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------ANNOUNCEMENT: The long-awaited Auction #147 now is online, with closing date of 18 May!-------

Our long-awaited 78rpm Auction #147 is online, closing date of 18 May! At a total of 118 pages, this is the largest auction we’ve ever produced, filled with many rarities, plus MINT copies of ‘Society’ recordings (all pressed from original masters), now at closeout prices.

It will come as no surprise that Norbeck, Peters & Ford have been concentrating our efforts in locating and promoting thousands of historical-interest CDs during the past quarter century, often at the expense of the somewhat rarified collector of the original 78rpm issues. Now, the long wait is over as we have spent much of the past year organizing, researching and listing many 78s in our vast inventory, many of them with appropriate critical and biographical quotes. This auction features a large assortment of instrumental, vocal and historically important records, the vast majority being in truly spectacular condition.

As our little urchin stares into the recording horn, you can now view our current 78rpm AUCTION whose closing date is 18 May!

  • HULLO AMERICA! (Herman Finck; Cliford Grey, Elsie Janis & Dan Kildare), recorded 1918, w.Herman Finck Cond. Palace Theatre Ensemble; Elsie Janis, Maurice Chevalier, Stanley Lupino, Owen Nares, Irene Magley, Will West, Arthur Fields & Billy Merson; Additional material by The Savoy Quartet. H. M. Coldstream Guards Band & The Light Opera Company. (England) Palaeophonics 112, w.Elaborate ‘The Play’ 18pp. Brochure, replete with numerous photos of the Palace Theatre 1918 production & biographies. Excellently transferred from the legendary Acoustic 78rpm HMV rarities. (PE0274)

    "HULLO AMERICA! opened 25 Sept., 1919 at the Palace Theatre, London, and ran for 358 performances. Interpolating war songs into her vaudeville routine proved very popular with American audiences and, after the U.S. entered the Great War, Elsie Janis got the idea of performing for the soldiers in action on the western front. No one had ever attempted such a thing before, and there was no money available to underwrite the cost. So, at her own expense and peril, Elsie traveled to Europe and began putting on shows for the American Expeditionary Force, sometimes performing on tabletops in front of headquarters. She was a huge success, boosting morale and endearing herself forever to American and British troops as 'The Sweetheart of the A.E.F.'. Only days after the armistice, Elsie repaired once more to the recording studio and waxed 'I Love Them All a Little Bit', 'The Jazz Band', 'Après la Guerre' - joined by fellow HULLO, AMERICA! cast members Owen Nares, Stanley Lupino, and Will West -'The Picture I Want to See' (with Owen Nares), and Parts 1 and 2 of 'Give Me the Moonlight', which features Elsie doing her dialect imitations and reading a poem dedicated to the British soldiers."


    - Archeophone Program Notes


    “In 1917, Maurice Chevalier discovered jazz and ragtime and went to London where he found new success at the Palace Theatre, and where his ‘straw hat’ persona was introduced in HULLO AMERICA!, the 1918 Revue. In the 1920s Chevalier emerged as a major star on the Paris stage.”


  • - Jason Ankeny, allmusic.com


  • JUSSI BJÖRLING, w.Bertil Bokstedt (Pf.): Songs by Schubert, Brahms, Liszt, Strauss,Wolf, Sibelius, Alfvén, Grieg & Tosti: Björling announces Peterson-Berger song as a substitute; Arias from Andrea Chénier, Carmen & Die Zauberflöte - Live Performance from Falkoner Centret, Copenhagen, 15 October 1959; 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. (U.K.) JSP Records JSP682, accompanied by elaborate 24pp booklet containing Stephen Hastings' analysis of this recital. Transfers by Seth B. Winner. (V2472)

    “Björling’s breath control is as superb as earlier and his legato singing is exemplary. The beauty of his silvery voice is unmistakable - it is the Jussi we know from so many outstanding recordings. The sound quality of the recording is first class and considering the age is clear and dynamic. Seth B. Winner had excellent basic material at his disposal but he has adjusted to take account of some deviations in volume and has also removed disturbing noises like coughs and squeaks. The piano is balanced a mite closer than the voice but this is no drawback. It makes us experience Bertil Bokstedt’s elegant phrasing and exquisite timing. He was a good listener as well as a promoter – the perfect accompanist.

