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Since 1972



Again from Malibran –

LA CREOLE & LE 66 (Offenbach)

& Herold’s LE PRE AUX CLERCS. . .

Bernstein, Toscanini & Monteux

returned to stock after long absence . . .

and our regular 50% SALE continues;

plus many more additions to our

out-of-print books section . . .



  • LA CRÉOLE (Offenbach), recorded 1961, w.Cariven Cond. Claudine Collart, Lina Dachary, Aimé Doniat, Joseph Peyron, Bernard Demigny, etc.; LE 66 (Offenbach), Broadcast Performance, 25 Aug., 1958, w.Cariven Cond. Claudine Collart, René Lenoty & Camille Maurane. (France) 2-Malibran 770. (OP3000)

    LA CRÉOLE is an opéra comique in three acts of 1875 with music by Jacques Offenbach. The French libretto was by Albert Millaud, with additional material by Henri Meilhac. It was one of three full-length stage works written almost simultaneously that year, the others being LA BOULANGÈRE A DES ÉCUS and LE VOYAGE DANS LA LUNE.

    LA CRÉOLE was premiered at the Théâtre des Bouffes Parisiens, Salle Choiseul in Paris. The costumes were designed by Alfred Grévin. The work was also performed in German in Vienna and Berlin in 1876 (as DIE CREOLIN), in Polish in Lemberg the same year, in London and Brussels in 1877, and in Spanish in Mexico in 1885. Adapted as THE COMMODORE as a vehicle for Violet Cameron, the piece was seen in London and New York in 1886. A revival at the Théâtre Marigny starring Josephine Baker in the title role was produced on 17 December 1934, with the libretto revamped by Albert Willemetz and some changes to the music.”

    “LE 66 is an opérette in one act of 1856 with music by Jacques Offenbach. The French libretto was by Pittaud de Forges and Laurencin (Paul Aimé Chapelle).

    The premiere was at the Théâtre des Bouffes Parisiens (Salle Lacaze) Paris, on 31 July 1856, one of nine one-acters produced by the Bouffes Parisiens that year. LE 66 remained in the Bouffes Parisiens repertoire, and was played by them in Vienna in 1862. It had already been seen at the Carltheater in that city in 1859, was produced in Budapest in 1860, and mounted in London in 1865 and 1876. It was revived in Paris in 1984 at the Studio Bertrand alongside Pépito. Contemporary critics particularly admired in the score the romance and tyrolienne and the entry song of the colporteur.”




  • LE PRÉ AUX CLERCS (Hérold), Broadcast Performance, 13 June, 1959, w.Benedetti Cond. Radio Lyrique Ensemble; Berthe Monmart, Claudine Collart, Joseph Peyron, Camille Maurane, Lucien Lovano, etc.; LE PRÉ AUX CLERCS - Excerpts, recorded 1962, w.Etcheverry Cond.Doria, Le Bris, Louvay, Sénéchal, Legros & Giannotti. (France) 2-Malibran 213. (OP2114)

    LE PRÉ AUX CLERCS (The Clerks' Meadow) is an opéra comique in three acts by Ferdinand Hérold with a libretto by François-Antoine-Eugène de Planard based on Prosper Mérimée's Chronique du Temps de Charles IX of 1829. LE PRÉ AUX CLERCS was premiered in Paris by the Opéra-Comique at the Salle de la Bourse on 15 December, 1832. However, after the first performance, Madame Casimir refused - possibly demanding more money - to sing in the subsequent performances, and Mlle Dorus of the Opéra was coached by Hérold over five days to take over the role of Isabelle. Pougin claims that this incident exacerbated the composer's ill-health, leading to his death five weeks after the premiere.

    The opera, Hérold's last completed one, was very successful, inaugurating the new Salle Favart in 1840, and enjoying some 1,000 performances up to 1871, and reaching its 1,600th at the Opéra-Comique by 1949.”




  • DER SCHAUSPIELDIREKTOR (Mozart), w. Neville Marriner Cond. Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin; Otto Schenk, Noemi Nadelmann, Ofelia Sala, Lothar Odinius & Carsten Sabrowski. (Germany) Phoenix Edition 104, Live Performance, Groáer Saal, Philharmonie, Berlin, 2006.
  • (OP2999)

    “Mozart's DER SCHAUSPIELDIREKTOR (The Impresario) has always been a challenge to convincingly produce. It consists of only an overture and four musical numbers, hardly enough to make for a full operatic experience, even a brief one. This version, in a new edition with updated spoken dialogue by Eberhard Streul, though, is both musically and dramatically completely satisfying. This is the result of the wit of Streul's new texts, Otto Schenk's star turn in the speaking role of the Impresario, and the spirit of spontaneity and comedy that the entire cast brings to the opera. Schenk is a born comedian, and based on the ongoing riotous laughter of the audience, he has them in his pocket from the moment he steps on-stage. The rest of the cast enters into the same sense of fun, and the little opera comes across as genuinely hilarious.

