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Since 1972



The new VRCS issue is here . . .

Yves St Laurent’s spectacular

STOKOWSKI broadcast from Boston . . .

Scribendum’s HORENSTEIN & LEIBOWITZ. . .

and our regular 50% SALE continues



  • VOCAL RECORD COLLECTORS' SOCIETY - 2015 Issue, incl. Eleanor Steber, Vilmos Kertész, Meir Schorr, Madeleine Sibille, Miguel Villabella, Hermine Kittel, Fernand Francell, Vladimir Kastorsky, Josefina Huguet, Francisco Cigada, Dorothy Jardon, Vicente Ballester, Suzanne Brohly, Carlo Walter, Odette le Fontenay, Frances Alda, Simon Edwardsen, Anne Thursfield, Willy Tubiana, Frieda Klink, Tito Schipa, Hans Hotter & Lotte Lehmann. VRCS-2015, recorded 1903-46. Transfers by Seth B. Winner. (V2468)

    “The annual VRCS CD is with us again, and the selection of records provides a fascinating selection of tracks of which few collectors will already posses even a single one….The presentation fully lives up to VRCS’s expected excellence with the usual extensive biographies, photographs and discographical details for all tracks. The transfers are also of the state-of-the-art quality to which Seth Winner always treats us. Only Marston issues equal the VRCS in their technical and presentational quality. Thoroughly recommended.”


  • - Paul Steinson, THE RECORD COLLECTOR, 2015




  • LEOPOLD STOKOWSKI Cond. Boston S.O.: Passacaglia & Fugue in c (Bach); Eagles (Rorem, after Whitman); Prelude & Quadruple Fugue (Hovhaness); Petrouchka - Suite (Stravinsky). (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL T-344, Live Performances, 12 March, 1965 & 16 March, 1964, Symphony Hall, Boston (also featuring broadcast announcer's comments regarding Stokowski's last-minute program change [around EAGLES & Hovhaness], then after Stravinsky). Transfers by Yves St Laurent. (C1426)

    EAGLES', title is taken from Walt Whitman's THE DALLIANCE OF THE EAGLES, a poem Rorem discovered in the 1950s. ‘In September of 1958, at the MacDowell Colony, I composed a nine-minute instrumental interpretation-a memory, rather-of those verses. It purports to relate, in tone, the calm of a poet's country stroll interrupted by an intense sensual disturbance which ultimately subsides, leaving the dreamer alone again-but not quite. Eugene Ormandy gave the first performance the following year, with the Philadelphia Orchestra, on my birthday’."


  • - Ned Rorem


  • JASCHA HORENSTEIN: The Art of Horenstein, incl. Brahms, Strauss, Hindemith & Mahler. (England) 5-Scribendum 511, recorded 1966-72. Final Sealed Copy! (C0282)

    “Most of the great conductors who have been deified on ‘historic’ recordings acquired Olympian status during their lifetimes, then amplified their fame beyond the grave. Jascha Horenstein is another case entirely, a conductor of marginal renown who has generated tremendous cult interest in the [many] years since his death. We finally have an adequate record of one of the most vital, idiosyncratic interpreters of the 20th century.

    Among other things, Horenstein was the greatest Mahler conductor of his generation, perhaps of any generation. His authority in Mahler was challenged only by Leonard Bernstein, and in some ways Horenstein brought his listeners closer to the heart of Mahler's music, rather than the heart of one conductor's experience of it. Performances of Mahler, and of Bruckner, have grown increasingly monumental and monotone in recent years; it is deeply satisfying to go back to Horenstein's flexible, full-voiced, superbly balanced readings, in which the texture is richly varied yet all of a piece. A missionary for these composers decades before they came into fashion, Horenstein never lost his youthful ardor and awe. Whatever score lay before him, Horenstein struck straight to its heart, often sacrificing a polished veneer to draw out his central vision. He was the wandering magician among great conductors, able to summon a great performance under the unlikeliest of circumstances.

    He was born of Jewish parents in Kiev, Ukraine, in 1898 and moved to Vienna with his family while in his teens. He studied violin with Adolf Busch, theory with Joseph Marx and composition with Franz Schreker in Berlin. He made his conducting début in 1923 with the encouragement of Wilhelm Furtwängler, whom he idolized. His ascent was swift: engagements with the Berlin Symphony Orchestra from 1925 to 1928, the Düsseldorf Opera from 1929 to 1933. He made his particular taste known at once: the major work on his début program was, daringly, the Mahler First, and soon after, he made the first complete recording of a Bruckner symphony (the Seventh, with the Berlin Philharmonic). In 1933 Horenstein fled Nazi Germany for Paris, and his career fell into a disarray from which it never quite recovered. For more than a decade, he wandered from orchestra to orchestra, country to country, visiting the Soviet Union, Palestine, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, South America and Mexico. In the early 40s he tried to establish himself in the United States, conducting several concerts with the New York Philharmonic, but made little headway. Big-name orchestras did not warm to his painstaking interpretive demands and often failed to invite him back.

    His reputation finally began to gain luster in the 50s. He led the Paris premiere of Berg's WOZZECK in 1950 and worked frequently with French orchestras, beginning a series of recordings for Vox. The Horenstein cult crystallized when Ernest Fleischmann, as manager of the London Symphony, engaged him as a regular guest conductor. His momentous performance of Mahler's Eighth Symphony in 1959 is often cited as the flash point for the Mahler revival in England. By the 60s, he was finally recording in stereo with major London orchestras. Unicorn issued splendid studio recordings of Mahler's First and Third Symphonies along with important disks of Nielsen, Hindemith and Strauss. Horenstein's Mahler and Bruckner performances were so legendary that young English listeners spent the night outside the concert hall in sleeping bags waiting to hear him. But the grueling tours took their toll, and he died suddenly on 2 April, 1973, shortly after a historic engagement conducting PARSIFAL at Covent Garden.

