1959 his middle range had loosened a bit in focus (but only a bit); on the other hand, his ability as a vocal actor had increased with the years. As much as I love [his] 1945 performance, I would not be without this one. There are elements of dramatic shading here, vividly conveying Rigoletto’s scorn and hatred of the courtiers and his tender love for his daughter, that make this portrayal much more than great singing. The decrescendo Warren manages before launching into ‘Sì vendetta’ does not come off like a vocal trick but convincingly depicts a man trying to control, for his daughter’s sake, an almost uncontrollable rage. The dramatic pauses the singer puts in his entrance in the third act, ‘La la, la la…’, are wonderful touches reflecting the internal conflict of a jester who is entertaining the courtiers while hating them. Throughout, Warren colors his voice with a specificity aimed at the particular dramatic moment. He did not always do this (the same quality is missing from his 1950 studio recording for RCA). Everything about this performance is the summing up of a professional lifetime with the role, both in vocal splendor and dramatic insight.

    Roberta Peters sang 513 performances at the Met between 1950 and 1985, and such a career can be easily taken for granted. It is true that she lacks the kind of detailed vocal coloration and specificity of inflection that Maria Callas brought to the role of Gilda, but so does virtually everyone else. Peters, in addition to a pure, bright, evenly produced soprano, quite effective conveys Gilda’s naivete and at the same time the steel-like determination that ultimately leads to her death as she tries to protect the Duke. The ‘Si vendetta’ duet referred to above is explosive between daughter and father because both singers let their emotions pour out. And I have heard very few more beautiful performances of ‘Caro nome’ than the one captured here, with an exquisite high E at the end.

    Tenor Eugenio Fernandi had the misfortune of singing at a time when there were always greater voices competing in the same fach. He sang at the Met in eight seasons between 1958 and 1971. Here is a list of some of the singers with whom Fernandi’s career overlapped: Jussi Bjorling, Carlo Bergonzi, Richard Tucker, Mario del Monaco, Nicolai Gedda, Cesare Valletti, and in his last years gentlemen named Domingo and Pavarotti. In the same second tier where Fernandi lived, the other tenants were Daniele Barioni, Barry Morell, Giuseppe Campora, and Flaviano Labo. Fernandi had a lovely spinto tenor voice that could be comfortable in lighter roles as well as heavier ones (his one complete opera on commercial disc was as Calaf to Maria Callas’ Turandot for EMI). He knew the style intimately and was a fine musician. His Duke reflects all of those virtues, though there is nothing about it that one would call unforgettable. His voice may be that of a generic Italian tenor; but he never detracts from the performance by emitting an ugly or inappropriate sound.

    Small roles are well cast for the most part, and the performance employs the cuts that were standard at the time. Fausto Cleva was an uneven conductor who could be counted on, however, to know the idiom and support his singers well without being memorably dramatic or imaginative. He did rise above that level of competency on occasion (as in a 1954 Met broadcast of OTELLO with del Monaco and de los Angeles), but not so much here. In addition, there is an occasional moment of orchestral chaos (a scramble leading into Rigoletto’s ‘Cortigiani’ is one example) or a lack of cohesion between stage and pit. Still, Cleva does keep things moving along and gives the music shape.

    In sum, this is a splendid example of the powers of one of America’s greatest operatic baritones still at the peak of his abilities, and with him we hear one of America’s most important and under-rated coloratura sopranos. St. Laurent Studio’s transfer is up to its usual superb quality, reflecting the Met’s generally fine monaural broadcast sound in the late 1950s. There are no notes but ample tracking information and documentation.”


  • - Henry Fogel, FANFARE






  • KLAUS TENNSTEDT Cond. Chicago Orchestra: Symphony #7 in E (Bruckner), Live Performance, 3 May & 2 June, 1984. (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL T-871. Transfers by Yves St Laurent. (C1736)



    “Tennstedt's Bruckner is something magical, even transcendental. His sympathy with Bruckner's sprawling spiritual visions, and his ability to communicate all the halting-steps progress of the journey from doubt to reaffirmation that is at the core of all of Bruckner's music, can be awe-inspiring.”


