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Thanksgiving, American style . . .

after 50 years of waiting,

MILANOV’s final Desdemona is now available . . .



and our regular 50% SALE continues

“Should you celebrate [Thanksgiving] even if you don’t feel grateful?” If you want a truly happy holiday, choose to keep the ‘thanks’ in Thanksgiving, whether you feel like it or not.

Building the best life does not require fealty to feelings in the name of authenticity, but rather rebelling against negative impulses and acting right even when we don’t feel like it. In a nutshell, acting grateful can actually make you grateful. For many people, gratitude is difficult, because life is difficult. Even beyond deprivation and depression, there are many ordinary circumstances in which gratitude doesn’t come easily. A 2014 article in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience identified a variation in a gene (CD38) associated with gratitude. Some people simply have a heightened genetic tendency to experience, in the researchers’ words, ‘global relationship satisfaction, perceived partner responsiveness and positive emotions (particularly love)’. But we are more than slaves to our feelings, circumstances and genes. Evidence suggests that we can actively choose to practice gratitude - and that doing so raises our happiness….acting happy, regardless of feelings, coaxes one’s brain into processing positive emotions. In the language of the Stoic philosopher Epictetus, ‘He is a man of sense who does not grieve for what he has not, but rejoices in what he has’. Make gratitude a routine, independent of how you feel - and not just once each November, but all year long.

There are concrete strategies that each of us can adopt. First, start with ‘interior gratitude’, the practice of giving thanks privately. Next, move to ‘exterior gratitude’, which focuses on public expression. Finally, be grateful for useless things….truly happy people find ways to give thanks for the little, insignificant trifles.

This Thanksgiving, don’t express gratitude only when you feel it. Give thanks especially when you don’t feel it.”

- Arthur C. Brooks, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 21 Nov., 2015

. . . just in time for Seasonal Gift-Giving . . . for the most discriminating collector and after 50 years of waiting, we are most grateful to offer the only issue of ZINKA MILANOV’s final Desdemona:

  • 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)

    “Dimiter Uzunov’s vocal studies began at the Sofia Music Academy in 1946, first as a baritone but switching to the dramatic tenor repertoire at the advice of his teacher, Christo Brumbarov. His début was in the title role of WERTHER in a 1947 production by the Sofia National Opera. After an appearance with the Bolshoi Opera in 1952, there were performances with the Paris Opéra in 1958, the Arena di Verona in 1960, La Scala in 1960 and 1961, and at the Salzburg Festival in 1965. Additional engagements included Covent Garden, Barcelona and the Vienna State Opera. Following a Metropolitan Opera début as Don José in 1958, additional major roles there included Radames, Otello, Canio and Samson. After an unsuccessful throat operation he served as director of the Sofia National Opera. In 1976 he traveled to Vienna working for the Vienna State Opera as a director and then in 1980 performing character roles. While his voice was not truly heroic, a strong presence and good diction allowed him to triumph as Otello, his favorite role. He died in Vienna on the 11 December 1985.”

    “The season's first performance of Verdi's OTELLO at the Metropolitan Opera took place Saturday night, with Dimiter Uzunov in the title role. While he doesn't project the frenzied, cumulative madness which the American tenor, James McCracken, gives the part, he is immensely impressive on his own and, altogether, came out first of the major participants. His excellent voice was freely resonant, he was handsome and convincingly swarthy, and as the acts progressed, developed a frightening mood of tension as he became increasingly brainwashed by Iago. His final death scene was superb. This was an actor's, not a singer's achievement, high praise for a tenor.”

    - Harriet Johnson, THE NEW YORK POST, 8 Nov., 1964

    “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

    “A pure baritone with power from low to high notes, Cornell MacNeil was considered the equal of Leonard Warren and Robert Merrill, the other stellar American Verdi baritones during the second half of the 20th century. From 1959 to 1987, he sang 26 roles in more than 600 appearances at the Metropolitan Opera alone. But he reached his peak in his Verdi performances. ‘The larger and more complex the part, the better he was’,”James Levine, the Met’s longtime conductor, said of Mr. MacNeil’s Verdi roles in a 2007 interview with Opera News. ‘Boccanegra, Rigoletto, Macbeth, Nabucco, Falstaff, Iago — a lot of these parts could be said to be the most challenging and varied….He sang lots of Amonasros and Scarpias marvelously well, but those more complex ones were where he was at his best’.