    Horenstein held in balance two qualities that do not usually appear together: a clear grasp of linear musical structure and a ferocious concentration on individual interpretive moments. On his best days, he found an ideal middle way between the outward energy of Toscanini and the inner expression of Furtwängler. A lifelong student of Indian philosophy, he comprehended the naturalness and transcendence of music in a single breath. Horenstein was most famous for his electrifying effect in live performances, but he was also a canny presence in the recording studio, knowing how to draw the best results from meager resources…. The Mahler First has a furious energy unmatched by any recent rendition….the Mahler Third is superior to all readings before and after. Horenstein's Mahler is free of exaggeration; he never bloats tempos in the manner of Klemperer or Bernstein. He is not afraid to let certain passages play out in an ordinary narrative mode, or to shape climactic moments with an unexpected sensual restraint. Mahler's music, already vehemently expressive at every turn, does not need to have its underlinings underlined.

    Why did this major musician not receive his due? Perhaps because he deliberately avoided the obvious path to posterity. He never sought a permanent appointment, and his temperament would have prevented it. The repertory that meant the most to him became fashionable only in his last years. The selflessness of his devotion to certain precious scores is rare among conductors, for whom the buttressing of the ego at all costs is usually paramount. Devotion shines through many of these recordings, and it colors the famous sentence the conductor uttered on his deathbed: ‘The saddest thing about leaving this earth is never to hear DAS LIED VON DER ERDE again’."


  • - Alex Ross, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 16 Oct., 1994


  • RENÉ LEIBOWITZ: The Art of Leibowitz, incl. Bach, Boccherini, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, Liszt, Wagner, Gade, Grieg, Waldteufel, Borodin, Rimsky-Korsakov, Ippolitov-Ivanov, Moussorgsky, Dvorák, Dinicu, Chopin, de Falla, Franck, Chabrier, Saint-Saëns, Delibes, Meyerbeer, Bizet, Ibert, Auber, Dukas, Pierné, Gounod, Ravel, Debussy, Constant, Offenbach, Sullivan, Waldteufel, Johann Strauss & Leibowitz. (England) 13-Scribendum 510, recorded 1960-62, many in Walthamstow Town Hall in remarkably resplendent sound! [This is a spectacular audiophile edition, with the Mussorgsky items being benchmark performances as well as stunning audiophile recordings!] Final Sealed Copy! (C0032)

    “René Leibowitz was born in Warsaw on 17 February, 1913. Eventually he made Paris his home where he studied composition with Ravel and Schönberg, and also studied orchestration with Ravel. Additionally, he studied composition with Webern and conducting with Pierre Monteux. René Leibowitz made his début as a conductor in 1937 with the Chamber Orchestra of the French Radio in Europe and the United States. In 1944 he taught composition and conducting to many pupils, including Pierre Boulez (composition only), Antoine Duhamel, and Vinko Globokar.

    René Leibowitz's repertoire as a conductor spanned virtually everything, including opera, from the Baroque to the most modern 20th century composers. Leibowitz was also known as an orchestrator. His arrangement and recording of Bach's Passacaglia and Fugue in c minor for double orchestra is just one of the unique achievements of his in this area. His most famous orchestration is his re-orchestration and recording of Mussorgsky's ‘Night on Bare Mountain’. Apparently the maestro had reservations regarding several aspects of the famous Rimsky-Korsakov version. He even made a special trip to Russia to study all the available manuscripts before creating his own rendition. Leibowitz completely eliminated the fanfares, as well as implemented many other orchestral and musical changes. The Leibowitz version ends with a huge crescendo and is quite powerful.

    Leibowitz's conducting repertoire, which spanned virtually everything, is well represented in this comprehensive 13 CD set. Many recordings featured in this set have been available only as downloads. Glorious, inspired, unique interpretations. During the war he was an active member of the French resistance against the Nazis. After WW II, Leibowitz became one of the most sought-after conductors in Europe and his well deserved reputation is extensively represented in this set. This set includes Leibowitz’s acclaimed Beethoven symphonies cycle also noted for attempting to follow very precisely Beethoven's metronome marks.”


  • - Reader’s Digest




    . . . and repeated from last week . . .



  • KLAUS TENNSTEDT Cond. Boston Symphony Orchestra: Symphony #8 in c (Bruckner). (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL T-332, Live Performance, 20 Dec., 1974. [This glorious live performance beautifully displays the splendor of the Symphony Hall acoustic.] Transfers by Yves St Laurent. (C1425)

    “Because he spent the beginning of his career in East Germany, Klaus Tennstedt was virtually unknown in the West until he was in his late 40's. Mr. Tennstedt's first break in North America occurred after the death of Karel Ancerl, the director of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. When the orchestra's managing director, Walter Homburger, went to Europe in search of a replacement, he read some reviews of Mr. Tennstedt's work in Kiel. After hearing him conduct Bruckner's Seventh Symphony, he hired him for a series of Toronto concerts in May 1974. He made his Boston Symphony début later that year. [This outstanding performance {above}, described as a 'once in a lifetime' event, in which Tennstedt gave the Boston audience and radio listeners a positively electrifying account of Bruckner's 8th, is still talked about in Boston to this day! After rehearsing, the orchestra spontaneously broke into applause during a coffee break.]”