    Beginning with a nimble reading of the sparkling overture, Neville Marriner, leading the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, brings a supple playfulness to the score.”




  • LEONARD BERNSTEIN Cond. Boston S.O. & NYPO, w.Marc Blitzstein, Lotte Lenya, Jo Sullivan, David Bro0oks, Laurence Olivier, Nan Merriman, Jennie Tourel, Adele Addison, Irma Gonzalez, Raoul Jobin, Nicola Moscona, Lukas Foss & Leonard Bernstein (Pf.): Beethoven, Schumann, Mahler, Messaien, Copland, Ravel, Shostakovich, Bartók, Stravinsky, Weill, Harris, Piston, Fine, Chávez & David Diamond. (E.U.) 11-West Hill Radio Archives WHRA 6048, Live Performances, 1941-61, all Carnegie Hall, Tanglewood, Symphony Hall, Boston, Brandeis University or Private. Transfers by Lani Spahr. (C1345)

    “A 12-CD set titled LEONARD BERNSTEIN: HISTORICAL RECORDINGS 1946-1961 contains an unexpected gem, an archival recording of the very first performance (in concert) of Marc Blitzstein's English adaptation of DIE DREIGROSCHENOPER at Brandeis University, 14 June 1952. Blitzstein's version, which made the work popular in the U.S. and U.K. and has been performed thousands of times, would soon break all the records for long-running musicals and establish off-Broadway theater as a cultural force in the U.S.

    Bernstein was a close friend of Blitzstein, and he used the first Festival of the Creative Arts at Brandeis to showcase the new adaptation. The participants in the three-day festival read like a who's who of influential musicians, dancers, theater artists, and critics. THE THREEPENNY OPERA cast included Lotte Lenya and Jo Sullivan, both of whom appeared in the stage premiere in 1954; Blitzstein himself narrated, and Bernstein conducted. One could hardly ask for a more auspicious tryout.

    The recording reveals some preliminary versions of lyrics that will intrigue philologists, one example being a line from Mack the Knife: ‘Have you noted Mackie's loaded’, later replaced by ‘And Macheath spends like a sailor’. Perhaps more interesting for those steeped in the original off-Broadway cast recording (1954), the new recording presents something much closer to Blitzstein's original conception. The ‘Tango-Ballad’, bowdlerized on the cast recording, is preserved here in its original form. Lenya's ‘Pirate Jenny’, her first performance anywhere of an English version, will not disappoint. After the performance, Bernstein wrote a note to Lenya: ‘I should be out there spreading roses at your feet for all you did for us at the Brandeis Festival. And it is you who have done the great service to Kurt's music, by being the archangel of a performance that could not have existed but for you. Genug. You’re a genius’.

    The complete recording, a little over an hour, has been issued by West Hill Radio Archives (WHRA-6048) as the eighth disc of eleven (the liner notes are included as a PDF file on the twelfth CD). The set includes radio broadcasts and rehearsals in addition to previously unreleased live performances, and will form an essential part of any Bernstein lover's collection. Weill fans will be overjoyed to have a chance at last to hear this essential historical performance of THE THREEPENNY OPERA."


  • - The Kurt Weill Foundation for Music




  • ARTURO TOSCANINI Cond. BBC S.O.: Beethoven, Mozart, Cherubini, Geminiani, Rossini, Brahms, Mendelssohn, Wagner, Debussy & Elgar. (E.U.) 4-West Hill Radio Archives WHRA 6046, Live Performances, 1935 & 1939, all Queen's Hall. Transfers by Gene Gaudette. (C1346)

    "By the autumn of 1934 terms were agreed upon for Toscanini to conduct four broadcast concerts during the third London Music Festival in June 1935, with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, founded in 1930, trained by Adrian Boult, and widely recognized as Britain's foremost ensemble.

    Previous guest conductors included Richard Strauss, Mengelberg, and Koussevitzky; Toscanini's son-in-law Vladimir Horowitz had been a soloist with the orchestra and his positive experience had no doubt contributed to the Maestro’s decision to accept the invitation.

    After the first, long sold-out concert on June 3, the following day’s critics were unanimous in declaring Toscanini to be pre-eminent in his art.

    There were four programs, each given twice (with slight changes), and all recorded ‘on spec’ by HMV; eventually all works (except a Geminiani concerto, issued here for the first time) were released on LP or CD, but have been unavailable for many years, and are now released in greatly improved sound."