    Mr. MacNeil scored numerous successes in other roles as well. Commenting on his first Met appearance as Renato in Verdi’s UN BALLO IN MASCHERA on 7 March, 1962, Alan Rich wrote in The Times, ‘This superb American baritone may very possibly have had his finest hour’. He sang Scarpia more than 90 times at the Metropolitan following his début in the role on 2 Nov., 1959. His final performance at the Met was in that role, on 5 Dec., 1987. He retired from the opera a year later after medical tests showed he had a possible blockage of the carotid artery.”

  • - Jonathan Kandell, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 17 July, 2011

  • IVAN MORAVEC: Twelfth Night Recital, incl. Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Debussy & Chopin. (Czech Republic) 2-Supraphon 4190, Live Performance, 6 Jan., 1987, Prague. [One of the most poetic, beautiful and illuminating piano recitals to have been heard in many a year!] (P1212)

    "Ivan Moravec, a Czech pianist who earned a reputation as one of the greatest interpreters of Chopin largely through recordings that had penetrated the Iron Curtain, studied in master classes with Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, the Italian classical pianist. Moravec made his British début in 1959 and his American one in 1962, after the state concert agency finally allowed him to visit the United States to record for the Connoisseur Society label. In 1964, he was invited by the conductor George Szell to appear with the Cleveland Orchestra in New York, but the two quarreled over which piano he would play and how to interpret a Beethoven concerto. He did not appear in New York again for four years.

    Under the Communist government, the state-controlled concert agency only grudgingly promoted Mr. Moravec’s work because he was not a Party member. Still, his recordings were heard and, in 1999, he became one of 72 musicians - and the only Czech - featured on the Philips Records collection ‘Great Pianists of the 20th Century’.

    In 2000, a decade after the Communist regime was deposed, the new Czech government awarded him the Charles IV Prize for achievement in science, literature or the arts. ’He is, in looks and style, not a heroic leader’, Bernard Holland wrote in THE NEW YORK TIMES in 1982 on the occasion of Mr. Moravec’s first solo recital at Carnegie Hall. ‘Diffident, balding, 50-ish in appearance’, he added, Mr. Moravec played ‘with a fastidiousness of detail and elegant sense of pianistic color that lend themselves more to quiet introspection than to a flamboyant hard sell’. Mr. Moravec traced his delicate style to a skating injury in his youth that left him weakened and ill and forced him to stop playing at 18 when the symptoms recurred. In 1954, however, they vanished as suddenly and mysteriously as they had appeared. ‘Perhaps if I had been completely healthy’, he said, ‘with muscles like a bull, my style would be absolutely different’.

    Mr. Moravec was born in Prague on 9 Nov., 1930. His father, a lawyer, loved opera, and his son’s first musical memories were of standing at the piano turning the pages for him. He also recalled weeping over recordings by Enrico Caruso. ‘It was an important education’, Mr. Moravec once said, ‘because I think the human voice is the best and most sensitive musical instrument’.

    He began taking piano lessons at 7 and studied at the Prague Conservatory with Erna Grünfeld (niece of the Austrian pianist Alfred Grünfeld).

    Mr. Moravec valued recordings over live concerts, he explained in a 1998 interview with Symphony Australia, ‘as a very honest way to become known and to be compared’ with other pianists, in part because fans are less influenced by an artist’s physical appearance. When classical music critics for the TIMES selected their favorite Chopin recordings in 2010 to celebrate the bicentennial of that composer’s birth, Steve Smith chose Mr. Moravec’s ‘Nocturnes’ for its ‘extraordinary dynamic shading and gracious shaping of each gemlike work’. Mr. Moravec himself thought highly of his recordings. He liked to record his performances - of his beloved Chopin, Debussy and Mozart - and, after playing them back, would say, ‘Now I have my piano lesson’.”