    - Allan Kozinn, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 13 Jan., 1998


    "Tennstedt's direction in Boston of Bruckner's Symphony #8 was the stuff from which legends are born. Invitations came from New York, Cleveland, Chicago, and Philadelphia, the other ‘big five’ American orchestras. The amazed conductor made his British début with the London Symphony Orchestra in 1976, prompting additional engagements with the Berlin Philharmonic, the Vienna Philharmonic, and the Paris Orchestra. Tennstedt was honored by becoming the first German conductor to conduct the Israel Philharmonic in 1978, and a year later was engaged by Hamburg's NDR Symphony Orchestra as principal conductor, a position he held until 1981. In 1979, he also became principal guest conductor with the Minnesota Orchestra and, from 1980, he held the same title with the London Philharmonic Orchestra. In 1983, Tennstedt was appointed music director of the London Philharmonic, leading the orchestra in recordings and on tours abroad that won laudatory reviews. In 1983, he made his début with the Metropolitan Opera, leading impressive performances of FIDELIO.

    Eventually, the burdens of celebrity exacted an immense toll. Two hip replacements, radiation treatment for throat cancer, and increasing numbers of cancellations hounded his work. Self-doubt crippled his ability to continue working at the level that had brought him fame. Doctors ordered extended periods of rest, but to little lasting benefit. When he collapsed at a rehearsal in 1987, Tennstedt resigned his post with the LPO, conducting the orchestra infrequently thereafter as conductor laureate.”


  • - Erik Eriksson, allmusic.com




  • CHARLES MÜNCH Cond. Boston S.O.: Anacreon - Overture (Cherubini); Medea's Dance of Vengeance (Barber); Sinfonia sevillana (Turina); w. CLARA HASKIL: Piano Concerto #3 in c (Beethoven); Piano Concerto #20 in d, K.466 (Mozart). (Canada) 2-St Laurent Studio YSL T-313, Live Performances, 3 & 6 Nov., 1956. Transfers by Yves St Laurent. (C1424)

    "Haskil's return visit [to Boston] surpassed all expectations. A series of concerts with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Charles Münch and an appearance at Carnegie Hall created a sensation and were reported in TIME MAGAZINE. Rudolf Eli wrote in the Boston Herald, ‘One of those most magical revelations that occurs in music once in a generation ... the most beautiful performance of Beethoven’s Third Concerto I have ever heard or expect to hear again’.

    I first heard Clara Haskil’s name mentioned by Dinu Lipatti after a recital he gave in Switzerland. When I congratulated him on his Mozart playing, Lipatti said, ‘In two weeks’ time you must hear Clara play Mozart. Then you will realize how far the rest of us are from the truth’. I was young at the time, but the name stuck in my mind. Who was this mysterious Clara?

    As Clara sat down the music materialized as if from nowhere. Her arm seemed to glide over the keyboard without preparation, just as a flat stone skims across the water. This was so typical of her playing; nothing seemed to start or end, and everything became timeless. Admiration and international fame came late in life for Clara Haskil, in a career beset by poor health and the adversities of a world war. Dinu Lipatti described her playing as ‘the sum of perfection on earth’, Wilhelm Backhaus called it ‘the most beautiful in the world’, Tatyana Nikoleyeva burst into tears when she first heard Haskil….”


    - Peter Feuchtwanger


    “Turina was a gentle man who, like Segovia, placed high value on beauty and clarity of thought, and responded to 'programmatic' images; the portrayal of profound tragedy had no place in his music. Although he tried harder than his contemporaries to write in the conventional musical forms, his ‘Sinfonía sevillana’ is a poetic and colourful tone poem rather than a symphony, a French-influenced depiction of aspects of the city of his birth."


  • - Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010




  • ARTURO TOSCANINI Cond. NBC S.O., w.Anne McKnight, Jane Hobson, Erwin Dillon & Norman Scott; Robert Shaw Cond. Collegiate Chorale: Choral Symphony #9 in d (Beethoven), Live Performance, 3 April, 1948. (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL 78-324, (from an original Mary Howard acetate recording). Transfers by Yves St Laurent. (C1423)

  • GERMAINE LUBIN: The Complete Recordings, incl. Songs by Bach, Durante, Schubert, Wolf, Fauré, Debussy & Chopin ; Arias from Der Freischütz, Sigurd, Faust, Tosca, Tristan, Lohengrin, Tannhäuser, Die Walküre, Siegfried & Götterdämmerung; GERMAINE LUBIN & GÉRARD SOUZAY: Duets by Blangini & Leguerney – recorded 1927-54, partially unpublished; LUCIENNE de MÉO: Complete Commercial Recordings, 1928: Arias from Alceste, Der Freischütz & Die Walküre. 2-Marston 52070. Transfers by Ward Marston. Booklet features discographic information, photos & extensive notes by André Tubeuf (Lubin) & Vincent Giroud (de Méo). (V2466)

    “In 1912 Germaine Lubin made her début at the Opéra-Comique, singing Antonia in THE TALES OF HOFFMANN, to an audience which included Claude Debussy and Paul Dukas; she enjoyed a great success. At the Opéra-Comique, Albert Carré gave her the chance to appear in several contemporary operas, including Gabriel Fauré's PÉNÉLOPE (title role). She also sang Charlotte in Jules Massenet's WERTHER and the title role in Gustave Charpentier's LOUISE, and appeared in the world premiere of LE PAYS by Guy Ropartz.

    Lubin made her first appearance at the Paris Opéra in 1915, in Vincent d'Indy's LE CHANT DE LA CLOCHE, and continued to sing there for nearly 30 years. In addition to standard French works, she also found success in the operas of Gluck and Strauss, singing the first French performances of ELEKTRA in 1932. She also created roles for d'Indy, Darius Milhaud, and Henri Sauguet (LA CHARTREUSE DE PARME) and sang the title role in the 1935 revival of ARIANE ET BARBE-BLEUE by Dukas.