    The 24-page-booklet is a further bonus with among other things a detailed historical account by Harald Henrysson of Jussi Björling’s appearances in Denmark. They spanned some 28 years, all of his adult career. It’s lavishly illustrated. The vocal expert Stephen Hastings, author of the book THE BJÖRLING SOUND, contributes a profound analysis of the Copenhagen concert, full of insight as usual. There are also contributions by John H. Haley, Dan Shea and Seth B. Winner. This is a quality issue, in other words and should be in every Jussi Björling collection.”


  • - Göran Forsling, Jussi Blörling Society – USA


  • SERGIO FIORENTINO: Early Recordings, incl. Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Schumann, Brahms, Mendelssohn, Rachmaninoff, Kreisler & Borodin. (E.U.) 10-Piano Classics 0104, recorded 1953-66, from the ‘Concert Artist’ LPs. (P1224)

    “Fiorentino is one of those lost legends of the last century, known by far too few, whose singular musicality enriches all who encounter it. Without going into too much detail, his career was marked by numerous retreats from the public eye, including a span of 20 years where he did little but teach. After resurfacing in 1996 at the Newport Music Festival, he took up international public performance in earnest until his untimely death in 1998….I’ve never heard long-breathed melodies like this that seemingly go on for minutes at a time. The piano also magnifies the sound. Everything sounds bigger in Fiorentino’s hands – not just the grandest passages, but even the ones played piannissimo. It sounds simply majestic….Fiorentino may have been overlooked for too long, but his is a voice that is too powerful to ever be forgotten.”


    - Brent Auerbach, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, Nov./Dec., 2012


    “'He is the only [other] pianist', said the legendary Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli of Sergio Fiorentino (1927-1998). How is it that one of the greatest musical geniuses of the 20th century is still so unknown? Sergio Fiorentino was an exceptional pianist who turned his back on the concert arenas at the peak of his powers to concentrate on teaching and returned twenty years later with mastertly technique and musicality undiminished to an acclaim that most artists only dream of. During his five last years, Sergio Fiorentino was dubbed a pianist of the Golden Age and was lauded wherever he went. The deep musical insights which he used to turn the most familiar repertoire into a revelation and his understanding of composers from Bach to Scriabin will ensure that his name and stature remain at the forefront wherever great piano playing is appreciated.”


  • - pianostreet.com


  • GIOCONDA de VITO: Chaconne in g (Vitali); w.Michael Raucheisen (Pf.): Sonata in A, Op.100 (Brahms), Live Performance, 1951, Berlin; w.Georg Ludwig Jochum Cond.RIAS S.O.: Concerto in D (Beethoven), Live Performance, 1954, Berlin (Germany) Audite 95.621. (S0693)

    "Gioconda de Vito was one of the few female violinists able to establish themselves as soloists on the concert platform during the first half of the 20th century. Born in the South Italian region of Puglia, the artist studied in Pesaro and Rome, accepting her first professorship at the tender age of seventeen. De Vito built an international career which took her as far afield as Argentina and Australia. In Germany she was especially highly regarded during the 1930s and 40s. Bach, Beethoven and Brahms represented the main pillars of her repertoire which, however, largely eschewed more modern music. De Vito cultivated a sumptuously romantic tone and never sought superficial violinistic brilliance.

    In 1961, aged only fifty-four, she retired from the concert stage. De Vito never recorded the Beethoven Violin Concerto in the studio: this sole live recording from 1954 with the RIAS-Symphonie-Orchester under the baton of Georg Ludwig Jochum presented here is therefore of particular documentary value.

    Audite's historic archive releases enjoy an excellent reputation worldwide. The high quality of their content is due to their long-term cooperation with radio archives, permitting a continuous exploration of archive collections. The high sound quality of the releases is achieved by using only original tapes from these archives. Audite acquires licences from the broadcasting companies even for public domain archive recordings. In addition, there is the process of re-mastering using numerous new technological post-production possibilities to achieve optimal sound quality while, at all times, remaining faithful to the principles of historical documentation. Only those productions which fulfil all these criteria are labelled with Audite's seal of quality, ‘1st Master Release - Original Tapes’. Audite is, in every aspect, oriented towards high quality.”


  • - Audite


    . . . repeated from the recent past . . .