  • - Sam Roberts, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 30 July, 2015

  • LEON FLEISHER, w.George Szell Cond. Swiss Festival Orch.: Concerto #2 in B-flat (Beethoven), Live Performance 29 Aug., 1962; ANNIE FISCHER, w.Giulini Cond. Philharmonia Orch.: Concerto in e (Schumann), Live Performance, 3 Sept., 1960, (both Kunsthaus, Lucerne). (Germany) Audite 95.643. (P1211)

    “Two pearls of pianism: Annie Fischer in a sensitive, chamber-like and exceptionally poetic reading of the Schumann Piano Concerto – one of her favourite pieces. Leon Fleisher, a few months before he was to lose the use of his right hand (recovering it only in old age), with Beethoven’s Second Piano Concerto in an inspirationally bright and crystal clear tone."

    - Lucerne Festival

    "A piano, which produces a tone by striking strings with a felt-lined hammer, should not be able to sustain a legato as gorgeous as what Fleisher coaxes from the instrument. The next thing you realize is that this sound is not just a clever effect but it makes the music come to life and clarifies textures in way that seems utterly fresh and utterly right. That's the magic of Fleisher the pianist."

  • - Harvey Steiman, MusicWeb International - Aspen Festival, 25 July, 2005

  • PIQUE DAME (Tschaikowsky), Live Performance, 20 Jan., 1957, w.Khaikin Cond. Dimiter Uzunov (singing in Bulgarian), Alexei Ivanov, Natalia Sokolova, Pyotr Selivanov, Eugenia Verbitskaya, Vera Firsova, etc. (Russia) 2-Aquarius AQVR 379. (OP2885)

    . . . and repeated from last week . . .

  • MAUREEN FORRESTER, w.John Newmark (Pf.): Songs by Haydn, Wolf, Poulenc, Benjamin Lees & Robert Fleming (the final song in Fleming's CONFESSION STONE Cycle is incomplete). (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL T-338, Live Performance, 2 Feb., 1968, Carnegie Hall. [Excellent sound in the Carnegie Hall acoustic, recorded on an Uher recorder with Sennheiser mike from a choice location in the Hall, far from audience members, virtually unmarred by audience noise, albeit the Seventh Avenue subway makes its ubiquitous rumbling appearance both arriving . . . and then departing! Recorded independent of extraneous audience noise, this recording captures the spontaneity of the recital with no more than the occasional applause at appropriate moments, never within groups - it was a duly cultured audience! Never previously issued.] Transfers by Yves St Laurent. (V2457)

    “Maureen Forrester, the Canadian contralto who was revered for her opulent voice and musical elegance and especially acclaimed for her performances of Mahler, sang the broader mezzo-soprano repertory, rightly considered herself a contralto, the lowest and rarest female voice. In her prime she was a classic contralto with a plummy, deep-set sound. Yet she had a full-bodied upper voice and could sing passagework in Handel arias with agility. She sang Mahler and German lieder with impeccable diction.

    Ms. Forrester was little known in the United States when she made her New York recital début at Town Hall in November 1956 with the pianist John Newmark, who became her longtime accompanist. She won rave reviews. ‘Miss Forrester has a superb voice of generous compass and volume’,”Edward Downes wrote in The New York Times. ‘Its color ranges from a darkly resonant chest register to a brilliantly focused top with a middle register that she makes velvet soft or reedy according to her expressive intent’. At the time, the conductor Bruno Walter, who had been a close associate of Mahler’s, was looking for a contralto to sing in a performance and a recording of Mahler’s ‘Resurrection’ Symphony with the New York Philharmonic. He invited Ms. Forrester, then 27, to sing for him, and hired her. The recording is now considered a classic. Ms. Forrester went on to record Mahler’s DAS LIED VON DER ERDE with Walter and soon became an acknowledged exponent of Mahler. She was best known for her recital work and performances with orchestras and appeared with many leading conductors, including Eugene Ormandy, Herbert von Karajan and Leonard Bernstein.

    As a performer, teacher and, during the 1980s, the chairwoman of the Canada Council for the Arts, Ms. Forrester championed Canadian composers. ‘I have a real feeling about modern composers’, she said in the Globe interview. ‘I go around preaching to young people that the performer is the mouth of the composer. You must see that the composers in your country get a hearing. When I travel and do recitals, I always program a big piece of Canadian music’. For a recital at the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan in the mid-1980s, she performed one standard repertory work, Schumann’s ‘Liederkreis’ song cycle, and devoted the rest of the program to the Canadian composers Michael Conway Baker, Srul Irving Glick and Malcolm Forsyth.