  • - Thor Eckert Jr., CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR






  • ALEXANDER BRAILOWSKY, w.Fricsay Cond. RIAS S.O.: Piano Concerto #1 in e (Chopin), Live Performance, 1952, Berlin [Brailowsky's Chopin is from a long-lost world of aesthetics. It truly breathes . . . and renders one breathless!]; w.Boult Cond. RDF S.O.: Piano Concerto in a (Schumann), Live Performance, 18 Sept., 1955, Montreux, Switzerland. (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL T-900. Transfers by Yves St Laurent. (P1316)


    One reviewer noted at the end of Mr. Brailowsky's Chopin series in New York in 1938 that ‘there are few enough pianists who have the prodigious memory, the physical strength, the comprehensive technique required for such an undertaking; there are far fewer who have - plus all these - the requisite musicianship’. ‘Mr. Brailowsky’, the review added, ‘is one of these latter few’.



    As guest soloist with major symphony orchestras, Mr. Brailowsky was noted for his large repertory. He also recorded works by Chopin, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Scarlatti, Schumann and many others for RCA Victor. And in a series of 17 recitals in eight weeks in Buenos Aires he never repeated a single work.

    Mr. Brailowsky made his debut in New York in 1924 in Aeolian Hall. At the time, Olin Downes of THE NEW YORK TIMES described the youthful pianist as a ‘born virtuoso in the highest sense of that word. He feels instinctively the resources of the piano and makes of it an instrument that sings and throbs with color’. Six years later, the same reviewer found Mr. Brailowsky to be ‘a Chopin interpreter to the manner born’. Other critics had reservations about his tone and interpretations, especially as the Romantic mannerisms Mr. Brailowsky always espoused fell out of fashion."


  • - THE NEW YORK TIMES, 26 April, 1976








    . . . REPEATED . . . FROM THE RECENT PAST . . .








  • VLADO PERLEMUTER: Ravel Recital (featuring the latter's Sonatine, Gaspard de la nuit & Miroirs). (Canada) 2-St Laurent Studio YSL T-813, Broadcast Performances, April - June, 1952, Paris, w.broadcast announcements throughout these recitals. Transfers by Yves St Laurent. (P1315)



    “This volume features a special series of radio programs called RAVEL D'APRES RAVEL. The program was broadcast in 1952 to mark the 15th anniversary of Ravel's death. The host of the program, Helene Jourdan-Morhange, was a violinist and known as Ravel's Muse (Ravel dedicated his Violin Sonata to her) and she had a very close relationship with Ravel. And Perlemuter, as we know, studied with the composer extensively at his home in 1927. So this is why this program is called RAVEL D'APRES RAVEL. Both the host and the pianist knew Ravel, and the program goes like this: the two would first discuss how Ravel taught Perlemuter to play one of his piano works, and then Perlemuter played it in complete format. This is why this volume has quite extensive dialogues in French before each track. Later Jourdan-Morhange and Perlemuter published the whole discussion in a book with the same name (https://www.amazon.com/Ravel-dapre%CC%80s-Collection-musique-French/dp/290463178X). This book is a ‘must-read’ for all Ravel researchers and piano students learning his works.”


  • - Jim Tang




  • WILLEM MENGELBERG Cond. Le Grand Orchestre de Radio-Paris: Anacreon – Overture (Cherubini); Symphony in d (Franck); w.PAUL TORTELIER: Cello Concerto in b (Dvorak). (Canada) 2-St Laurent Studio YSL 78-819, Broadcast Performance, 16 Jan., 1944, with most enthusiastic applause & Mengelberg’s vaguely audible comments to the Orchestra. Transfers by Yves St Laurent. (C1733)

    “…Mengelberg…is the subject…devoted to late wartime French Radio Broadcasts that were discovered in, of all places, a flea market! The[se] 1944 recordings were taken down on acetate-covered aluminium Pyral discs…from 16 January opening with a red-blooded Anacreon Overture, followed a relatively young Paul Tortelier projecting at white heat onto Dvorak’s Concerto – a truly virtuoso account.”


  • - Rob Cowan, GRAMOPHONE, Awards Issue, 2009




  • JEAN MARTINON Cond. Chicago Orchestra: Symphony #10 in F-sharp (Mahler). (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL T-873, Live Performance, 19-20 May, 1966, Orchestra Hall. Transfers by Yves St Laurent. (C1734)

    "After Deryck Cooke released his performing edition of Mahler’s unfinished Tenth Symphony in the Sixties, the rush was on to conduct it. Alma Mahler had at first disapproved of Cooke’s efforts, but with her blessing his completed edition was premiered by Berthold Goldschmidt at the BBC Proms in the summer of 1964. There were further revisions after Alma died that December and her daughter Anna gave Cooke access to manuscript sketches that hadn’t been previously published. When Jean Martinon performed the work with the Chicago Symphony in 1966, only the original Cooke edition was available (he worked on Cooke II, as it is known, between 1966 and 1972 in collaboration with the composers and brothers David and Colin Matthews).