  • CLAUDIA NOVIKOVA: Laughing with Novikova, incl. Arias from The Geisha (Two Versions), La Périchole (Acts I & II Arias), Die Fledermaus, Boccaccio, Die Lustige Witwe & Sorochinski Fair; NADEZHDA OBUKHOVA: Obukhova in Song, incl. Songs by Gurilyov, Tschaikowsky, Rachmaninoff, Listov, Blanter, Budashkin, Varlamov, etc. Eclectra E CCD-2029. (V0114)

    "After years of scarcity, the privately-produced CD of the 1940 Russian records of CLAUDIA NOVIKOVA is once again available. The producer discovered an errant box of them, neatly hidden away! As a result, there are now a very limited number of copies available. This is a welcome boon since this rare CD has been appearing on Amazon for prices ranging from $200.00 and higher! It is once again available at a mere $19.90.

    Although she had a very long and successful career performing operettas in the Soviet Union, soprano Claudia Novikova made only 9 recordings. Her recording of ‘Ah, quel diner’ from Offenbach's LA PÉRICHOLE is legendary. Almost as much fun and perhaps even more astonishing techniquewise, ‘The Song of the Laugh’ was interpolated into performances of Sidney Jones' operetta, THE GEISHA, to highlight her unique and inimitably delightful gifts. Her voice and phrasing would melt stone - where did those low notes come from?”


    - Off the Beaten Path, THE CLASSICAL SINGER


    “Claudia Novikova studied with the contralto Eugenia Zbruyeva and in 1920 débuted in Odessa, then later appearing at the Hermitage Theatre in Moscow. Her career gathered momentum when she devoted herself to operetta, then in 1926 joined the Moscow Operetta Theater where she was member of the group until her retirement in 1958. Her record ‘Song of the laugh’ from Sidney Jones’ operetta THE GEISHA made her famous. In 1947 she received the distinction of Honorary Artist of the Soviet Union.”


    - Ned Ludd


    "Alongside [Obukhova’s] wonderful interpretations of operatic arias and the songs of Tchaikowsky and other Russian composers so seldom heard in our concert halls, she recorded many lighter items including, believe it or not, several of the most hackneyed Neapolitan songs….[trifles] but what charm in the singing!"


  • - Christopher Norton-Welsh, THE RECORD COLLECTOR, 2007




  • SERGEI LEMESHEV: Recitals from 1954-64, [only very occasionally w.Vera Kudryavtseva, (soprano) & Zara Dolukhanova, (mezzo-­soprano)]. (Russia) 8-Aquarius AQVR 400, recorded 1954-64, primarily live performances. Slipcase Edition. (V2470)

    “The main contents of Volume 7 is comprised of the concerts recorded in 1954 – 1964. In this sense, the volume represents a continuation of the preceding volume, which included the concerts recorded in 1943 – 1954. Volume 7 contains a total of seven concerts. To note, one album is dedicated specifically to the concerts in Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg). An additional album (CDs 7 and 8) includes the latest cycles of the radio studio recordings in 1962 – 1963 (romances by Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff). We considered it very important to publish these cycles all together under one cover for the first time ever….

    In addition, one can listen to four more excellent recordings on this disc from the Moscow radio studio archives. These are the romances recorded in 1950, which have never been published before in our collection….The next album called ‘Leningrad’ includes, along with the concerts at the BZP, or the Grand Hall of the Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg) Philarmonia, the rarest studio recordings being published for the first time ever. They were made on the Leningrad radio and were accompanied by the pianist E. Lebedev. Some other recordings were made together with S. Shaposhnikov (Baritone)….

    As a supplement to the concerts, disc 5 includes two songs by Robert Schumann. It is worth mentioning that songs by Schumann are completely absent in Lemeshev’s discography….Also, in this disc and in the one that follows, we included two interviews with Lemeshev on the following subjects: ‘From the Song to the Opera’ and ‘About the folk song in the Opera’.”