  • - Anthony Tommasini, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 17 June, 2010

  • DIE MEISTERSINGER, Live Performance, 23 July, 1960, Bayreuth, w.Knappertsbusch Cond. Bayreuth Ensemble; Josef Greindl, Wolfgang Windgassen, Elisabeth Grümmer, Theo Adam, Karl Schmitt-Walter, Ludwig Weber, Gerhard Stolze, Eugen Fuchs, etc. (Austria) 4-Orfeo C917 154L. (OP3156)

    "Hans Knappertsbusch's 1960 MEISTERSINGER from the Bayreuth Festival benefits from a sense of vocal collaboration that is untypical of Wagner performances. Here, a highly colourful ensemble offers the vital variety necessary for its characters and this is a happy mixture of proven older voices, younger voices that are just getting established, and an impressive début in the role of Sachs by the 47-year-old Josef Greindl.

    However, the star of the performance is undoubtedly the 72-year-old newcomer to the production, Hans Knappertsbusch. His interpretation of this complex, tricky work is anything but Teutonic and heavy, but instead consciously cultivated and restrained, always supportive of the voices, relaxed, and with a chamber-music lightness in the dialogues (good in this work and precludes any sense of longueurs!). The impact of the fugue during the brawl in the second act, for example, is all the greater performed as a great arch (and with a great sense of fun in the hubbub it makes), and the excitement lasts all the way to the end of the act. The manner in which Kna savours the dances on the festive meadow is also astonishing, displaying something between the magically twee and the gruffly rustic, all in careful doses, and conjoined with audible pleasure; this is truly 'festive'!

    In contrast to a market blighted with by pirated and unauthorised editions, much care has been invested here in restoring the original sound. The booklet is adorned by exclusive stills from the Bayreuth archives and a highly stimulating essay by Peter Emmerich on the dramaturgical situation in Bayreuth in 1960 and its impact on the Festival audiences."

  • - Joseph Stevenson,

  • FIDELIO, Live Performance, 5 Aug., 1983, Salzburg, w.Maazel Cond. Vienna Staatsoper Ensemble; James King, Eva Marton, Tom Krause, Aage Haugland, Lilian Watson, Thomas Moser, etc. (Austria) 2-Orfeo C 908 152 I. (OP3157)

    “For the greatest conductors - masters like Bernstein, Tennstedt, Monteux, Levine - technique is a bridge to greatness, to the special place where perfection of spirit and execution combine, not just an end in itself. Maazel’s visits to that realm were rare but memorable, and with his passing only a handful of the big maestros of the postwar era—principally Riccardo Muti, Zubin Mehta, Bernard Haitink, and Christoph von Dohnányi, in addition to the great Russian survivor Gennadi Rozhdestvensky…remain. Such men have not always lived up to their larger-than-life reputations, of course. But, more than any of them except Herbert von Karajan, Maazel made his way in the music business by his own rules, which made colleagues and critics uniquely unsympathetic to those instances when his performances failed to live up to the legend.”

  • - Russell Platt , THE NEW YORKER, 14 July, 2014

  • ERNST LÉVY Cond.: 'France' Symphony #10 (albeit incomplete finale) (Cond. by the COMPOSER), recorded 1948; PAUL BOEPPLE Cond. Dessoff Choir: 'Lötschentaler' Cantata #3 (Ernst Lévy), Live World Premiere Performance, 11 May, 1956, Carnegie Hall. 2-St Laurent Studio YSL 78-339. Transfers by Yves St Laurent. (C1407)

    “The distinguished Swiss pianist, pedagogue, and composer, Ernst Lévy, studied in Basel with Hans Huber and Egon Petri, and in Paris with the French virtuoso Raoul Pugno. By 1916, Ernst Lévy was teaching at the Basel Conservatory alongside Huber, and from 1917 to 1921 he was head of the piano master-class at this institute. Four years later, he set up residence in Paris and, after spending some time as a pianist and teacher, he was founder-conductor of the Choeur Philharmonique in Paris (1928). Among the works given their Paris permieres under Levy's direction were Johannes Brahms' EIN DEUTSCHES REQUIEM and Franz Liszt's oratorio CHRISTUS. In 1935, Lévy and Choeur Philharmonique recorded Liszt's MISSA CHORALIS for the Polydor label, the first recording ever made of one of Liszt's sacred choral works.