    A glance at Martinon’s total timing will raise eyebrows. Using the same version, Eugene Ormandy’s recording for Columbia Records takes 70 minutes, and Simon Rattle’s acclaimed account with the Berlin Philharmonic using Cooke’s final version takes over 77 minutes. When listening to Martinon, the sense of added speed is most pronounced in the first two movements, the all-but-finished Adagio and the first Scherzo. There’s an effect of urgency in both, but it is really in the Adagio that Martinon makes us hear the music quite differently. By taking only 21 minutes where Klaus Tennstedt takes 28 minutes (EMI/Warner), Claudio Abbado 24 minutes, and Leonard Bernstein 26 minutes (both DG), Martinon transforms the Adagio from tragic solemnity to a heightened struggle between light and darkness, beginning in lyricism, ending in panic.

    The chief excitement of this performance derives from the same urgency throughout the first four movements. The virtuosity of the CSO keeps us on the edge of our seats, not with Solti’s volatile pressure but with much more variety of mood and tone. World-class orchestras can convey an ease in their technical prowess, making everything sound effortless. Solti rarely called upon this quality in his Mahler (almost the opposite); Martinon does. Tension and release proceed naturally, and the result is more musical than with Solti’s relentless driven power.

    The great revelation of Cooke’s first version was the finale, which had seemed too sketchy to turn into finished music. Various other completions alter the character of this movement fairly drastically by clothing it in very different orchestration. Rattle can afford a very slow timing of 24 minutes thanks to the eloquent first-desk soloists in the Berlin Philharmonic. Martinon had the same advantage but is four minutes faster, making the pace more flowing - the tempo feels more like a true Adagio, however, than the first movement, so the finale is now the Symphony’s slow movement. Martinon also cuts through the controversy over the bass drum thwacks at the outset by simply asking for ordinary drum strokes, neither startling cannon shots nor muffled funeral drums, which were the original inspiration.

    What we have, then, is an important addition to the Tenth Symphony’s discography, and gratitude is owed to St. Laurent Studio’s new release, since the original release was the CSO’s centennial box set of 12 CDs in 1990, always expensive and now out of print. It is Martinon and not Pierre Boulez who deserves to be considered the first major Mahler exponent from France, and it helps cement his reputation that St. Laurent Studio also released an excellent Mahler Third from Chicago recorded in 1967 (reviewed in FANFARE 43:2). Serious Mahler collectors will want to hear both. The source material comes from WFMT radio broadcasts and is excellent for its time.”


  • - Huntley Dent, FANFARE






  • DIMITRI MITROPOULOS Cond. NYPO, w.PIETRO SCARPINI: Piano Concerto #2 in g - Live Performance, 7 Nov., 1954, Carnegie Hall; w.GINA BACHAUER: Piano Concerto #3 in C - Live Performance, 29 Jan., 1956, Carnegie Hall (both Prokofiev). [Without a moment's hesitation, this is one of the greatest issues from St Laurent Studio, in superb sound!] (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL T-854. Transfers by Yves St Laurent. (C1730)

    “Dimitri Mitropoulos was highly esteemed and unfortunate at the same time. A charismatic conductor who was also gay, he was outshone by his even more charismatic protege, Leonard Bernstein, whose sexuality came out of the closet at a more propitious time. As inspiring as Mitropoulos could be, he left too few commercial releases that fully convey this - Columbia Records laid down none of his Mahler in New York, for example. I’ve also heard a handful of live recordings that feature miserably lax ensemble; he was no Szell or Reiner. Yet even with sonic limitations - and the present release of two Prokofiev piano concertos has its fair share - few conductors of the time are as fascinating in retrospect.

    The star attraction here is Gina Bachauer’s scintillating reading of the Prokofiev Third Piano Concerto, and although I only knew Pietro Scarpini by name (barely), no pianist would attempt the treacherously difficult Prokofiev Second Piano Concerto who didn’t feel confident about pulling it off. Before delving further, I’ll underline that Mitropoulos plays a major part in the success of both performances, and they are eminently listenable as historic monaural broadcasts once you make allowances.