  • - West Hill Radio Archives




  • PIERRE MONTEUX Cond. French National Orch., w.Robert Casadesus, Annie Jodry, G. Moysan: Stravinsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Prokofiev, Tchaikowsky, Respighi, Hindemith, Strauss, Franck, Wagner, Elgar, Ravel, Debussy, Mozart & Beethoven (incl. the latter’s Choral Symphony #9 in d [w.Maria Stader, Hélène Bouvier, Libero de Luca & Josef Greindl]). 8-Music & Arts 1182, Live Performances, 1952-58, Paris & Strasbourg. Boxed Set. Transfers by Kit Higginson. (C0472)

    "Pierre Monteux had one of the longest musical careers in memory, exceeded perhaps only by Pablo Casals and Leopold Stokowski. He retained a youthful appearance (and a full head of black hair!) well into old age, and he was well loved by colleagues and audiences alike.

    RCA Victor recorded him extensively in stereo, not only in Debussy, Ravel, Milhaud, Stravinsky, and the like, but also in Beethoven and Brahms; Monteux was especially noted for his performances of these composers' music, to which he brought an unusual charm and lyrical quality. He strove for transparency of sound, precision, light and springy rhythms, and that elegance that seems particularly associated with French music."


  • - Joseph Stevenson, allmusic.com




  • ELLY NEY, w.Max Fiedler Cond.: Concerto #2 in B-flat (Brahms) - recorded 1939 & 1940; w.von Hoogstraten Cond.: Concerto #15 in B-flat, K.450 (Mozart) - recorded 1 Oct., 1935 (both w.Berlin Phil.). (England) Dutton CDBP 9817. Transfers by Michael J. Dutton. (P1161)

    “Indeed, within the Third Reich [Ney] was altruistic to the point of self-sacrifice, performing virtually free of charge for young German audiences; but they tended to be members of the Hitler Youth. On those occasions when she played for blue-collar audiences, it was for workers in the German Labor Front of Robert Ley; and when she entertained soldiers, they frequently included the Waffen SS. Her chosen medium was Beethoven, whose compositions she interpreted impressively, and after whom she styled herself physically, displaying that same heroic facial expression and that well-known untamed mane. Beethoven, of course, was in vogue in the Third Reich; he stood for the heroic spirit with which Hitler himself identified.”


    - Michael H. Kater, THE TWISTED MUSE, MUSICIANS AND THEIR MUSIC IN THE THIRD REICH, p.31


    “Recently the return of…the ’39 Brahms Second Piano Concerto with Elly Ney…have awakened aficionados to the treasure. The ultimate Brahmsian has been found….Fiedler’s way, of course, is not the only way, but his genial, tender, big-boned style — he would ask his basses to dig in to produce a deep Rembrandtian color, and oh how he loved the third horn when with a little extra encouragement it might take full-toned flight in tandem with lyric strings — remains mightily convincing. Proper Fiedlerites understand that his fluid tissue of tempo modification fits hand-to-glove with Brahms’ frequent changes in mood and texture….be advised that Fiedler was a perfectionist of rhythm, he creates a structure in which freedom equals grace.”


  • - Arthur Bloomfield, MORE THAN THE NOTES




    . . . and repeated from last week . . .



  • FERVAAL, (d’Indy)Broadcast Performance, 1962, w.Le Conte Cond. RTF Ensemble; Jean Mollien, Micheline Grancher, Janine Capderou, Lucien Lovano, etc. (France) 2-Malibran 771. (OP2997)

    FERVAAL is an opera in three acts with a prologue by the French composer Vincent d'Indy. The composer wrote his own libretto, based in part on the lyric poem Axel by the Swedish author Esaias Tegnér. D'Indy worked on the opera over the years 1889 to 1895, and the score was published in 1895.

    FERVAAL premiered at the Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels on 12 March 1897. It was subsequently produced in Paris in 1898, and again in that city in 1912. The first of 13 performances at the Théâtre National de l'Opéra-Comique (Théâtre du Châtelet), on 10 May 1898 was conducted by André Messager and included in the cast Raunay and Imbart de la Tour from the Brussels premiere, along with Gaston Beyle, Ernest Carbonne and André Gresse.

    The last stage performances of it occurred in 1912-13 (at the Paris Palais Garnier, again with Messager conducting) and since that time opera was never performed again on stage, but in concert it was presented by RTF in 1962 [above]. The Bern Opera House presented it in two concert performances, conducted by Srboljub Dinić, on 28 May & 18 June 2009. It was also performed in concert by the American Symphony Orchestra, led by Leon Botstein on 14 October 2009 at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City. Contemporary commentary, such as from Maurice Ravel, described FERVAAL as strongly influenced by the operas of Richard Wagner, such as PARSIFAL. Thus the opera can be described as an epic with Wagnerian allusion.”