    Ernst Lévy composed 15 symphonies (1920-1967); many choral works; chamber music; various pieces for solo instruments; etc.”

  • - Bach Cantatas Website

  • 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)

    “Rita Gorr, an outstanding mezzo-soprano/contralto….made her operatic début at Ghent and Antwerp in 1949 as Hérodiade….In 1952 she was the winner of the prestigious international vocal competition at Lucerne by a unanimous decision of the jury….In the same year she made her début at the Opéra-Comique portraying Charlotte in WERTHER….she was in demand in most of the major opera centers of the world, and in 1958 sang at the Bayreuth Festival….In 1962 she made an auspicious début at the Metropolitan Opera [as Amneris]….Possessor of a colorful warm voice of great range and searing intensity, she is able to sing all the tessitura of mezzo and contralto roles. It was in the portrayals of the dramatic mezzo roles that she excelled, especially in Cherubini’s MEDEA.”

  • – Richard T. Soper, BELGIAN OPERA HOUSES AND SINGERS, pp.262-64

  • 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)

    “Xavier Depraz entered the Paris Conservatory in 1947 studying under Fernand Francell for singing, Louis Musy for stage and René Simon for the theater. In 1951 he participated in operatic creations at the Opéra in Mulhouse and Nancy, two works composed by Marcel Landowski, and in concert version of Prokofiev’s THE FIREY ANGEL. He appeared in Béla Bartók’s BLUEBEARD'S CASTLE, plus RIGOLETTO, DON GIOVANNI, DON QUIXOTE and THAÏS. He was professor of opera at the Paris Conservatoire in 1973.”

  • - Zillah Dorset Akron

  • AARON COPLAND Cond. Little Orchestra Society: Music for the Theatre; w.WILLIAM WARFIELD (Bar.): Old American Songs, Books I & II (all Cond. by the COMPOSER). (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL T-319, Live Performance, 15 Dec., 1958, Town Hall, New York. [Never previously issued.] Transfers by Yves St Laurent. (C1406)

    “The composer Benjamin Britten asked Copland to arrange a set of American folk tunes for his Music and Art Festival in Aldeburgh, England. Copland wrote five songs for male soloist and piano for the occasion: ‘The Boatmen’s Dance’, ‘The Dodger’, ‘Long Time Ago’, ‘Simple Gifts’ and ‘I Bought Me a Cat’. The first set of OLD AMERICAN SONGS was written in 1950 and premiered in June of that year by the famous tenor Peter Pears, with Britten at the piano. In 1951 the work premiered in America with Copland himself playing the piano and baritone William Warfield singing. Warfield would go on to become the singer most identified with the songs and spoke often on his collaborations with the composer. The songs were met with such success that Copland composed a second set in 1952 consisting of ‘The Little Horses’, ‘Zion’s Walls’, ‘The Golden Willow Tree’, ‘At the River’ and ‘Ching-a-Ring Chaw’. The second set premiered in 1953, again with the Warfield/Copland pairing. Copland transcribed both sets for vocal soloist and orchestra in 1957, and many of the songs have been arranged for chorus and piano or chorus and orchestra. [The version of Set 1 for baritone and orchestra was premiered on January 7, 1955, by William Warfield and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, conducted by Alfred Wallenstein. Set 2 was first performed by William Warfield and Aaron Copland (piano) on 25 May 1958 in Ipswich, Massachusetts. Set 2 was recorded by Warfield and Copland on 18 August, 1953, for Columbia Records but apparently not publicly performed until the above-mentioned date in Ipswich.] By the time the OLD AMERICAN SONGS were written, much of America’s innocence was beginning to fade. The cold war was raging and Copland found this environment ‘stifling’ to his compositional process. The simplicity of these ten songs, coupled with Copland’s sensitive treatment of them, seems to point to the composer’s desire to return to a less complicated period in time.”