    Although he was associated specifically with Russian music, one of Mitropoulos’ great triumphs was the American premiere of Shostakovich’s Symphony #10 with the New York Philharmonic, the orchestra he first conducted in 1942, then becoming its co-conductor with Leopold Stokowski in 1949 before rising to music director in 1951. Mitropoulos made a studio recording of excerpts from Romeo and Juliet (Sony), along with an exciting live Symphony #5 with the Vienna Philharmonic (Orfeo) to support his excellence in Prokofiev.

    Under him the Prokofiev Second Concerto sounds as if it came from a steely modernist and a survivor of Stalinist horrors (even though the score dates to 1912–13; Prokofiev also started sketching in Concerto #3 during this time). Modern readings lighten the textures and do not tread as ominously as Mitropoulos and Scarpini do. I don’t mean that this power is carried too far into heavy plodding. The electricity in Prokofiev’s piano writing comes through with skill from the soloist. Scarpini, who was born in Rome in 1911 and lived until 1997, has the fingers, stamina, and star power to embrace the long cadenza in the first movement and the exhausting, continuous passagework in the Scherzo. There’s enormous musical character to relish here. The Intermezzo is full of drollery and suspense juxtaposed, while the finale, on the surface a taxing moto perpetuo, is given all manner of shading and inflection. The sound, which I assume came from a radio broadcast in Carnegie Hall, puts the piano forward enough so that the soloist is clear, but naturally modern recordings are much fuller in the orchestra.

    Gina Bachauer was Greek, like Mitropoulos, and had a major international career, but I must confess that I have heard few of her recordings. She was in her early forties for this concert from Carnegie Hall in 1956. She is riveting, fully matching Mitropoulos for attention-grabbing passion, brio, and imagination - the two are on fire. But without such strong conducting, which wrings new excitement and shifting moods from a thrice-familiar score, the performance wouldn’t exist. Unfortunately, the sound is patchier and thinner than in the previous performance. The trick is to imagine that you are sitting at your kitchen table listening to a thrilling concert over a tabletop AM radio. I’ve had great musical experiences under those conditions, and this is another one. Highly recommended as a fine addition to the Mitropoulos discography.”


  • - Huntley Dent, FANFARE






  • ARTURO TOSCANINI Cond. New York Philharmonic, w. Rosa Tentoni, Charles Kullman, Rose Bampton, Ezio Pinza and the New York Schola Cantorum: Beethoven Symphonies Nos. 6, 8, 9; Leonore Overture #3. (Canada) 2-Immortal Performances IPCD 1104, with 1936 broadcast commentary by Davidson Taylor. Published in association with the Toscanini Estate. Transfers by Richard Caniell. The handsome booklet features Notes by Robert Matthew-Walker, John Sullivan & Richard Caniell). [Additional copies are already under way from British Columbia; our initial batch sold out in one day] (C1731)

    “In my review of the superb Immortal Performances release of Toscanini’s Victor studio recordings with the NY Philharmonic (IPCD 1087-3) [C1582]), I discussed the value of these discs, vis-a-vis their more famous counterparts with the NBC Symphony Orchestra: ‘The Toscanini-NYPO recordings document a conductor at the height of his energy and powers and able to call upon the benefit of a lifetime of experience, leading one of the world’s great ensembles, also at the peak of its artistry. To be sure, the attributes of Toscanini’s famous NBC SO recordings are present here as well: the breathtaking precision of execution, a lyrical, singing tone, a magnificent grasp of a work’s proportion and architecture, and perhaps above all, a stunning drive and momentum. But the NYPO recordings document a Toscanini far more willing to explore expansive tempos, as well as a liberal application of rubato, and even string portamento. Indeed, I often wonder how many who are unfamiliar with these recordings would first identify Toscanini as the conductor’. To be sure, the NY Philharmonic studio recordings are of the utmost musical and historical value. But we should bear in mind that Toscanini, who began his conducting career in 1886, was always first and foremost a man of the theater and concert hall, not the recording studio. In order to gain a more complete understanding of Toscanini’s craft, the ability to study his in-concert performances, including those with the NY Philharmonic, is a priceless gift. The new Immortal Performances Beethoven set provides such a gift. In his Recording Notes for the new set, Richard Caniell discusses the challenges involved in restoring the source material, a challenge enhanced by broadcast engineers who often failed to capture an accurate, realistic, and detailed sound document. And to be sure, these 1935-36 broadcasts are far from the sonic equal of the magnificent Toscanini NY-Philharmonic studio recordings (1926, 1929-36). That said, Richard Caniell has done remarkable work to restore these off-the-air recordings (each more than 80 years old!) to a state that will provide great pleasure to any listener with a tolerance for historic sound documents.