  • - M. Nikiforov, AQUARIUS


  • VOICES BEHIND THE IRON CURTAIN (Soviet Singers of the Stalin Era), incl. Barsova, Firsova, Katulskaya, Kazantseva, Shpiller, Shumskaya, Vishnevskaya, Arkhipova, Dolukhanova, Maksakova, Obukhova, Preobrazhenskaya, Aleksandrovich, Badridze, Frinberg, Khanaev, Khromchenko, Kozlovsky, Lemeshev, Nelepp, Orfionov, Ozerov, Vinogradov, Baturin, Burlak, Gamrekeli, Lisitsian, Nortsov, Gmyria, Mikhailov, Pirogov, Reizen, Skobtsov, etc. (Austria) 4-Preiser 89409. Long out-of-print, Final Copies! (V1344)

    "67 singers arranged in chronological order by birth, whose careers began after the October Revolution, 1917, including Valeria Barsova, Vera Firsova, Goar Gasparian, Yelena Katulskaya, Natalia Shpiller, Elisaveta Shumskaya, Galina Vishnevskaya, Irina Arkhipa, Vera Davidova, Zara Dolukhanova, Ivan Kovlovsky, Sergei Lemeshev, Georgi Nelepp, Georgi Vinogradov, Pavel Lisitsian, Maxim Mikhailov, Ivan Petrov, Aleksandr Pirogov, Mark Reizen, Sofia Preobrazhenskaya & Nikandr Khanaev."


  • -Zillah Dorset Akron


  • LE NOZZE DI FIGARO, Live Performance, 1964, Buenos Aires, w.István Kertész Cond. Teatro Colón Ensemble; Victoria de los Angeles, Renate Holm, Christa Ludwig, Walter Berry, Renato Cesari, etc.; VICTORIA de los ANGELES: Arias from Nozze, Manon, Ernani, La Boheme, Mefistofele & La Vida Breve - live performances, 1952-58. 3-VAI 1282. (OP3170)



    - - - - - - - - A Met Opera Double Bill - - - - - - - -

  • IL TABARRO, Live Performance, 5 Jan., 1946, w.Busch Cond. Met Opera Ensemble; Licia Albanese, Lawrence Tibbett, Frederick Jagel, Margaret Harshaw, Virgilio Lazzari, Thomas Hayward, Alessio de Paolis, etc.;

    DON PASQUALE, Live Performance, 5 Jan., 1946 (replete with Milton Cross’ commentaries) w.Sodero Cond. Met Opera Ensemble; Bidú Sayão, Salvatore Baccaloni, Nino Martini, John Brownlee & Alessio de Paolis; DON PASQUALE - Excerpts (in German) w.Steiner Cond. Berlin Reichsrundfunk Orch.; Erna Berger & Karl Schmitt-Walter; DON PASQUALE - Excerpts w. Schipa, dal Monte, Fregosi & Azzolini. (Canada) 3-Immortal Performances IPCD 1057, w.52pp Elaborate Booklet, w.Notes by Henry Fogel & Richard Caniell; Transfers by Richard Caniell. DON PASQUALE commemorates the 150th Anniversary of the birth of Fritz Busch. (OP3169)

    "During her long Met career (1940-1966) Licia Albanese was particularly identified with the music of Puccini, and there are recorded examples of her in many Puccini roles, either studio or live recordings. There is, however, a single performance of her Giorgetta in IL TABARRO preserved, and it is this one. How fortunate we are to have it, particularly paired with Lawrence Tibbett’s Michele. The fervor and the innate feel for the Puccini idiom that both artists convey in their scenes together is not duplicated in any other performance of which I am aware.

    This [DON PASQUALE] is a treasurable opportunity to experience a Donizetti opera conducted by the great Fritz Busch, and from the opening of the Overture we understand that this will be a unique experience. The degree of attention to dynamic shading and to orchestral balance and texture is remarkable, and Richard Caniell has made special efforts in his restoration to preserve that dynamic shading and the performance’s dynamic range. There is spring in the rhythms, there is flexibility in the shaping of melodic lines, a sparkle in the string playing, an effective and intelligent application of rubato, and an attention to phrasing that we almost never hear in this music."