  • - New Mexico Philharmonic

  • AMERICAN RARITIES, Vol.VII, incl. THOMAS SCHERMAN Cond. Little Orchestra Society: Symphony #3 in D (Schubert); w.NORMAN DELLO JOIO: Ricercari for Piano & Orchestra (Played by the Composer); w.LEONARD WARREN, Montlack, Gusikoff, Panitz, Shapiro & Roth: The Lamentation of Saul (dello Joio); NORMAN DELLO JOIO Cond.: Overture, Scherzo & Finale, Op.52 (Schumann). (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL T-318. [In stunning sound; Warren is in stupendous voice, well-displayed in this excellent composition!] Transfers by Yves St Laurent. (C1401)

  • TRISTAN UND ISOLDE, Live Performance, 2 Jan., 1937, w. Bodanzky, cond. Metropolitan Opera Ensemble; Lauritz Melchior, Kirsten Flagstad, Kerstin Thorborg, Julius Huehn, Ludwig Hofmann, etc. (replete with Milton Cross’ commentaries); BBC Interview: Flagstad talks about singing Wagner; Lauritz Melchior & Kirsten Flagstad: DIE WALKÜRE – ‘Todesverkündigung’, Live Performance, San Francisco Opera, 1939. (Canada) 3-Immortal Performances 1040. (OP3155)

    “The level of audible orchestral detail throughout is stunning. There is also a sense of presence to the voices that makes this set a joy to listen to. More, the depth of the strings in the Prelude to Act III is magnificent. The ultra-high string ascent emerges as fragile as a sliver of spider’s web, perhaps the pain of Tristan himself internalized into instrumental form; similarly, the English horn solo lament speaks of unutterable pain.

    Flagstad and Melchior fully buy into Bodanzky’s approach, though, and somehow Flagstad always manages to place those clarion high notes so they receive their emphasis. The uncertainty and excitement of Act II’s setting suits the propulsive approach, and perhaps surprisingly, the love duet ‘O sink’ hernieder’ is taken at a properly relaxed rate, with plenty of space for the singers’ words to resonate. Melchior’s individual sound is captured excellently and intertwines ecstatically with Flagstad’s in Act II; his response to Marke’s speech (‘O König’) is indescribably sweet-toned. Act III holds particular challenges to the tenor, and Melchior’s portrayal of the mortally wounded lover is reflected in the pained transparency of Wagner’s scoring, performed here with true intensity by the Met orchestra. His timbral range moves from the almost spoken through to the highest cry.”

  • - Colin Clarke, FANFARE, Nov. /Dec., 2015

  • TANNHÄUSER, Live Performance, 19 Dec., 1942, w.Szell Cond. Helen Traubel, Kerstin Thorborg, Lauritz Melchior, Alexander Kipnis, Herbert Janssen, etc. (replete with Milton Cross’ commentaries); Ormandy Cond.LA Phil., w.Helen Traubel & Lauritz Melchior: LOHENGRIN - Excerpts, Live Performance, 1948, Hollywood Bowl. (Canada) 3-Immortal Performances 1053. Transfers & Essay by Richard Caniell. Program notes by Dewey Faulkner. (OP3149)

    “As is always the case with Richard Caniell’s Immortal Performances releases, there is no question about the quality of restoration. Although this performance of TANNHÄUSER has been available before on a variety of labels, this version is significantly better. The sound is fuller, the background is quieter, the pitches are correct, the flutter is mostly gone and the distortion minimized. There is no debate even possible about the quality of this versus any other: this is the one to get.

    Melchior had a tenor voice at once powerful and beautiful. This lengthy and demanding role held no terrors for him, and at the end of the opera he sounds as if he could [immediately] sing it again. Passages that other tenors clearly struggle with are sung with complete comfort and ease by Melchior….He was capable of an astonishing range of vocal color, portraying tenderness, anger, pain and love with real imagination….This performance is miraculous - a beacon toward which other Wagnerian tenors should aim, even if they are not likely to get there.

    ….I think that if I were to have only one example of Melchior’s Tannhäuser, it would be this one, and if I were a serious Wagnerian I would not wish to be without it.”