    The performances themselves, like the contemporaneous studio NY Philharmonic studio recordings, showcase a remarkable musical partnership. The opening Leonore #3, taken from an April 26, 1936 broadcast, is representative of the performances on this set as a whole. Toscanini adopts a broad tempo and flexible phrasing for the Adagio introduction, and elicits playing of remarkable lyricism and beauty. This, in turn, makes the ensuing Allegro all the more dramatic and impactful. And speaking of impact, the NY Philharmonic players under Toscanini achieve a sonority of far more warmth and depth throughout than do their NBC counterparts. As a result, Toscanini’s monumental, razor-sharp attacks have a far greater (even visceral) impact in the NY Philharmonic performances featured here. Indeed, it is a singular thrill to hear an orchestra of such tonal richness and beauty play with this kind of hairpin precision. Even though the November 4, 1939 NBC broadcast of the Leonore #3 proceeds within similar parameters as the NY Philharmonic 1936 performance, it is the latter that (despite inferior recorded sound) repeatedly gives me goose bumps. The remaining performances are on a similarly grand level. The ‘Pastoral’ Symphony, taken from a February 3, 1935 performance, strikes an ideal balance between the work’s lyrical and more dramatic elements. Two years later, Toscanini made a famous HMV studio recording of the ‘Pastoral’ with the BBC Symphony Orchestra (both versions omit the first movement’s exposition repeat). The BBC recording is justly admired, but the 1935 NY Philharmonic performance strikes me as having an even freer and more flexible approach to phrasing. Perhaps this is a product of the latter’s origin as a live concert. The remainder of the set features a complete March 8, 1936 Carnegie Hall program, including the Beethoven Eighth and Ninth Symphonies. The Eighth receives a brilliant performance, executed to perfection. Toscanini was perhaps the greatest interpreter of Verdi’s operatic comic masterpiece, FALSTAFF. The Maestro understood that in FALSTAFF, Verdi employed techniques previously found in his tragic works, but now to grand comic effect. So it is with the Beethoven Eighth, and once again Toscanini rises to the challenge. Every comic moment is savored to its utmost, but never at the expense of the work’s overall momentum. In the Ninth, Toscanini contrasts blazing renditions of the first two movements with a third-movement Adagio that, taken at a relaxed tempo, and played with radiant tone, is arrestingly beautiful. As in the February 6, 1938 NBC Carnegie Hall performance of the Ninth (IPCD 1079-2 [C1556]), Toscanini emphasizes the dramatic (even operatic) conflict of the opening measures, setting the stage for the radiant ‘Ode to Joy’ melody. The great Italian bass Ezio Pinza, in magnificent form, heralds the arrival of the vocal soloists. If the vocal quartet is not overall quite the equal of the 1938 NBC soloists, they acquit themselves admirably, as does the Schola Cantorum. This is a great performance of a work Toscanini adored and spent his entire life exploring, with the hope of doing it justice. The new Immortal Performances restoration strikes me as having a warmer, more transparent acoustic [than any previous issue], and would be my first choice.

    The March 8, 1936 concert includes broadcast commentary by Davidson Taylor. The accompanying booklet includes a thoughtful and eloquent essay by Robert Matthew-Walker on Toscanini and Beethoven, conductor John Sullivan’s highly detailed and informative analysis of the recordings (with comparisons to other Toscanini versions), and Richard Caniell’s aforementioned commentary. Toscanini’s approach to conducting was in a lifelong state of constant self-reflection and evolution. If you are interested in exploring Toscanini’s way with Beethoven during the 1930s, I think the 1939 NBC cycle (IPCD 1064-10 [C1685]), wonderful renditions in very fine sound, offers the marvelous starting point. But the performances included on this Immortal Performances release offer a priceless window into the unique magic Toscanini and the NY Philharmonic achieved in this iconic repertoire, especially in live concert. If you are a devotee of Toscanini and/or historic recordings of Beethoven, this set is a ‘must’.”