  • LA DAME BLANCHE (Boieldieu), Live Performance, 1964, w.Jean Fournet Cond.Hilversum Radio Ensemble; Mimi Aarden, Erna Spoorenberg, Nicolai Gedda, Frans Vroons, etc.; MA TANTE AURORE, ou, Le roman impromptu (Boieldieu), Broadcast Performance, 1963, w.Courand Cond.Françoise Ogéas, Janine Collard, Jean Mollien, etc. (France) 2-Malibran 774. (OP2998)

    LA DAME BLANCHE is an opéra comique in three acts by the French composer François-Adrien Boieldieu. LA DAME BLANCHE was first performed on 10 December 1825 by the Opéra-Comique at the Théâtre Feydeau in Paris. It was a major success and became a standby of the 19th century operatic repertory in France and Germany. By 1862, the Opéra-Comique had given more than 1,000 performances of LA DAME BLANCHE.

    Boieldieu's score is highly expressive and full of striking numbers. Of particular note are Jenny's ballad, Brown's entrance aria and the music sung by Anna, which is highly florid and preceded by harp arpeggios whenever the Dame Blanche (White Lady) appears. The central dramatic focus of the opera is the auction scene, an ensemble in the Italian style which has an intensity not equalled or surpassed by any other opéra comique of that period, either by Boieldieu or his contemporaries. The aria from the opera that is most often performed today in recital is the tenor aria, ‘Viens, gentille dame’.”




  • LES TROYENS, Live Performance, 28 May, 1964, Buenos Aires, w.Sébastian Cond. Teatro Colón Ensemble; Régine Crespin, Guy Chauvet, Victor de Narke, Noémie Souza, etc.; LES TROYENS - Excerpts, Live Performance, 24 May, 1956, Théatre des Champs Elysées, w.Rosenthal Cond. Ethel Semser & Louis Rialland. (France) 2-Malibran 769. (OP2996)

    "Crespin was the greatest singer to come out of France in the past half century….She expressed herself through words rather than through obvious histrionic gestures, and few artists enunciated so clearly, in any language – English and German included. Her French, of course, was perfect, so lucidly projected that the soprano had every right to expect her listeners to understand her. She never felt the need to exaggerate….Flickers of nuance are always sufficient for the intelligent operagoer."


  • - Ralph V. Lucano, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, Sept./Oct., 2007




  • ADRIANA LECOUVREUR, Live Performance, 27 Aug., 1963, King's Theatre, Edinburgh, w.deFabritiis Cond. San Carlo (Napoli) Ensemble; Magda Olivero, Juan Oncina, Sesto Bruscantini, Adriana Lazzarini, etc. (Austria) 2-Testament SBT2 1501. (OP2987)

    “There is a fairly general agreement that Magda Olivero was the Adriana of her time (and, perhaps, every other time as well). Even the composer thought so, and pleaded with her to come out of her premature retirement and sing the role one more time before he died….Olivero’s Adriana is one of the great operatic portrayals of post-war Italy, and this recording makes more clear than ever just why. Testament has provided an excellent essay on the singer and this role by Richard Copeman, and even better an essay called ’Cilea and Adriana Lecouvreur’ by the soprano herself. For those who love late romantic Italian opera, and in particular this work, this is an essential recording.”


  • - Henry Fogel, FANFARE




  • VIRGINIA ZEANI: THE ARTISTRY OF VIRGINIA ZEANI, studio recordings, 1956-71, incl. Arias & Duets (w.Agostino Lazzari & Nicola Rossi Lemeni) from I Puritani, Lucia, L’Elisir, La Traviata, Madama Butterfly & Cavalleria - recorded 1956-58, Hamburg & Torino; w.Gavazzeni Cond.Maggio Musicale Fiorentino Orch.: Arias from La Sonnambula, I Puritani, Lucia, La Traviata & La Boheme – recorded, 1956, Decca; w.Patanè Cond.Santa Cecilia Orch., Roma: Arias from Gianni Schicchi, Turandot (Liù), Madama Butterfly, La Boheme, Suor Angelica, Manon Lescaut, Tosca & La Rondine – recorded 1958, Decca; w.Annovazzi Cond.Hamburg Radio Ensemble: Arias & Duets (w.Giuseppe Savio & Paolo Gorin) from La Traviata – recorded 1960, Musica et Litera; w.Brediceanu Cond.Operei Romane din Bucuresti Ensemble: Arias from Don Carlos, Aïda, Manon Lescaut, La Boheme & Madama Butterfly – recorded 1971, Electrecord; w.Zedda Cond.Torino Ensemble: Duets (w.Ennio Buoso, Ottavio Garaventa, Gloria Foglizzo & Nicola Rossi-Lemeni): Excerpts from Otello (Rossini & Verdi), recorded 1964, Philips; w.Nicola Rossi-Lemeni (B); George Singer Cond.Hamburg Radio Orch.: LA SERVA PADRONA (Pergolesi), recorded 1960, Musica et Litera; w.Luigi Infantino, Antonio Boyer, etc.; Mario Rossi Cond.RAI Ensemble, Roma: LA TRAVIATA(Complete), recorded 1963, RAI; [1993 Interview with George Jellinek, WNYC - most informative, refined and inspiring, especially her comments on Callas, Albanese and Pertile]. (Canada) 9-Musique Aria 7648401, each CD in its own jacket, plus beautifully-produced brochure with many lovely photos, in slipcase & presentation box. Each CD jacket features facsimile of original Decca, Philips & Electrecord artwork, where applicable. Decca, Philips & Electrecord recordings reproduced here under license to Steven Smith, Musique Aria. Available exclusively through Norbeck, Peters & Ford. (V2313)

