C0022. MALCOLM SARGENT Cond. BBC S.O., w.PAUL TORTELIER: Cello Concerto in e - recorded 1953; MALCOLM SARGENT Cond. Liverpool Phil., w.Heddle Nash, Gladys Ripley, Dennis Noble & Norman Walker: THE DREAM OF GERONTIUS - recorded 1945 (both Elgar). (England) 2-Testament SBT 2025. Final Sealed Copy! - 749677202521
“Paul Tortelier, a French cellist known for his elegant, passionate playing and for his political idealism, spent most of his long career in Europe, where he was a professor at the Paris Conservatory, a busy soloist and an author. His master classes for the British Broadcasting Corporation attracted wide attention in 1964. Among his more notable pupils was the cellist Jacqueline du Pre. Mr. Tortelier, on the other hand, was busy in the United States both at the beginning and at the end of his musical life. In 1937, Serge Koussevitzky engaged him as a cellist for the Boston Symphony. From Boston he began an American solo career, including a 1938 Town Hall recital with the pianist Leonard Shure. A year later, Mr. Tortelier returned to France and remained. Early in the 1980's Mr. Tortelier returned to concerts in the United States, and after a 35-year absence he played in New York again.
Paul Tortelier was born in Paris in 1914 and won a first prize at the Paris Conservatory at the age of 16. His début came a year later at the Concerts Lamoureux. His international career had perhaps its biggest catalyst in 1947, when Sir Thomas Beecham invited him to play DON QUIXOTE for a Richard Strauss festival in London.
Mr. Tortelier acted out his beliefs, retreating temporarily from musical life in 1955 to spend a year on a kibbutz in Israel even though he was not himself Jewish. Mr. Tortelier married one of his pupils, Maud Martin, in 1946. They had three children, all professional musicians."
- Bernard Holland, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 20 Dec, 1990
“[Heddle Nash] could have charmed the very birds off the trees. There were those who maintained that he sang Mozart better even than McCormack or Tauber. His fioriture in Rossini were as fluent de Lucia’s, or anybody else’s; his Handelian runs were as flexibly firm as Widdop’s. His legato, supple and floating free, was exemplary."
- Eric Rees, THE RECORD COLLECTOR, 1996
“Malcolm Sargent was an English conductor, organist and composer widely regarded as Britain's leading conductor of choral works. The musical ensembles with which he was associated included the Ballets Russes, the Huddersfield Choral Society, the Royal Choral Society, the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company, and the London Philharmonic, Hallé, Liverpool Philharmonic, BBC Symphony and Royal Philharmonic orchestras. Sargent was held in high esteem by choirs and instrumental soloists, but because of his high standards and a statement that he made in a 1936 interview disputing musicians' rights to tenure, his relationship with orchestral players was often uneasy. Despite this, he was co-founder of the London Philharmonic, was the first conductor of the Liverpool Philharmonic as a full-time ensemble, and played an important part in saving the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra from disbandment in the 1960s.
As chief conductor of London's internationally famous summer music festival the Proms from 1948 to 1967, Sargent was one of the best-known English conductors. When he took over the Proms from their founder, Sir Henry Wood, he and two assistants conducted the two-month season between them. By the time he died, he was assisted by a large international roster of guest conductors.
At the outbreak of the Second World War, Sargent turned down an offer of a major musical directorship in Australia and returned to the UK to bring music to as many people as possible as his contribution to national morale. His fame extended beyond the concert hall: to the British public, he was a familiar broadcaster in BBC radio talk shows, and generations of Gilbert and Sullivan devotees have known his recordings of the most popular Savoy Operas. He toured widely throughout the world and was noted for his skill as a conductor, his championship of British composers, and his debonair appearance, which won him the nickname ‘Flash Harry’.
Toscanini, Beecham and many others regarded Sargent as the finest choral conductor in the world. Even orchestral musicians gave him credit: the principal violist of the BBC Symphony Orchestra wrote of him, ‘He is able to instil into the singers a life and efficiency they never dreamed of’.”