  • - Henry Fogel, FANFARE, Nov./Dec., 2015

  • IL TROVATORE, Live Performance, 11 Jan., 1941, w.Ferruccio Calusio, Cond. Met Opera Ensemble; Jussi Björling, Norina Greco, Bruna Castagna, Francesco Valentino, Nicola Moscona, etc.; JUSSI BJÖRLING, w.Howard Barlow Cond. Voice of Firestone Orch.: If I Could Tell You (Idabelle Firsetone), Sylvia (Speaks), L’alba separa (Tosti), PRINCESS PAT - Neapolitan Love Song (Victor Herbert), TURANDOT – Nessun dorma – Broadcast Performance, 10 March, 1952. Voice of Firestone, NBC Studios Rockefeller Center, New York. (Canada) 2-Immortal Performances IPCD 1052. (OP3148)

    “Wow! This is a side of Jussi Björling that we don’t often encounter, and it is sensational. The great Swedish tenor made a classic studio recording for RCA in 1952 with an unsurpassed, all-star cast—Milanov, Barbieri, Warren. It is a gloriously sung performance, and Björling’s Manrico is vocalized as well as we are ever likely to hear it….There are other live Björling performances that have circulated, and this one has been available on other labels. Richard Caniell has performed his usual miracles with the sound restoration, and there is simply no comparison possible with the editions on Cetra Live Opera, Urania or Myto, which are the ones I am familiar with. The sound here may not quite equal a professionally made 1941 studio recording, but it comes shockingly close. If you know this performance on the other labels, you don’t know it at all.”

  • - Henry Fogel, FANFARE, Nov./Dec., 2015

  • MARK REIZEN: Songs by Tschaikowsky. (Russia) Aquarius AQVR 309, recorded 1946-75. (V2453)

  • MARK REIZEN: Dargomyzhsky Songs; w.Nebolsin Cond. Nelepp & Pokrovskaya: RUSALKA (Dargomyzhsky) - Excerpts. (Russia) Aquarius AQVR 390, recorded 1939-50. (V2454)

    “The Ukranian bass Mark Reizen, a famous exponent of the Miller’s role like Chaliapin before him, starred in excerpts from Dargomyzhsky’s RUSALKA, which were recorded for Soviet Radio in 1949 and 1950. We hear four substantial chunks, amounting to about 45 minutes of music. The Miller’s famous aria is delivered with rumbustious rhythm and character, and Reizen is in tremendous voice….it must have been riveting on stage. Nebolsin conducts ably, and both chorus and orchestra are excellent, as is the sound quality….Comparisons with such singers as Chaliapin and Gmyrya are rewarding, but do not find Reizen wanting in any way.”

  • - Tully Potter, THE RECORD COLLECTOR, 2015

  • JOSEPH FUCHS, w.Artur Balsam (Pf.): Sonata #3 in E-flat; Sonata #4 in a; Kreutzer Sonata #9 in A; Sonata #10 in G (all Beethoven). (Canada) 2-St Laurent Studio YSL T-329, Live Performance, 20 March, 1970, Alice Tully Hall, New York. [Never previously issued.] Transfers by Yves St Laurent. (S0683)

    “It was unfortunate for Fuchs that he played at a time when active violinists included Heifetz, Kreisler, Elman, Milstein, Stern, Oistrakh, Kogan, Francescatti, and a great many others. Fuchs played well, even in his late years. He was born in 1899, so [all these YSL] recitals were given when he was in his early seventies. [They] show him with undiminished technical skills and with great imagination in a huge range of repertoire....They document the playing one of the important violinists of the twentieth century, caught in actual performances that demonstrate the breadth of his musical sensibilities.

    As is usual with Saint Laurent Studios, the quality of the transfers is superb, and there are no program notes. These are available at Norbeck, Peters & Ford.”