    “Virginia Zeani belongs to the singers who were almost ignored by the multi-national recording industry. She herself preferred her live recordings to those of the studio. This might be partly the reason why she is to be found on but a few commercial recordings. Hers is a voice of much flexibility, emitted with remarkable technical competence, extending from warm chest notes to high E. She sings with impeccable phrasing, with great intensity and dramatic conviction.”


    - Andrea Shum-Binder, subito-cantabile


    “Virginia Zeani was immediately noted for her rare ability to bring precise meaning to her music, achieving that rare synthesis of bel canto and expression which drew praise for her interpretations, both for their dramatic sensivity and intimacy and for her radiant singing. Beneath all this, however, there was something in Zeani’s timbre which went straight to the heart: an aura of veiled melancholy, a nobly-controlled passion which blended exquisitely with the bewitching color of her voice, dusky in the center and radiant at the top. Hers was a voice of fascinating femininity, capable of expressing both tenderness and sensuality, both elegy and tragedy.”


  • - Davide Annachini




  • LES CYLINDRES EDISON, Vol.III, incl. Merguillier, Cornubert, Sylva, M.Gluck, Bartel, Decléry, Lucas, Charlus, Adolphe Maréchal, Ragneau, Revel, Vaudère, Forgeur, Mary Boyer, Suzanne de la Forey Boyer, etc. Malibran 773. [Sheer enchantment in these marvelous displays of French style. The duet by Charlus & Maréchal from 'La Boulangère a des écus' alone is worth the price of the disk!] (V2319)



  • LES CYLINDRES EDISON, Vols. I & II, incl. Jaume, Noté, M.Gluck, Vallier, Baer, Albers, Mathieu, Fournets, Stamler, Muratore, Cornubert, Deschamps-Jehin, Demedy, Gilly, de Lafory, Declery, Cerdan, Gilibert, Weber, Sylva, Dathané, Bartel & Revel. (France) 2-Malibran 187. [Sheer enchantment in these marvelous displays of the now extinct French style.] (V1219)

    “It is…a great pleasure to see that the well known French company Malibran has issued 72 bel canto cylinders provided by Daniel Marty and Jean Nirouët, who have also written a most informative accompanying text, fluently translated by Patrick Bade….More is to come in the next series…but there is enough to discover for lovers of French singing to make this first double CD an excellent buy.”


  • - John Humbley, THE RECORD COLLECTOR, 2007




  • EDNA ILES, Vol.V: Medtner Recital - Live Performance, 16 June, 1961; w.Stanford Robinson Cond.BBC Northern Orch.: Piano Concerto #1 in c (Medtner) - BBC Recital, 30 June, 1965. (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL 78-262. Transfers by Yves St Laurent. (P1158)

    “Edna Iles, who was born in 1905, died as recently as 2003. Clearly a pianist of great capability, she enjoyed an international career during the interwar years when she could be heard in Amsterdam, Berlin, Budapest, Oslo, Paris, Stockholm and Vienna as well as throughout the British Isles, playing under conductors such as Beecham, Boult and Mengelberg. Medtner, whose three piano concerti she performed at the Royal Albert Hall in 1946 over three concerts with the London Symphony Orchestra, described her as ‘the bravest and ablest besieger of my musical fortresses’. She broadcast often, and Richard Butt, the producer of her final BBC recital in 1979 described her technique as ‘very big and beefy’. This quality can clearly be heard in these private and off-air recordings issued by St Laurent, though Iles plays with much sensitivity when this is required. Of especial interest is a recording of the final movement of Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto, with Charles Groves conducting the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra in a live concert from 1961. She performed Bloch’s ‘Concerto symphonique’ with Groves at the Proms in the 1950s and the composer was extremely enthusiastic about her performance, writing to her: ‘I was profoundly shaken by your extraordinary comprehension and realisation, as a musician and as a great pianist!’ Evidently a shy person, Iles never married and made few if any commercial recordings, so the publication of this non-commercial material is very valuable indeed.