  • - Henry Fogel, Program Notes


  • DON GIOVANNI, Live Performance, 9 Dec., 1944, w. Szell Cond. Met Opera Ensemble; Ezio Pinza, Salvatore Baccaloni, Charles Kullman, Florence Kirk, Eleanor Steber, Bidu Sayão, Mack Harrell, etc.;

    DON GIOVANNI, Live Performance, 6 Dec., 1947, w. Rudolf Cond. Met Opera Ensemble; Ezio Pinza, Salvatore Baccaloni, Charles Kullman, Regina Resnik, Polyna Stoska, Nadine Conner, Lorenzo Alvary, etc. (Canada) 4-Immortal Performances IPCD 1059. Restoration and Transfers by Richard Caniell. (OP3167)

    “For anyone who doubts the importance of a conductor in operatic performances, this extraordinary set will settle the question. While the female singers are different in these two Met broadcasts, the principal males are identical (and only three years older in the second one). Under Max Rudolf we have a fine performance of Mozart’s masterpiece, a performance that we would be very grateful to encounter in the opera house today. But when heard after George Szell’s 1944 rendition, the difference between good and great is made all too real. The characteristics of Szell’s conducting here are quick tempi, crisp articulation of notes and text, and most of all an incredible sense of true ensemble throughout. Musicians in the orchestra clearly listening to each other, singers genuinely interacting instead of merely singing their individual parts well, and even orchestra and singers listening to (and interacting with) each other. The precision of orchestral attacks and the clean transparency of passagework in the strings and winds is astonishing. These are the traits that have made the Cleveland Orchestra one of America’s great ensembles, and here Szell creates it at the Met. But the charge of coldness, or lack of emotion, sometimes hurled at Szell is without merit here. There are many examples of actual tenderness (the orchestral introduction to ‘Non mi dir’, is one, the sensual conducting of ‘Là ci darem’ another. The sharpness of contrast between the comic and the dramatic, so crucial to this opera, has rarely been as strongly made as it is here by Szell and his cast.

    Pinza, already 52 years old, is still in magnificent voice and doesn’t sound in any way bored with the role despite having been identified with it for well over a decade. The sheer sound is, of course, one of the miracles of the vocal art in the 20th century. But as impressive is the relish with which he embraces every facet of the role: the seductive charmer, the evil schemer, the powerful overlord; all are present in this complex character. The balance between cruelty, wit, and sensuality is perfectly struck, and brought vividly to life through inflection, phrasing, and vocal coloration. Baccaloni’s Leporello is another huge asset to this performance. He, like Pinza, is a master of every word of the text as well as every note of the music, and their interchanges are as close to real-life as opera can get. In addition, Baccaloni was a wonderful musician, with impeccable rhythm and pitch, especially when led by a conductor like Szell. With Pinza and Baccaloni one gets, as rarely happens in this opera, a vivid sense of a lifetime relationship between master and servant, with mutual respect based on their respective statuses in society but also on their intimate knowledge of each other’s characters.

    Most successful is Bidù Sayão, whose Zerlina defines, for me at least, how to sing and act this role. Vocally exquisite, she also is the perfect lovable vixen. ‘Là ci darem’ sung by her and Pinza is utterly believable and treasurable. Steber, Baccaloni, and Kullman are excellent in their roles too. Perhaps Kullman does not have the uniquely beautiful timbre or ridiculous breath control of McCormack, but his is a lovely lyric tenor that brings pleasure. He does struggle just a bit with the passagework in ‘Il mio tesoro’, but he is neither the first nor last. Mack Harrell is a superb Masetto, believable rather than the usual cardboard rural dummy, and Nicola Moscona is luxury casting as the The Graveyeard scene is truly chilling. Even without seeing them, one clearly distinguishes the voices of Pinza, Baccaloni, and Moscona, and the intense dramatic underpinning from Szell is positively gripping.

    Max Rudolf’s performance is….a valuable inclusion here - after all any Pinza performance of this role is worth having. Pinza, it must be noted, was 55 rather than 52, and even those three years can make a difference at that point in a long, active career. Pinza’s voice has lost a bit of firmness, but is still a remarkable instrument and he does bring the Don to life as few others have. The role consists of a great deal of recitative, and Pinza relishes every word in a way that most singers simply don’t approach. No phrase is thrown away; everything smacks of total involvement.

    The most interesting new voice here is Regina Resnick as Anna. We know her as a brilliant, dramatic mezzo-soprano, and may forget that she began as a dramatic soprano. She is believable and even thrilling as Anna, but the rapid notes in the second part of ‘Non mi dir’ do seem to defeat her. Despite that, hers is one of the most impressive performances of this cast. Lorenzo Alvary’s Masetto is not as incisive nor cleanly sung as Mack Harrell’s, but Jerome Hines is every bit as impressive as the Commendatore as was Moscona.