    In 1921 Lubin embarked on the series of Wagner roles for which she would be most admired. She performed ARIADNE under Strauss in Vienna, also singing Octavian and Agathe to critical enthusiasm, later taking part in the Paris premieres of DER ROSENKAVALIER in 1927 and ARIADNE AUF NAXOS at the Opéra-Comique in 1943.

    In 1930 she sang Isolde at the Paris Opéra for the first time and met with an ecstatic reception. Her physical beauty - she was tall, slim and blonde - and her strong, even voice made her ideal for the part. She went on to sing it again in Paris in 1938 (this time in German, conducted by Wilhelm Furtwängler), and in London in 1939 (at the invitation of Sir Thomas Beecham). In July 1939 she became the first Frenchwoman to sing Isolde at Bayreuth (under the baton of Victor de Sabata). At Bayreuth, she established friendships with members of the Wagner family.

    Lubin hoped to sing also at the Metropolitan Opera, having been recommended to the Met's management by Kirsten Flagstad. Owing, however, to the outbreak of World War II in 1939, she never sang in the United States. After the German occupation of Paris in 1940, Jacques Rouché sought to re-open the Opéra and invited Lubin to return to sing ALCESTE. This was followed by performances of FIDELIO and DER ROSENKAVALIER, and in 1941 she again sang Isolde, this time with the visiting company of the Staatsoper from Berlin under the direction of Herbert von Karajan.

    In 1950 Germaine Lubin had returned to Paris and sought to resume her career with a recital. Although she met with some sympathy and gave a few further performances, it was a difficult transition, and when in 1953 her son committed suicide she abandoned public performance entirely. For the remainder of her life she became a voice teacher, giving lessons at her home on the Quai Voltaire in Paris. Among her notable pupils was the leading soprano Régine Crespin. Lubin died in Paris in 1979 at the age of 89.

    Lubin had a powerful voice of gleaming tonal splendour. By her own admission she was a forceful and demanding personality, often haughty and distant with other people, and she responded to the heroic dimension of the characters that she portrayed on the operatic stage. ‘I do not like to sing the role of victims’, she said in an interview.

    Although Germaine Lubin became the foremost French dramatic soprano during the 1920s and '30s, and indeed one of the finest opera singers to be heard anywhere during the inter-war period, her performances are not particularly well represented on disc. She recorded in 1929-30 a number of excerpts from her central repertoire, notably her Wagnerian roles as well as TOSCA, DER FREISCHÜTZ and SIGURD. She also recorded a few songs by Schubert, Schumann and her erstwhile admirer Fauré. Among her later recordings from 1944 are two of the earliest featuring the young Gérard Souzay in which they perform duets by Leguerney and Blangini. In the 1950s, she also recorded a couple of songs by Hugo Wolf. In total her recorded legacy amounts to about two dozen items.”


    -Zillah D. Akron


    “[Lucienne (Cléontine) de Méo was a prize-winning student at the Conservatoire Nationale in Paris and made her début at the Paris Opéra in 1927 as Sieglinde. She was very successful in other dramatic roles such as Donna Anna, Aïda, Tosca, Octavian, Alceste, Agathe (DER FREISCHÜTZ) & Marguerite (FAUST). At the height of her career, however, she took her own life.] De Méo’s three recorded sides are a tantalizing testimony to a tragically interrupted career that could have reached great heights. They reveal an attractive, clear soprano voice, evenly produced, capable of sweetness and soft attacks….In all three instances her enunciation is excellent.”


  • - Vincent Giroud, Program Notes


  • JOHN McCORMACK, Vol. XI, The 1924 Acoustic Recordings, incl. Songs by Mozart, Brahms, Rachmaninoff, Strauss, Larchet, Moore, Bridge, Friml, Irving Berlin, Piantadosi, Hirsch & Sanders; w.EMMY DESTINN: ‘Mira la bianca luna’ from Rossini’s LES SOIRÉES MUSICALES. (Germany) Naxos 8.111402, recorded 1924, incl.several Unpublished 'takes'. Transfers by Ward Marston. (V2464)

    “John McCormack’s reputation as one of the greatest of all tenors remains undimmed. The final volume of this acclaimed series focuses on the sequence of acoustically recorded discs made in late 1924. There are memorable encounters with the great violinist Fritz Kreisler and a span of repertoire that includes Brahms - McCormack was tutored by one of the composer’s favourite interpreters, George Henschel - as well as lighter fare. This release ends with a series of important alternative ‘takes’, including the first ever issue of a second take of ‘La Serenata’ from Rossini’s LES SOIRÉES MUSICALES.

    The present CD covers the year 1924 when he worked mainly for the Gramophone Company, and concentrates on lieder and songs that included Brahms’ ‘Komm bald’ and Rachmaninov’s ‘Before My Window’….The idiomatic quality he brings to Frank Bridge’s ‘Oh! that it were so!’ and a particularly beautiful account of Richard Strauss’ ‘Morgen!’ where Fritz Kreisler adds the violin solo introduction [are special treasures]. That the disc is aimed primarily at the lovers of his unusual voice comes with the inclusion of the alternative ‘takes’ of the same song, that are only slightly different. As throughout the series - this being the final volume - the transfers by Ward Marston are examples of his immaculately prepared transfers to CD.”