    All these CDs richly repay investigation and St Laurent Studio is to be strongly congratulated for undertaking this project, which is a very fine achievement.”


  • - David Patmore, Classical Record Quarterly, Winter, 2014




  • JAKOB GIMPEL: Chopin, Mendelssohn, Liszt, Debussy, Rachmaninoff, Toch, Scriabin & Gimpel. (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL 78-254, recorded 1942-46, Vox. Transfers by Yves St Laurent. (P1157)

    “Culled from Armed Forces Radio Service on Vox shellacs, 1942-1946, the legacy of pianist Jakob Gimpel (1906-1989) finds restoration through the Yves St-Laurent Studio label, performances rife with grand excitement in spite of their original 78 rpm surface swish and crackle. Gimpel emigrated to America in 1938, but spare recognition sent him to Hollywood in 1943, where his playing received more note in the movie ABOVE SUSPICION as the unseen performer of the Liszt E-flat Concerto. His participation in the New York segment of the 1949 Chopin centennial gleaned him international recognition, as well concert appearances with major orchestras. A pupil of Cornelia Tarnowska, Edward Steuermann, and Alban Berg, Gimpel possessed a refined sound and an exquisite sense of musical architecture, and these surviving archives testify to a fluent command of his repertory.

    The opening Paraphrase on the MARINE CORPS HYMN should convince anyone of Gimpel’s fleet powers of improvisation in wicked octave runs, rather Lisztian in character, or perhaps the Marines by way of Balakirev’s ISLAMEY. The Chopin Ballade in g Minor derives from the same Armed Forces issue, a performance much in the grand Polish tradition, its style innate attentive to the ferocious balance of forces Neapolitan and declamatory after the poetic narrative of Adam Mickiewicz. The sheer bravura of the last pages should sweep any doubts of Gimpel’s virtuoso powers into the sea.

    The St.-Laurent Studio offers a ‘music treasury’ of historic performances, and I encourage serious collectors of legendary concert artists to explore their catalogue with due diligence.”


  • —Gary Lemco, AUDIOPHILE AUDITION, 15 Feb., 2015


  • BUSCH STRING QUARTET,Vol. II, incl. Quartet #11 in f, Op.95 - recorded 1932; Quartet #12 in F-flat, Op.127 - recorded 1936 (both Beethoven). (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL 78-245. Transfers by Yves St Laurent. (S0645)

  • BUSCH STRING QUARTET,Vol. III, Quartet in c, Op.51, #1 - recorded 1932; w.Rudolf Serkin: Piano Quintet #3 in f, Op.34 - recorded 1938 (both Brahms). (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL 78-261. Transfers by Yves St Laurent. (S0646)

    “Each of these disks, from Canadian engineer Yves St Laurent… [feature] St Laurent’s natural transfer – made without filtering, like all his dubbings – it is easy to listen to, despite the surface noise.”


  • - Tully Potter, CLASSICAL RECORD QUARTERLY, Summer, 2011




  • ARTURO TOSCANINI Cond. NBC S.O.: Lohengrin - Act I Prelude; Tristan - Act I Prelude; w.HELEN TRAUBEL & LAURITZ MELCHIOR: Excerpts from Tristan, Tannhäuser, Die Walküre & Götterdämmerung – Live Performance, 22 Feb., 1941, Carnegie Hall; ARTURO TOSCANINI Cond. NBC S.O.: Der Fliegende Holländer – Overture (plus rehearsal); Tannhäuser - Act III Prelude; w.HELEN TRAUBEL & LAURITZ MELCHIOR: Die Walküre - Act I, Scene 3 - 1947 rehearsal. (Canada) 3-Immortal Performances IPCD 1043. Transfers by Richard Caniell. Program Notes by Robert Matthew-Walker, William Youngren & Richard Caniell. (C1318)

    "This benefit performance in Carnegie Hall, featuring Lauritz Melchior and Helen Traubel, caused a sensation among opera lovers. The 22 Feb. 1941 program included selections from LOHENGRIN, TANNHÄUSER, DIE WALKÜRE, TRISTAN UND ISOLDE and GÖTTERDÄMMERUNG. Though some of these have previously been issued, the entire concert has never before been commercially available. As a bonus, 20 minutes from a 1947 rehearsal of DIE WALKÜRE are added….Two days after the concert, on 24 February, Toscanini, Traubel, and the NBC Symphony went into the studio to record the final composition on the 22 February program, Brünnhilde’s Immolation….Finally, there is the 20-minute segment of a rehearsal of Act I, Scene 3 of DIE WALKÜRE from April 1947….As Toscanini implied in the comment about the LOHENGRIN Prelude, Wagner inhabited a musical world as new as a recently discovered planet.”