  • - Ken Meltzer, FANFARE, Nov. / Dec., 2018






  • SERGE KOUSSEVITZKY Cond. Boston S.O.: Symphony #5 in E-flat - Live Performance, 5 Jan., 1946; Symphony #6 in d - Live Performance, 9 March, 1946 (both Sibelius; both Symphony Hall). (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL 78-845. Transfers by Yves St Laurent. (C1732)

    “To discuss the symphonies…the Sixth is often characterized as the unloved stepchild among the composer’s symphonies. Sibelius himself said of its austere nature: ‘Whereas most other modern composers are engaged in manufacturing cocktails of every hue and description, I offer the public pure cold water’. Almost no-one else gets the work right; typical flaws include misgauging the many complex changes in tempos, particularly in the first and fourth movements, and eviscerating the dramatic tension in the development section of the first movement by failing to accent the upbeat in the accompanying series of four-note phrases in the violins in contrast to the accented downbeat of the main thematic material in the cellos and winds.

    Koussevitzky is one of the very few who truly ‘gets’ this most subtle of symphonies - and remarkably, he does so despite some unorthodox choices in tempos. His is a very fleet account; the slow introduction to the first movement is taken with unusual swiftness, and the Allegretto moderato second movement is definitely more allegro. Even so, he always makes his choices convincing….Above all, Koussevitzky generates tension and drama by purely musical means, without metaphysical overtones, a feat that surely must have pleased the composer if the broadcast ever made it to Finnish radio via transcription discs. From start to finish, there is both a hushed intensity and underlying febrile energy to the proceedings; the piano closings to the first and fourth movements are exquisitely well judged, both dying away into contemplative resignation.

    Koussevitzky’s interpretation in [the Fifth and Sixth Symphonies] is one of explosive power; here nature does not just teem and buzz with rustling flora and forest insects, but instead erupts with woodland and water pagan deities surging in wild abandon, though the famous sequence of heroic concluding chords is taken in strict meter, as if to re-exert disciplined order and control in the end.

    Simply put, these performances present two of the most powerfully affecting and thrilling performances of any Sibelius symphonies I have ever heard. They are absolutely indispensible acquisitions, not just for collectors of historic recordings but for all music lovers who care at all about Sibelius; urgently and emphatically recommended.”


  • - James A. Altena, FANFARE






  • SERGE KOUSSEVITZKY Cond. Boston S.O.: Symphony #2 in D (Sibelius) - Live Performance, 8 Dec., 1945, Milwaukee; Capriccio espagnol (Rimsky-Korsakov), Live Performance, 27 Oct., 1945, Symphony Hall. (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL 78-844. Transfers by Yves St Laurent. (C1727)





  • SERGIU CELIBIDACHE Cond. London S.O.: The Midsummer Marriage - Ritual Dances (Tippett), Live Performance, 10 April, 1980; SERGIU CELIBIDACHE Cond. Lucerne Festival Orch.: Variationen fur Orchester (Schonberg), Live Performance, 14 Aug., 1974. (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL T-835. Transfers by Yves St Laurent. (C1726)





  • CARL SCHURICHT Cond. Statsradiofoniens S.O.: Symphony #7 in E (Bruckner; 1885 Gutmann Version). (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL T-781, Live Performance, 30 Sept., 1954, Copenhagen. Transfers by Yves St Laurent. (C1725)



  • KLAUS TENNSTEDT Cond. Detroit S.O., w.Carol Neblett, Mignon Dunn, Zurab Sotkilava & Paul Plishka: Verdi Requiem. (Canada) 2-St Laurent Studio YSL T-857, Live Performance, 24 June, 1978, Meadowbrook Festival. Transfers by Yves St Laurent. (C1728)



  • NINON VALLIN, w.Liliane Guiraud-Celleier (Pf.): Songs by Schubert, Schumann, Strauss, Rachmaninoff, Tschaikowsky, Obradors, Nin, Buchardo, Pedrell, Faure, Chabrier, Hahn, Debussy & Berlioz. (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL T-778, recorded 1952, Orphee LDO-B 21.025, Radio-Television francaise (including several songs which had not been issued on the original LP), several times featuring Vallin's spoken introductions. [It is extraordinary that these recordings were made at Vallin's age of 66! Quite naturally, the 'juice' is drained from her beautiful voice, but her innate artistry remains intact.] Transfers by Yves St Laurent. (V2606)



  • - Alfred de Cock, THE RECORD COLLECTOR, 2003






  • JEANNE MARIE DE L'ISLE: Songs by Gounod, Massenet, Hahn, Chaminade & Giordano; Arias from Mignon, Carmen, Werther, La Damnation de Faust & Les Dragons de Villars. [An absolute treasure of a recital!] (France) Malibran AMR 184, recorded 1904-06, G & T, Odeon & Zonophone. [AMR titles are issued without rear tray-cards] (V2603)