    As usual, Immortal Performances provides thorough and informative notes, and wonderful photos, including photos and brief biographies of every performer. This is a release of considerable value and importance. We don’t have a lot of Szell in the opera house, particularly in his earlier years. The opportunity to compare Szell and Rudolf, and dramatically see (and hear) the difference a conductor can make, is instructive, especially since Immortal Performances is selling the four discs for the price of three. Above all, the Szell/Pinza DON GIOVANNI is a treasure, sonically restored better than ever.”


  • - Henry Fogel, FANFARE, 2016


  • MIGNON, Live Performance, 15 May, 1937, w.Pelletier Cond. Metropolitan Opera Ensemble; Jennie Tourel (début), Armand Tokatyan, Léon Rothier, Josephine Antoine, Norman Cordon, etc., featuring Robert Woldrop’s announcements & curtain calls; MIGNON – Excerpts: Georgi Vinogradov, recorded 1940 & 1947; MIGNON, Live Performance, 17 Dec., 1938, w.Pelletier Cond. Metropolitan Opera Ensemble; Risë Stevens, Richard Crooks, Ezio Pinza, Alessio de Paolis, etc., featuring Milton Cross’ announcements & curtain calls; ORFEO – Excerpts: Risë Stevens, w. Erich Kleiber Cond. Teatro Colón Orch., 1939. (Canada) 4-Immortal Performances 4-IPCD 1061. Restoration and Transfers by Richard Caniell. The 1938 performance is a WORLD PREMIERE RELEASE. (OP3166 )

    "At her Metropolitan début, Tourel was already a magnificent artist....In the opening scene, Tourel immediately establishes the changeability of Mignon's character....'Connais-tu le pays' overflows with delicious portamenti and beautifully arched phrases....In her duet with Lothario she fairly prances and, unlike other Met Mignons, she even includes a little cadenza, hinting at her future Rossini specialty. Despite the excellence of her first act, one is unprepared for the searing heat of Tourel's portrayal in the second scene of act two. Tourel takes all the high options, including several high B-flats and a high C, singing with passion yet with perfect vocal and musical control. The audience bursts into applause at the abandon of her cry 'Dieu! je deviens folle de rage et de douleur!' Neither Swarthout nor Stevens...comes near to matching the eloquence of Tourel in this scene...."


  • - Paul Jackson,
    SATURDAY AFTERNOONS AT THE OLD MET,
    pp.138-139


  • UN BALLO IN MASCHERA, w.Abbado Cond.Vienna Staatsoper Ensemble; Piero Cappuccilli, Luciano Pavarotti, Gabriele Lechner, Ludmilla Schemstchuk, Magda Nadar, etc. (Austria) 2-Orfeo C 907 162 I, Live Performance, 26 Oct., 1986. [In stunning aural clarity - a thrilling performance brilliantly conducted by Abbado!] (OP3168)

  • Incontro con FRANCO CORELLI, incl. Songs by Bach-Gounod & Grieg; Arias & Duets (w.Tebaldi, Bastianini, Capnist & Amparán) from La Gioconda, Tosca, Pagliacci, Carmen, Rigoletto, Aïda, Il Trovatore, Forza & Otello. (Italy) Hardy 4053. (DVD0715)

    "A musical portrait of one of the greatest operatic tenors of the twentieth century. Franco Corelli is seen in arias and scenes from Carmen, Pagliacci, Tosca, La Forza del Destino, Il Trovatore, Aïda, La Gioconda, and excerpts from two operas he never sang in the theater: Otello and Rigoletto. The collection also includes Corelli singing Gounod’s 'Ave Maria', and 'I Love Thee' by Grieg."


  • - Ned Ludd


  • GIGLI. (Leonardo Ciampa). Natick, MA, Arts Metrowest, 2014. 242pp. Bibliography by Andrew Farkas; Essays by Luigi Inzaghi, Luigi Ricci, Colin Bain, Andrew Farkas, Harald Henrysson, David Cutler, Fabio Armiliato, Juan Dzazópulos Elgueta, Thomas G. Kaufman, Mark Obert-Thorn, Magda Olivero, Giorgio Tozzi, José Carreras, Virginia Zeani, etc. (Pictorial thick paper covers) (B1860)