  • - William Youngren, Program Notes




  • TRISTAN UND ISOLDE, Live Performance, 18 & 22 June, 1937, Covent Garden, w.THOMAS BEECHAM Cond.Royal Opera House Ensemble; KIRSTEN FLAGSTAD, LAURITZ MELCHIOR, MARGARETE KLOSE (Brangäne, Acts I & II), KARIN BRANZELL (Brangäne, Act 3), HERBERT JANSSEN (Kurwenal, Acts I & II), PAUL SCHÖFFLER (Kurwenal, Act 3) & SVEN NILSSON (King Marke); THOMAS BEECHAM Cond.London Phil. & Chorus: Flourish for a Coronation (Vaughan Williams), April, 1937; John Steane speaking about Royal Opera Seasons between the wars. (Canada) 4-Immortal Performances IPCD 1042-4. (OP2966)

    “What we have here is one of the greatest performances of [TRISTAN] ever to be captured in recorded form, finally transferred in a way that respects the quality of the music-making and brings it all vividly to life.… available now in a version that so completely supersedes all prior versions as to render them irrelevant. This is the TRISTAN of one’s dreams, combining urgency, vocal beauty, and a very musical way of putting forth a phrase.

    Richard Caniell also gives us extensive and thoughtful notes that are way beyond what we get in most releases, either by the major record companies or certainly those specializing in historic material….And one must also note the wonderful photographs included in the two accompanying booklets. There are many labels, major companies and small independent producers, that make historic material available. None does it with the consistently high standards of Immortal Performances. Those of us who believe that the history of the art form of opera must be well documented, for our own enjoyment and for future generations, owe this company an enormous debt of gratitude.”


  • - Henry Fogel, FANFARE, Nov./Dec., 2014




  • DIE WALKÜRE, Live Performance, (Re-creation of the 18 December 1937 broadcast – see below), w.Artur Bodanzky Cond.Met Opera Ensemble; Kirsten Flagstad (Sieglinde), Marjorie Lawrence (Brünnhilde), Kerstin Thorborg (Fricka), Lauritz Melchior (Siegmund), Friedrich Schorr (Wotan), Emanuel List (Hunding), etc.; Die Walküre: Act I, Scene 3 – Excerpts, w.Leinsdorf Cond. Melchior & Lawrence. (Canada) 3-Immortal Performances IPCD 1046, incl.commentary by Milton Cross. Transfers by Richard Caniell; Notes by Dewey Faulkner. (OP2985)

    “Given the almost knee-jerk reaction to Flagstad among critics as ‘matronly’, many will be surprised at the femininity of her Sieglinde. Her voice positively glows, and she and Melchior are a thrilling pair…It is true that Flagstad lacks the ability or willingness to inflect with the kind of specificity that was a Lehmann specialty. But this Sieglinde makes her impact through, as Caniell himself puts it, floods of glorious tone.

    [The booklet’s annotator] Dewey Faulkner points out the thrilling singing [Lawrence] does [in 1940, as Brünnhilde] in the opening war cries, and in so much else of her singing. She had both the low and high notes required by the role, a voice of glowing beauty, and a keen dramatic sense as well. Her Brünnhilde is somewhat more human and more vulnerable than many we have encountered, and it is a complex and convincing portrayal.

    Schorr was the Wotan of his day for a reason, and it is demonstrated here by both his ability to characterize with tone color and his ability to sing the music both beautifully and forcefully at the same time. The interchanges between Schorr and Lawrence never feel like merely great Wagnerian singing, but actually engage us as real music drama….The voices and the orchestra really come to life in this transfer….While the base for the performance is the 18 December, 1937 Met broadcast of DIE WALKÜRE…producer Richard Caniell had to make [very occasional] replacements from other performances, mostly from the Met in 1935, 1940 and 1946…three quarters of what we hear is conducted by Bodanzky, and the remainder by Leinsdorf (1940 Met) or Paul Breisach (1946 Met).

    The bonus excerpts from the 17 Feb., 1940 Met broadcast with Lawrence as Sieglinde and Melchior as Siegmund, Leinsdorf conducting, is a perfect ‘extra’. Immortal Performances includes some commentary by Milton Cross, which of course re-creates the atmosphere of the way so many of us heard these broadcasts….

    The usual lavish booklet, with superb essays and photographs, accompanies the discs.”