  • - David Denton, David’s Review Corner


  • A–Z of Singers, incl. Marian Anderson, Janet Baker, Bastianini, Battistini, Erna Berger, Bergonzi, Björling, Breviario, Callas, Callegari, Caniglia, Carena, Caruso, Chaliapin, Christoff, Cigna, Dal Monte, Danco, Dansereau, Del Monaco, Della Casa, de los Angeles, Di Stefano, Favero, Ferrier, Fischer-Dieskau, Flagstad, Frick, Galli-Curci, Garden, Gigli, Gobbi, Guarrera, Güden, Hayward, Hotter, Jurinac, Klose, Kunz, Lauri-Volpi, Lotte Lehmann, Leider, Christa Ludwig, Martinelli, McCormack, Melba, Melchior, Merli, Merrill, Milanov, Mödl, Nilsson, Olivero, Pagliughi, Pasero, Patzak, Pertile, Pons, Ponselle, Ruggero Raimondi, Rethberg, Robin, Roswaenge, Rysanek, Sayão, Schipa, Schumann, Schwarzkopf, Norman Scott, Seefried, Simionato, Simoneau, Stabile, Stich-Randall, Stignani, Stracciari, Supervia, Tauber, Tebaldi, Tetrazzini, Teyte, Thill, Tibbett, Tucker, Uhde, Varnay, Votipka, Welitsch, Windgassen, etc. (Germany) 4-Naxos 8.558097/100. Transfers by Ward Marston. Includes Elaborate 850pp Book by David Patmore. (V2465)

    “With [an 850 page] book detailing the career of 300 singers and the role they played in the history of recording, together with CDs of their opera excerpts of the same outer dimensions as a CD jewel case, the whole has been packaged into a chunky box that will fit neatly into your CD shelving. [This] is the work of David Patmore, a lifelong collector of historic vocal recordings, whose knowledge of those releases is second to none. Maybe that fact has shaped the contents, his choice of the world’s greatest 300 singers containing 263 who are no longer on this earth, with only eight who are still active in the theatre….and I would urge you to buy it as a concise reference book to the recording careers and biographies of the great singers from the 19th and 20th centuries. The excepts on the four discs are well chosen: Caruso, Ponselle, Pertile, Garden, Thill, Stabile, Pagliughi, Bastianini, Björling, Callas, Gobbi, Nilsson, Tebaldi and Welitsch are all there in the sixty-nine tracks lasting almost five and a quarter hours. The release also comes with a special website that is free to purchasers, and contains many further hours of vocal music.”


  • - David Denton, David’s Review Corner


  • JOSEPH FUCHS, w.Leonard Bernstein Cond. NYPO: Violin Concerto #2 (Piston), Live Performance, 18 May, 1962, Played by the dedicatee - [the Adagio of the Piston Concerto is one of haunting beauty, alone worth the minimal price of the entire CD]; LILLIAN FUCHS, w.Jonel Perlea Cond. Manhattan School of Music Orch. & Chorus: Flos Campi (Vaughan Williams), Live Performance, 21 Jan., 1965. (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL T-331. Transfers by Yves St Laurent. (S0687)

    “Lillian Fuchs, a renowned violist, composer, teacher and keeper of musical tradition, was ‘one of the best string players in America’, Harold C. Schonberg wrote in THE NEW YORK TIMES in 1962, and she went on to become one of the most respected string teachers in the world. She taught from 1962 to 1991 at the Manhattan School of Music, from 1964 to 1990 at the Aspen Music Festival and School, and from 1971 to 1993 at the Juilliard School, where she was an emeritus member of the faculty until her death. Ms. Fuchs made her New York début on the violin in 1926, but soon shifted her concentration to viola. She collaborated often in performance with her brother Joseph and her other brother, Harry, a cellist. She played in a number of chamber groups, notably the Perole String Quartet and the Musicians Guild, and appeared as a soloist with major orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic and the Casals Festival Orchestra. Ms. Fuchs was the first violist to perform and record the six Bach suites written for solo cello. ‘The measure of an artist is the silence he or she can inspire’, Ross Parmenter wrote in THE TIMES in 1948 of her performance of the Sixth Suite. ‘The silence for her performance was so intense that someone rattling cellophane in the back of the hall was an irritation to almost the whole audience’.”


  • - James R. Oestreich, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 7 Oct., 1995




    . . . and repeated from the past . . .



  • ARTUR RODZINSKI, Vol. XXXIV, Cond. NYPO: Escales (Ibert), recorded 27 Feb., 1945; Nutcracker - Suite (Tschaikowsky), recorded 20 Feb., 1946; RODZINSKI Cond. Cleveland Orch. & LOUIS KRASNER: Violin Concerto 'To the memory of an Angel' (Berg), recorded 15 Dec., 1940 (CREATOR Recording). (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL 78-282. Transfers by Yves St Laurent. (C1413)

  • PIERRE MONTEUX Cond. Boston S.O.: Le Sacre du Printemps (Stravinsky). (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL T-326, Live Performance, 11 Feb., 1957, plus one half-hour of rehearsal segments for this performance, replete with Monteux's delicious and charming 'FrEnglish, as introduced by NBC radio commentator Ben Grauer. [This fabulous live performance benefits greatly by the glory of the Symphony Hall acoustic.] Transfers by Yves St Laurent. (C1419)

    "Pierre Monteux conducted the infamous first performance of LE SACRE DU PRINTEMPS. The BSO players seem to be playing on the edge of their seats with commitment. Over the years, LE SACRE (The Rite of Spring) of 1913 has remained Stravinsky's best known work. This is due, in part, to the fact that in addition to its musical uniqueness, LE SACRE serves as a virtual compendium of the early twentieth century music vocabulary. More specifically, as a result of the work's seemingly unromantic, asymmetrical, and violent nature, LE SACRE DU PRINTEMPS is often classified as the prime example of musical primitivism.”