    “Titled simply ‘GIGLI’, the new book is not a biography in the traditional sense, but rather an anthology of articles, most of which have never appeared in print in English, which have been compiled and edited by Leonardo Ciampa, the author of THE TWILIGHT OF BELCANTO and numerous other publications….Ciampa has amassed a formidable list of contributors – thirty-two in all, comprising such legendary singers as Magda Olivero, Giorgio Tozzi, José Carreras and Virginia Zeani, along with well-known operatic authors and researchers such as Andrew Farkas, Harald Henrysson and the late Thomas G. Kaufman…to his new Gigli anthology. The resulting edition is the first book written in English about the legendary tenor since 1957, when Gigli’s memoirs were published in an English translation by the late Darina Silone….Farkas also addresses Gigli’s overt involvement with Mussolini and the Fascisti, and, by extension, Hitler and the Nazis…..One of the most perceptive of the forty-plus articles in the new book is a chronological analysis of ten of Gigli’s recordings by the great soprano Virginia Zeani, who had first heard the great tenor’s disks as a youth in her native Bucharest, and who eventually sang with him….The resulting book, to borrow a phrase from Virginia Zeani, is not just ‘a book about Gigli’, but about ‘the maximum of love that people have for music’.”


  • - James A. Drake, THE RECORD COLLECTOR, 2016


  • WILLIAM MASSELOS: Piano Fantasy (Two Performances) (Copland), Live Performances, 25 Oct., 1957, Juilliard; w.Julius Grossman Cond. Municipal Concerts Orch.: Ballade in f-sharp minor, Op. 19 (Fauré), Live Performance, 11 March, 1972, Alice Tully Hall, New York. (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL T-348. [Never previously issued.] Transfers by Yves St Laurent. (P1223)

    The PIANO FANTASY was commissioned by the Juilliard School of Music as part of its fiftieth anniversary celebration. Because the work was not ready in time for performance, as originally planned, at the special series of concerts held in February, 1956, to memorialize that event, the Juilliard administration has arranged a special concert for its presentation on Friday, 25 October.”


    - Aaron Copland, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 20 Oct., 1957


    “Finished too late for the music festival, the FANTASY was premiered at Juilliard by pianist William Masselos on October 25, 1957. In an unusual strategy, the FANTASY was the only work on that evening's program; Masselos played it twice, both before and after intermission. Copland had himself played the first performances of most of his other major piano works, but decided not to in the case of the FANTASY because, as he put it in a letter to Benjamin Britten, ‘the FANTASY is quite beyond me’.

    The work is approximately half an hour in length, with no pauses, and contains considerable technical hurdles for any performer….As Leo Smit, who has recorded all of Copland's piano music, has written, ‘Aaron's instructions to the performer in the FANTASY are so personalized that it's as though he [were] standing behind you looking over your shoulder. I know of no other work that is so filled with the physical presence of a composer'."


  • - Chris Morrison, allmusic.com


  • MARCELLE MEYER, Vol. VIII, incl. Mozart & Stravinsky. (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL 78-346, recorded 1949-52. Transfers by Yves St Laurent. (P1222)

    "In her day Marcelle Meyer was the doyenne of French piano. Cortot admired her and she performed Ravel and Couperin. She had a vast repertoire that extended from the Baroque to contemporary composers like Stravinsky and she left a considerable recorded legacy.

    If you have never heard her, Meyer's playing was wonderfully elegant and fluid. Her touch was subtle, her phrasing refined and her pedaling gorgeous - and only occasionally more generous than modern tastes tend to allow. There are times when one would wish for more fire and a greater sense of dynamic contrast, but it is hard not to be won over by her intelligent and musical interpretations."


  • - Ned Ludd


  • BUSCH STRING QUARTET, Vol. VII, incl. Quartet in C, Op.59, #3 (Beethoven), recorded 1933; w.RUDOLF SERKIN: Piano Quintet in E-flat, Op.44 (Schumann), recorded 22 May, 1942. (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL 78-354. Transfers by Yves St Laurent. [These venerated performances are offered here in extraordinary sound quality having been copied from pristine PW Columbia & PW Victor Pressings which offer remarkably quiet surfaces.] (S0692)

    “…supremely accomplished performances that are steeped in – and nourished by – a profound performing tradition. No collection worth the name can afford to be without them..”