  • LOUISE KIRKBY LUNN: Songs & Duet (w. John McCormack) by Martini, Quilter, Rubens, Storace, Nevin, Hullah, Brahms, Percy Pitt, Barratt, del Riego, Sullivan, Lassen, Gounod, Arne, Landon Ronald, Barnes, Horn, Temple, Edward German, etc.; Arias, Duets & Enesmble (with Emmy Destinn, John McCormack, Bessie Jones, Eda Bennie, Elsie Williams & Nellie Walker) from Rienzi, Xerxes, Orfeo, Rinaldo, Elijah, St Paul, Messiah, La Clemenza di Tito, Mignon, Carmen, Faust, Don Carlos, La Gioconda, Samson et Dalila, I Gioielli Della Madonna, Aida & Il Trovatore. (Germany) 2-Truesound Transfers 4009, recorded 1902-23. Transfers by Christian Zwarg. (V2604)





  • IN MEMORIAM ALFRED SEISER, incl. Alfred Grunfeld; Marie Gutheil-Schoder; Andre Marechal; Francesco Tamagno; Bela Guttmann; Mizzi Gunther; Alexander Girardi; Aennie Dirkens; Johannes Semfke [better-known as Johannes Sembach]; Emil Winter-Tymian; Carl W. Drescher; Rudolph Hofbauer; Celestina Boninsegna [unknown recording]; Arthur Preuss; Leopold Demuth; Betty Schubert; Erik Schmedes [unknown test - Tristan]; Else Gieger & Oskar Braun; Karl Meister; Leo Slezak; Hermine Kittel; Josefina Huguet, Fernando De Lucia & Antonio Pini-Corsi; Alexis Boyer; Beatrix Kernic; Hermann Bachmann; Vilma Medgyaszay [the very young cabaret singer Medgyaszay, before her recordings with Bartok]; Grete Forst; Louis Treumann & Elli Wolf; Lucie Konig; Terez Krammer [not totally unlike the same composer's 'Hunyadi Laszlo']; Franz Wolfert; Maria Galvany [displaying a solid legato and full-bodied warm tone for the most part of this otherwise unknown and untraceable Pietro Duffau waltz song, easily mistaken for an early electric recording!]; Hermann Schramm; Elisabeth Ohlhoff; Fritz Werner; Leonid V. Sobinov; Joseph Josephi; Mizzi Günther, Lizzi Latour & Louis Treumann; Paul Knupfer; Karel Burian; Torsten Lennartsson; August Bockmann; Laszlo Asszonyi; Eleanor Jones-Hudson & Peter Dawson; Ernest Pike & Peter Dawson; Sydney Coltham [I'll sing thee songs of Araby]; Fiorello Giraud [a real curiosity that this creator of Canio never thought of recording any of that character's music which would surely have suited his Latin temperament and vocal equipment much better than this quintessentially French 'Jocelyn!], etc. [Spectacular audio restorations which are so startlingly clear and lifelike, living proof that even the earliest type of gramophone was very well able to record bowed and plucked string instruments, and certainly the human voice!] (Germany) 2-Truesound Transfers 4010, recorded 1899-1917. Transfers by Christian Zwarg. (V2602)













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    BOOKS ON SALE





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    “Books have become our lonely stepchildren! By spending so many hours constantly revising our thousands of CDs we realize we have paid scant attention to our BOOKS ON SALE, thus many have been added (with more appearing), accompanied by greatly reduced prices! Have a glance at our SALE section - for BOOKS!









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    SMARTER THAN BOTH OF US ! ! !
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    We are grateful to so many of our readers who continue to note that our once-regular use of accent marks have become rather erratic. Due to the ever-growing popular use of ‘Smart’ Phones, Google automatically and frequently is restricting such marks, as well as that which we consider regular punctuation. In compliance with Google’s restrictive demands, as well as the fact that such complicated listings will require too long a period during which to download, or may not succeed in downloading at all, most of our newer listings are deleting such marks, much to our sense of loss. While our older listings so far retain such marks, we are informed that it won’t be long before they too automatically will be amended. We certainly take pride in our presentation, but are being compelled to adapt to another loss of style in these fast-paced times! We very sincerely appreciate so many of your valued comments and commiseration!!!