  • - Joseph Stevenson, allmusic.com




  • LEOPOLD STOKOWSKI Cond. Philadelphia Orch., w.BIRGIT NILSSON & GEORGE LONDON: Gala Concert, incl. Mozart, Borodin, Gounod, Verdi, Puccini & Wagner. (England) Guild stereo 2410, Live Performance, 20 Jan., 1962, featuring broadcast announcements as well as the spoken introduction by Stokowski. (C1417)

    “This absolutely unique CD is a major contribution to the vast and wide-ranging discography of the late Leopold Stokowski in that it shows him in the rare guise of an operatic conductor. This recording comes from a complete concert he gave in Philadelphia in 1962 of major operatic excerpts sung by two of the greatest singers of the day - the magnificent Wagnerian soprano Birgit Nilsson and the wonderful American bass George London. Recorded in stereo, with the original announcements as broadcast, this exceptional disc is sure to gain the widest possible interest.”


  • - Zillah Dorset Akron


  • IRENE JORDAN, Vol. II, incl. Songs by Schubert, Brahms, Bax, Bowles & Ravel; w.Arnold Steinhardt (Violist of Guarneri Quartet): Geistliches Wiegenlied; Gestillte Sehnsucht (both Brahms), Live Performance, 14 August, 1999, Plainfield, MA [age 82]; w.Henry Sopkin Cond. Atlanta S.O.: THE MEDEAD (Giannini), World Premiere Performance, October, 1960; w.Paul Paray Cond. Detroit S.O.: THE MEDEAD (Giannini), Live Performance, 4 Jan. 1962. (Canada) 2-St Laurent Studio YSL T-343, Live Performances, 1960-2004 [the later performances sung between ages of 63 – 85 are in excellent sound, offering remarkable singing; Never previously issued.] Transfers by Yves St Laurent. (V2459)

    THE MEDEAD, by Vittorio Giannini, is one of the greatest works of the 20th-century never (until now) documented on a recording available to the public. It is remarkable that the piece has had to wait more than half a century for this to happen, and even now, it is a first release of live recordings dating from the 1960s....THE MEDEAD is a four-movement monodrama for soprano and orchestra that tells the story of the ruthless Medea from her own perspective, through a text written by the composer; in a sense it is a hybrid of a symphony and a dramatic monologue. I might describe the style as derived from the language of Wagner and Strauss (in his SALOME and ELEKTRA vein), but with an Italianate passion and emotional immediacy, disciplined by a 20th-century concentration of focus and formal economy.

    Its emotional intensity is maintained almost without interruption for some 35 minutes….if my description makes you wonder whether you have been missing out on a real masterpiece, and you are able to enjoy a work such as, say, Samuel Barber’s ANDROMACHE’S FAREWELL, I would suggest that you waste no time in getting hold of this recording….among those who are conversant with Giannini’s body of work, THE MEDEAD is usually mentioned as his greatest accomplishment.

    THE MEDEAD was one of the fruits of a commissioning project launched in 1958 by the Ford Foundation, under the aegis of W. McNeil Lowry. What was unusual about this project was that, in order to avoid adding to the dustpile of anonymous, justly maligned ‘foundation style’ works, distinguished performing artists were invited to select composers of their own choice to write works for them, which they would then perform with a number of major American orchestras that had agreed to participate. Among the other works that resulted from this project were the Violin Concerto #2 by Paul Creston (chosen by Michael Rabin), ‘Song of Orpheus’ by William Schuman (chosen by Leonard Rose), the Piano Concerto of Elliot Carter (chosen by Jacob Lateiner) and the Piano Sonata of Peter Mennin (chosen by Claudette Sorel). Soprano Irene Jordan, then about forty and at the height of her rather unusual career, chose Giannini.

    What qualities lead me to value THE MEDEAD so highly? One is its consistent and unerring accuracy of emotional tone, relative to the text; another is the concentration of focus I noted above, with no musically or dramatically irrelevant digressions; especially significant is its formal structure, based on the initial presentation of two or three motifs whose development weaves a texture that is as musically lucid as it is dramatically coherent. Equally important is the fact that while there are inevitable passages of non-melodic declamation, the dramatic highpoints draw the various musical elements into soaring, searing melodic apotheoses that direct and satisfy the listener’s attention. And, finally, the work embodies a whole tradition of bel canto operatic representation, exemplified most saliently by a ‘pastorale’ section in the third movement, and the solemn ground bass that undergirds the shattering finale.

    While the initial appearance of THE MEDEAD—in two different performances - is for me the main point of interest in this recording, the primary concern of the purveyors of the disc...is soprano Irene Jordan. There is, quite strangely, very little information available about her in convenient sources. As far as I’ve been able to determine, she is still alive at this time, though in her late 90s. It is worth quoting from two reviews that appeared in Fanfare 23:3, commenting on what [is] the precursor of this release. James Miller wrote: ‘What becomes of singers who seem to possess the goods but whose careers never seem to ‘take-off’?' The name Irene Jordan is probably one unfamiliar even to most vocal buffs. She sang in the American premiere of PETER GRIMES, had a brief career as a Met comprimario, then, discovering that her mezzo-soprano voice was evolving into that of a dramatic soprano, she left the Met for further study and life as a dramatic coloratura. Although she ended up having a varied, interesting career, she got back to the Met for only one single performance, as the Queen of the Night. In his comprehensive history, THE METROPOLITAN OPERA, Irving Kolodin mentions ‘the breadth and weight of [her] dramatic sound,’… but says she was ‘erratic in pitch and insecure in skips’…. Listening to this CD of live performances spanning 44 years, beginning in 1953, one listens in vain for that erratic pitch and insecurity, and hears, instead, a mezzo-soprano-colored voice knocking off high notes and ornamentation with confidence….In addition to her technical finesse, she shapes the music sensitively. I was around during the 50s and 60s and, while it really was a comparatively rich period for voices, I remember nothing resembling hers until Joan Sutherland showed up.…’Why someone who could sing like this pretty much escaped the limelight, I can't say’. John W. Lambert added, ‘Jordan's approaches to standard-repertoire items demonstrate that she was, in her day, far superior to a lot of people who now masquerade as vocalists. Today, a voice like this would make news even in papers that rarely cover the arts. One can only wonder’. What is most striking about the soprano we hear in THE MEDEAD is her power and intensity, unblemished by ugly moments of loss of control or of imprecise pitch - and these are live recordings! One realizes that Giannini and Jordan fully understood the expectations each held of the other. This became abundantly clear to me after I had heard the attempts of several other sopranos to present this piece. The Atlanta premiere is of interest largely in demonstrating Jordan’s comprehensive mastery of the work from the start, while the orchestra - a far less imposing ensemble than it is today - scrambled to keep up under Sopkin’s tentative direction. But the 1962 performance, with the Detroit Symphony - also a far less supple and dexterous ensemble than it is today - enjoyed the leadership of Paul Paray, one of several French conductors whose distinguished artistry and musicality were slow to be recognized. Paray grasps precisely the tempo, the pacing, and powerful dramatic arc of THE MEDEAD, while Jordan is as acute in negotiating the work’s demands as she was in Atlanta, if not more so. But under Paray’s direction Giannini’s monodrama emerges as an indisputable masterpiece.