  • - Henry Fogel, FANFARE Nov./ Dec., 2014




  • TANNHÄUSER, Live Performance, 18 Jan., 1936, w.Bodanzky Cond. Met Opera Ensemble; Lauritz Melchior, Kirsten Flagstad, Lawrence Tibbett, Kerstin Thorborg (replaces Margaret Halstead), Emanuel List, Arnold Gabor, Editha Fleischer, etc.; TANNHÄUSER - Act III complete, Bayreuth 1930 and 1931, w.Lauritz Melchior, Maria Müller, Herbert Janssen, Ruth Jost-Arden; TANNHÄUSER – Excerpts, recorded 1940; William Steinberg & Edwin McCarthur Cond. Lauritz Melchior, Rose Bampton & Richard Bonelli. Two booklets including rare photographs, extensive texts and biographies. (Canada) 4-Immortal Performances 1039. Transfers & Essay by Richard Caniell. (OP2969)

    "To have in one performance, even if it existed only in our dreams, Melchior, Flagstad, Thorborg, Tibbett, and List is to have as close to a Wagnerian ideal as there is. . . .The key to any performance of TANNHÄUSER is the tenor in the title role, and it is doubtful that there was ever a better one than Melchior. Seven Met broadcasts exist in some form featuring the great Dane, most having been released on multiple labels . . . In all cases the transfers are not very good, exhibiting pitch problems, muffled sound leading to colorless voices, and dynamic compression. For this transfer . . . Caniell has gotten a far superior, more natural, orchestral and vocal sound from the material than is heard even on some of the other labels’ later performances. What we have here sounds like the voices we know from later studio recordings, here caught in the heat of performance.

    As is normal for Immortal Performances, there are excellent notes about the opera itself, the singers involved, and the history of the recording as well as insights into the thought processes of Caniell in putting this together.”


  • - Henry Fogel, FANFARE Nov./Dec., 2014




    . . . and we have added many more out-of-print books at the beginning each completely revised book section . . . more coming in the next months . . .



    . . . and our 50% Discount Sale continues . . .

    . . . and our 50% Discount

    Sale continues . . .



    We continue Special 50% Discount Sale offerings. 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,

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    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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    Le Pre aux Clercs (Monmart, Collart, Maurane) (Malibran 213)
    OP2114. LE PRÉ AUX CLERCS (Hérold), Broadcast Performance, 13 June, 1959, w.Benedetti Cond. Radio Lyrique Ensemble; Berthe Monmart, Claudine Collart, Joseph Peyron, Camille Maurane, Lucien Lovano, etc.; LE PRÉ AUX CLERCS - Excerpts, recorded 1962, w.Etcheverry Cond.Doria, Le Bris, Louvay, Sénéchal, Legros & Giannotti. (France) 2-Malibran 213. - 7600003772138
    $39.90
    Leonard Bernstein;  Merriman, Tourel, Jobin (11-WHRA 6048)
    C1345. LEONARD BERNSTEIN Cond. Boston S.O. & NYPO, w.Marc Blitzstein, Lotte Lenya, Jo Sullivan, David Bro0oks, Laurence Olivier, Nan Merriman, Jennie Tourel, Adele Addison, Irma Gonzalez, Raoul Jobin, Nicola Moscona, Lukas Foss & Leonard Bernstein (Pf.): Beethoven, Schumann, Mahler, Messaien, Copland, Ravel, Shostakovich, Bartók, Stravinsky, Weill, Harris, Piston, Fine, Chávez & David Diamond. (E.U.) 11-West Hill Radio Archives WHRA 6048, Live Performances, 1941-61, all Carnegie Hall, Tanglewood, Symphony Hall, Boston, Brandeis University or Private. Transfers by Lani Spahr. Final sealed copy. - 5425008378923
    $69.90
    Arturo Toscanini  - 1935  BBC S.O.  (4-West Hill  WHRA 6046)
    C1346. ARTURO TOSCANINI Cond. BBC S.O.: Beethoven, Mozart, Cherubini, Geminiani, Rossini, Brahms, Mendelssohn, Wagner, Debussy & Elgar. (E.U.) 4-West Hill Radio Archives WHRA 6046, Live Performances, 1935 & 1939, all Queen's Hall. Transfers by Gene Gaudette. Final sealed copy. - 5425008378770
    $49.90
    Pierre Monteux;  Casadesus, Jodry, etc. (8-Music & Arts 1182)
    C0472. PIERRE MONTEUX Cond. French National Orch., w.Robert Casadesus, Annie Jodry, G. Moysan: Stravinsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Prokofiev, Tchaikowsky, Respighi, Hindemith, Strauss, Franck, Wagner, Elgar, Ravel, Debussy, Mozart & Beethoven (incl. the latter’s Choral Symphony #9 in d [w.Maria Stader, Hélène Bouvier, Libero de Luca & Josef Greindl]). 8-Music & Arts 1182, Live Performances, 1952-58, Paris & Strasbourg. Boxed Set. Transfers by Kit Higginson. Very long out-of-print, Final sealed copy! - 017685118227
    $79.90
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