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    . . . numerous out-of-print CDs and LPs,

    [many sealed copies of numerous out-of-print

    additions: The Record Collector, Naxos, VRCS,

    Issues of Symposium's Harold Wayne series,

    Romophone, GOP & many Met Opera

    broadcasts & operas from Moscow’s Aquarius, plus

    numerous lesser-known operas have been added

    throughout our listings, in appropriate categories . . .

    out-of-print books [many biographies,

    Record Catalogue-Discographies . . .

    numerous CDs are added each week] . . .





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    Our 50% Discount Sale continues,

    now offering more than 2500 titles . . .





    ------------------ ANNOUNCEMENT -----------------



    Auction #150 Is Now Closed ! ! !


    Norbeck, Peters & Ford's Annual 78rpm Auction is now closed!

    Norbeck, Peters & Ford's new 78rpm AUCTION #150 is now still online for your perusal
    closing date is this Friday, 17 May.

    To view the online version simply click the link below:

    Auction #150 Online Catalog

    To download a copy of Auction #150, simply click the link below:

    Auction #150 Catalog File Download

    This auction has been applied online in various sections in order to facilitate faster loading, especially on mobile phones.

    We appreciate you taking the time to review our new auction. To place your bids and include us as a trusted source to compliment your collections.



    For the recently-offered Archipel, Myto, Gebhardt, Walhall, Melodiya, Vista Vera & Living Stage titles on sale, simply visit our sale section of our website). This is the ideal opportunity at bargain prices to fill in gaps in one's collection.

    . . . For the Opus Kura,

    Archipel, Myto, Walhall, Gebhardt &

    Living Stage titles on sale,

    simply visit our

    sale section of our website . . .



    Once again . . .

    Welcome to our new bookshop & list of Original Cast LPs, www.norpete.com where you will see a vast array of excellent, used out-of-print books. You're sure to find many books of interest which may have long eluded you, so now is your opportunity to fill in missing gaps. Our online bookshop includes composer and performer autobiographies and biographies. Soon we will include musical criticism, theory and history, plus histories of symphony orchestras, opera houses and festivals. In addition, we shall offer quite an array of vocal scores, many of which are most rare and unusual.

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  • Klaus Tennstedt, Vol. XXVI;  Jessye Norman & Richard Kness  (St Laurent Studio YSL T-858)
    C1735. KLAUS TENNSTEDT Cond. Detroit S.O.: Siegfried Idyll; Meistersinger - Prelude; w.JESSYE NORMAN & RICHARD KNESS: Tannhäuser & Die Walküre - Excerpts (all Wagner), Live Performance, 26 July, 1979, Meadow Brook Music Festival. (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL T-858. Transfers by Yves St Laurent.
    $19.90
    Rigoletto  (Warren [his final Rigoletto at the Met], Peters, Fernandi)   (2-St Laurent Studio YSL T-864)
    OP3314. RIGOLETTO, Live Performance, 28 March, 1959, w.Cleva Cond. Met Opera Ensemble; Leonard Warren, Roberta Peters, Eugenio Fernandi, Margaret Roggero, William Wilderman, Norman Scott, etc. [This riveting performance was Warren's final Rigoletto at the Met, his very last one being two months afterward on the Met Tour in Toronto, 29 May] (Canada) 2-St Laurent Studio YSL T-864. Transfers by Yves St Laurent.
    $39.95
    Klaus Tennstedt, Vol. XXVII  (Bruckner 7th - Chicago)  (St Laurent Studio YSL T-871)
    C1736. KLAUS TENNSTEDT Cond. Chicago Orchestra: Symphony #7 in E (Bruckner), Live Performance, 3 May & 2 June, 1984. (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL T-871. Transfers by Yves St Laurent.
    $19.90
    Alexander Brailowsky;  Fricsay;   Boult   (St Laurent Studio YSL T-900)
    P1316. ALEXANDER BRAILOWSKY, w.Fricsay Cond. RIAS S.O.: Piano Concerto #1 in e (Chopin), Live Performance, 1952, Berlin [Brailowsky's Chopin is from a long-lost world of aesthetics. It truly breathes . . . and renders one breathless!]; w.Boult Cond. RDF S.O.: Piano Concerto in a (Schumann), Live Performance, 18 Sept., 1955, Montreux, Switzerland. (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL T-900. Transfers by Yves St Laurent.
    $19.90