    The second CD offers a series of songs recorded during several recitals much later on. Their main attraction lies in displaying the remarkable durability of Jordan’s voice, not to mention her musicianship. Of the eight items, the last four were taken from a 2004 recital, when she was 85! While they do require certain allowances from the listener, and in some of the eight - the Schubert in particular - her concern seemed directed more toward accuracy than toward expression of the text, these are not easy ditties. The Ravel, for example, is fairly demanding. Jordan’s renditions, even at this late age, are more remarkable for the virtues they offer than for those they lack.

    In short, this is a release of interest to both vocal specialists and to those interested in uncovering the great American masterpieces of the 1950s and 60s that were buried during the stylistic skirmishes of that fractious period."


  • - Walter Simmons, FANFARE


  • RITA GORR, w.Cloëz, Laforge, Bruck, Spruit, Solti & Cluytens Cond.: Arias from Alceste, Iphigénie en Tauride, Orfeo, La Damnation de Faust, Werther, Samson et Dalila, Le Prophête, Roi d'Ys, Les Troyens, Snegoroutchka, Parsifal & Don Carlos; Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (Mahler; in German). (France) Malibran 782, Live Performances, 1955-61. [An outstanding, duly memorable recital.] (V2455)

  • GABRIELLE RITTER-CIAMPI: Fédia (Erlanger); Arias from Il Pensieroso, Nozze, Cosi fan Tutte, Il Re Pastore, Zauberflöte, Faust, Les Huguenots, Louise, Barbiere, La Boheme & La Traviata. (France) Malibran 784, electrical recordings (plus one acoustic). (V2463)

    “Gabrielle Ritter-Ciampi débuted in 1917 as Violetta in LA TRAVIATA, and two years later she was engaged at l’Opéra-Comique, where she became famous as an interpreter in Mozart operatic rôles. Her activity was centered predominantly in France, but she took part also in the Salzburg Festival in 1932, again in Mozart's rôles.

    Ritter-Ciampi was considered a fine, light lyric soprano with good technique and was capable of reaching high notes easily, frequently compared to her days with Adelina Patti, who had a similar voice. She did most of her recordings between 1923 and 1929, and recorded many selected arias from various works, but never complete operas. She also sang the title rôle in ESCLARMONDE at Opéra Garnier, a short-lived revival of that opera between 1931 and 1934. Her career practically ended with World War II, with her last engagement being a rôle in an operetta by Reynaldo Hahn, LE OUI DES JEUNES FILLES, in 1949.”


  • - Zillah Dorset Akron


  • XAVIER DEPRAZ, w.Etcheverry, de Froment, Rosenthal, Fournet, Tzipine, Gressier, Alpress, Laforge & Bruck Cond.: Arias & Duets (w.Scharley, Bianco & Mars) from Zauberflöte, Entführung, Barbiere, Le Compte d'Ory, La Damnation de Faust, Don Quichotte, Grisélidis, Faust, Mignon, Le Songe d'une nuit d'été, Une Éducation manquée, Lakmé, Eugen Onégin, La Boheme, Simon Boccanegra & Don Carlos. (France) Malibran 781, Live Performances, 1955-64. (V2456)

  • UN BALLO IN MASCHERA, Live Performance, 8 May, 1946, Genève, w.Sanzogno Cond. Suisse Romande Orch.; Mario del Monaco, Carla Castellani, Giulietta Simionato, Piero Biasini, Marisa Morel, Arsenio Giunta, Carlo Badioli, etc. (Italy) 2-Bongiovanni 1185/86. Final Sealed Copy! [Del Monaco's sole recording of the complete role, an excellent and nuanced performance from the then-young tenor, in exceptionally good sound for the period!] (OP0028)

  • ERNANI, Live Performance, 12 June, 1961, w.Santini Cond. Rome Opera Ensemble; Mario del Monaco, Cornell MacNeil, Floriana Cavalli, Nicola Rossi Lemeni, etc. (E.U.) 2–Myto 00337 (OP3161)

  • OTELLO, Live Performance, 15 April, 1965, w.Schippers Cond. Met Opera Ensemble; Dimiter Uzunov, Zinka Milanov, Cornell MacNeil, Joann Grillo, etc. (Canada) 2-HTM 65-001. [Not to be confused with an earlier aborted 'pirate' performance, portions of which are available online, this recording of Milanov's final Desdemona was made from a most advantageous in-house location in somewhat distant, but in very clear sound with no surrounding audience noise. Worthy of note is that Milanov never did a broadcast performance of Desdemona.] (OP3151)

    “Milanov came like a bolt out of heaven—the voice and the young woman, both so vibrant and exciting. We knew something great had come into [the Met’s] Italian wing. What was not obvious at the beginning was that she would have such a staying power, for she gave so much in her singing.…I was present years later on her great anniversaries and she sang at mine [the fiftieth anniversary of his Met début, 1963]. She was incomparable. She was like a vocal sorceress singing the OTELLO arias that night. Such a roar went up from the public, I can never forget it.”