  • - James Inverne, GRAMOPHONE, July, 2008


  • CHARLES MÜNCH Cond. Boston S.O.: Symphony #2 for strings and trumpet in D (Honegger); Boléro (Ravel), Live Performance, 6 Dec., 1966; w.MARGARET HARSHAW: Tristan - Prelude & Liebestod; Götterdämmerung - Immolation Scene, Live Performance, 20 Nov., 1953 (both Symphony Hall, Boston). (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL T-335. Transfers by Yves St Laurent. (C1432)

    "It’s difficult to articulate what makes Münch’s conducting special – or indeed if there even is anything identifiably unique about it. A lesser talent would simply turn out generic, cookie-cutter performances; but Münch was anything but generic. He was one of the most musical of conductors; in so many of his performances, everything simply sounds ‘right’. Certainly, his experience as an orchestral musician gave him a lot of practical insight into the mechanics of directing orchestra traffic. But a classic Münch interpretation never sounds calculated. Spontaneity was one of his hallmarks, sometimes to the surprise and discomfort of the musicians playing under him. From one night to the next, a Münch performance of the same piece might be very different, depending on his mood of the moment – yet it would always sound like Münch.”


  • - Lawrence Hansen, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, Nov./Dec., 2012,


  • PIERRE BOULEZ Cond. Cleveland S.O.: Sinfonia Concertante in B-flat (Haydn); Symphony #2 in D (Beethoven); Zauberflöte – Overture (Mozart); Mazeppa (Liszt). (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL T-349, Live Performances, 1967-71. Transfers by Yves St Laurent. (C1431)



    . . . out-of-print books [many biographies,

    Record Catalogue-Discographies, Toscanini

    and 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, 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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  • Hullo America!  (Janis, Chevalier, Lupino)  (Palaeophonics 112)
    PE0274. HULLO AMERICA! (Herman Finck; Cliford Grey, Elsie Janis & Dan Kildare), recorded 1918, w.Herman Finck Cond. Palace Theatre Ensemble; Elsie Janis, Maurice Chevalier, Stanley Lupino, Owen Nares, Irene Magley, Will West, Arthur Fields & Billy Merson; Additional material by The Savoy Quartet. H. M. Coldstream Guards Band & The Light Opera Company. (England) Palaeophonics 112, w.Elaborate ‘The Play’ 18pp. Brochure, replete with numerous photos of the Palace Theatre 1918 production & biographies. Excellently transferred from the legendary Acoustic 78rpm HMV rarities.
    $19.90
    Jussi Bjorling;  Bertil Bokstedt  -  Copenhagen Recital (JSP 682)
    V2472. JUSSI BJÖRLING, w.Bertil Bokstedt (Pf.): Songs by Schubert, Brahms, Liszt, Strauss,Wolf, Sibelius, Alfvén, Grieg & Tosti: Björling announces Peterson-Berger song as a substitute; Arias from Andrea Chénier, Carmen & Die Zauberflöte - Live Performance from Falkoner Centret, Copenhagen, 15 October 1959; 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. (U.K.) JSP Records JSP682, accompanied by elaborate 24pp booklet containing Stephen Hastings' analysis of this recital. Transfers by Seth B. Winner. - 788065680220
    $19.90
    Sergio Fiorentino  -  Early Recordings  (10-Piano Classics 0104)
    P1224. SERGIO FIORENTINO: Early Recordings, incl. Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Schumann, Brahms, Mendelssohn, Rachmaninoff, Kreisler & Borodin; w.Mervyn Vicars Cond. London Mozart Ensemble: Concerto #21 in C, K.467 (Mozart); w.Vernon Handley Cond. Guildford Phil.: Grand Fantasy on Polish Airs in A, Op.13 (Chopin). (E.U.) 10-Piano Classics 0104, recorded 1953-66, from the ‘Concert Artist’ LPs, partially restored by Bryan Crimp. - 5060385450390
    $49.90
    Gioconda de Vito;   Raucheisen;   Jochum   (Audite 95.621)
    S0693. GIOCONDA de VITO: Chaconne in g (Vitali); w.Michael Raucheisen (Pf.): Sonata in A, Op.100 (Brahms), Live Performance, 1951, Berlin; w.Georg Ludwig Jochum Cond.RIAS S.O.: Concerto in D (Beethoven), Live Performance, 1954, Berlin (Germany) Audite 95.621. - 4022143956217
    $16.90
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