  • - Henry Fogel, FANFARE

  • CHARLES MÜNCH, Vol. V, Cond. Boston S.O.: Tragic Overture (Brahms); Symphony #6 (Piston; World Premiere); w.JASCHA HEIFETZ: Violin Concerto in D (Beethoven). (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL T-302, Live Performance, 25 Nov., 1955. Transfers by Yves St Laurent. (C1400)

  • CHARLES MÜNCH, Vol. VI, Cond. Boston S.O., w.Florence Kopleff, Catherine Akos & Phyllis Curtin: LE MARTYRE DE SAINT-SÉBASTIEN (Debussy). (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL T-303, Live Performance, 27 Jan., 1956. Transfers by Yves St Laurent. (C1402)

  • LEOPOLD STOKOWSKI, Vol.III, Cond. Boston S.O.: DON GIOVANNI - Overture (Mozart); Symphony #7 in A (Beethoven); HAMLET - Overture-Fantasia (Tschaikowsky) & BORIS GODUNOV - Symphonic Synthesis (Moussorgsky). (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL T-306, Live Performance, 13 Jan., 1968. Transfers by Yves St Laurent. (C1398)

  • CARLO MARIA GIULINI Cond. Boston Symphony Orchestra: L'Italiana in Algerie - Overture (Rossini); 'Little Russian' Symphony #2 in c (Tschaikowsky); w.Doriot Anthony Dwyer (Flute): Concerto grosso for flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn and strings (Ghedini); w.Harvard Glee Club & Radcliffe Choral Society: Stabat Mater; Laudi alia Vergine Maria; Te Deum (all Verdi). (Canada) 2-St Laurent Studio YSL T-307, Live Performance, 2 March, 1962. Transfers by Yves St Laurent. (C1403)

  • AARON COPLAND Cond. Boston S.O.: Rondo arlecchinesco (Busoni); Portals (Ruggles; Variations on a theme by Haydn (Brahms); w.SIDNEY FOSTER: Piano Concerto #3 (Bartók). (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL T-299, Live Performance, 9 April, 1965. Transfers by Yves St Laurent. (C1386)

  • MSTISLAV ROSTROPOVICH, w.Erich Leinsdorf Cond. Boston Symphony Orchestra: Cello Concerto #1 in D (Haydn, Live Performance, 23 Oct., 1965); SAMUEL MAYES, w.DMITRI KABALEVSKY Cond. Boston Symphony Orch.: Cello Concerto #1 in g, Op.49 (Cond. by the Composer), Live Performance, 14 Nov., 1959. (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL T-304. [Never previously issued.] Transfers by Yves St Laurent. (S0674)

    . . . out-of-print books

    [many on the Metropolitan Opera]

    have been added at the beginning of

    each completely revised book section . . .

    more coming in the next months . . .

    more out-of-print CDs are regularly

    added throughout our listings,

    in appropriate categories.

    . . . and our 50% Discount

    Sale continues . . .

    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 Melodiya, Vista Vera, 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, 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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  • Otello  (Uzunov, Milanov, MacNeil;  Schippers) (2-HTM 65-001)
    OP3151. 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 very clear sound with no surrounding audience noise. Worthy of note is that Milanov never did a broadcast performance of Desdemona.]
    Ivan Moravec - Twelfth Night Recital        (2-Supraphon 4190)
    P1212. IVAN MORAVEC: Twelfth Night Recital, incl. Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Debussy & Chopin. (Czech Republic) 2-Supraphon 4190, Live Performance, 6 Jan., 1987, Prague. [One of the most poetic, beautiful and illuminating piano recitals to have been heard in many a year!] - 099925419028
    Leon Fleisher;  Annie Fischer;  Szell;  Giulini    (Audite 95.643)
    P1211. LEON FLEISHER, w.George Szell Cond. Swiss Festival Orch.: Concerto #2 in B-flat (Beethoven), Live Performance 29 Aug., 1962; ANNIE FISCHER, w.Giulini Cond. Philharmonia Orch.: Concerto in e (Schumann), Live Performance, 3 Sept., 1960, (both Kunsthaus, Lucerne). (Germany) Audite 95.643. - 4022143956439
    Pique Dame (Uzunov, Ivanov, Sokolova) (Aquarius AQVR 379)
    OP2885. PIQUE DAME (Tschaikowsky), Live Performance, 20 Jan., 1957, w.Khaikin Cond. Dimiter Uzunov (singing in Bulgarian), Alexei Ivanov, Natalia Sokolova, Pyotr Selivanov, Eugenia Verbitskaya, Vera Firsova, etc. (Russia) 2-Aquarius AQVR 379. - 4607123631447
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