  • - Giovanni Martinelli


  • OBERON (in French), Live Performance, 1955, w.Cluytens Cond. l'Opéra Ensemble; Constantina Araujo, Rita Gorr, Martha Angelici, Georges Noré, Raphaël Romagnoni, Alain Vanzo, etc., replete with broadcast announcements; OBERON - several historical recordings of arias by Gabriella Gatti, Goltz, Austral & Roswaenge. (France) 3-Malibran 790. (OP3162)

  • PÂRIS OU LE BON JUGE (w.Bervilly Cond. Christiane Harbell, Freda Betti, Monique Quintin, Nicole Broissin, Joseph Peyron & Jacques Luccioni); AU TEMPS DES CROISADES (w. Cariven Cond. Denise Duval, Jean Giraudeau, Jacques Mars & Claude Herval) (both Claude Terrasse); LA VICTOIRE DE SAMOTHRACE (w.Cariven Cond. Denise Duval, Jean Giraudeau & Jacques Pruvost) (Szulc), all Broadcast Performances, 1957 in exceptionally fine sound. [One of the most enchanting, thoroughly enjoyable CDs to have come through here in years, Highly recommended!] (France) Malibran 783. (OP3160)

  • GIUSEPPINA COBELLI, Il Soprano Gardesano. Brescia, Fondazione civiltà Bresciana, 2011. (Maurizio Righetti) 207pp. Index; Bibliography; Giuseppina Cobelli Chronology; Discography; glorious photos, many full-page; reproductions of contemporaneous critiques & correspondence; reproductions of contracts with La Scala, Rome Opera, Teatro Reale (Roma) & Teatro Municipal (Chile). (Italian Text) (Pictorial thick paper covers). (B1858)

    “About 110 pages of the [above] book are dedicated to reviews – in Italian and Spanish – covering all of Cobelli’s career. From them we learn that her voice was large and very beautiful, capable of both great sweetness of expression and incisive declamation, that she was an exciting and charismatic performer and a mistress of stage movement….The critic of L’AMBROSIANO, G. C. Paribene, wrote in 1930 that, as Isolde, ‘the most celebrated specialists in Northern Europe were completely overshadowed by her’, while in 1938 Giulio Pannain described her in LA MATTINO as ‘the greatest dramatic artist on the Italian operatic stage’….The book is clearly printed on fine quality paper and very liberally illustrated with photographs, mostly well produced.”


  • - Michael Aspinall, THE RECORD COLLECTOR, 2015




    . . . out-of-print books

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    each completely revised book section . . .

    more coming in the next months . . .

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    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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    Vocal Record Collectors' Society - 2015 Issue       (VRCS-2015)
    V2468. Vocal Record Collectors' Society - 2015 Issue, incl. Eleanor Steber, Vilmos Kertész, Meir Schorr, Madeleine Sibille, Miguel Villabella, Hermine Kittel, Fernand Francell, Vladimir Kastorsky, Josefina Huguet, Francisco Cigada, Dorothy Jardon, Vicente Ballester, Suzanne Brohly, Carlo Walter, Odette le Fontenay, Frances Alda, Simon Edwardsen, Anne Thursfield, Willy Tubiana, Frieda Klink, Tito Schipa, Hans Hotter & Lotte Lehmann. VRCS-2015, recorded 1903-46. Transfers by Seth B. Winner.
    $19.90
    Leopold Stokowski, Vol. V     (St Laurent Studio YSL T-344)
    C1426. LEOPOLD STOKOWSKI Cond. Boston S.O.: Passacaglia & Fugue in c (Bach); Eagles (Rorem, after Whitman); Prelude & Quadruple Fugue (Hovhaness); Petrouchka - Suite (Stravinsky). (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL T-344, Live Performances, 12 March, 1965 & 16 March, 1964, Symphony Hall, Boston (also featuring broadcast announcer's comments regarding Stokowski's last-minute program change [around EAGLES & Hovhaness], then after Stravinsky). Transfers by Yves St Laurent.
    $17.90
    Jascha Horenstein  (Mahler, Brahms, etc.)  (5-Scribendum 511)
    C0282. JASCHA HORENSTEIN: The Art of Horenstein, incl. Brahms, Strauss, Hindemith & Mahler. (England) 5-Scribendum 511, recorded 1966-72. Final Sealed Copy! - 5060028045112
    $49.90
    Rene Leibowitz, The Art of ...      (13-Scribendum 510)
    C0032. RENÉ LEIBOWITZ: The Art of Leibowitz, incl. Bach, Boccherini, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, Liszt, Wagner, Gade, Grieg, Waldteufel, Borodin, Rimsky-Korsakov, Ippolitov-Ivanov, Moussorgsky, Dvorák, Dinicu, Chopin, de Falla, Franck, Chabrier, Saint-Saëns, Delibes, Meyerbeer, Bizet, Ibert, Auber, Dukas, Pierné, Gounod, Ravel, Debussy, Constant, Offenbach, Sullivan, Waldteufel, Johann Strauss & Leibowitz. (England) 13-Scribendum 510, recorded 1960-62, many in Walthamstow Town Hall in remarkably resplendent sound! This is a spectacular audiophile edition, with the Mussorgsky items being benchmark performances as well as stunning audiophile recordings! Final Sealed Copy! - 5060028045105
    $89.90
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