C1249. AMERICAN RARITIES, incl. MORTON GOULD Cond.: Cowboy Rhapsody (presumably Cond. by the Composer; a paean to cowpunchers and full of cowboy songs), Live Performance, 29 May, 1945; DIMITRI MITROPOULOS Cond. Minneapolis S.O.: Minstrel Show (Gould), Live Performance, 1 March, 1947; EUGENE GOOSSENS Cond.: Tibet – Symphonic Sketch (Pescara); ALFRED WALLENSTEIN Cond. Los Angeles Phil., w.Paul Keast (Bar): Music for Orchestra and Baritone (Toch), Live Performance, 10–11 April, 1946. (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL 78-176, (from rare existing copies, albeit with occasional technical flaws). Transfers by Yves St Laurent.
“Gould's early music consisted of classical 'takes' on jazz and pop influences, but really he could do anything….He wrote a healthy number of more ambitious works: three symphonies, concerti for violin, piano, viola, Interplay (1945), Fall River Legend (1947), two concerti for tap dancer, Dance Variations for two pianos and orchestra (1953), Derivations for clarinet and band (one of the great classical idiomatic reconstructions of jazz, 1956), Jekyll and Hyde Variations (1957), and Spirituals for Strings (1961). Most of this uses a neoclassical aesthetic. Gould once joked, ‘That Stravinsky – he's always stealing from me’. However, Gould luckily possessed a unique voice, a real rhythmic flair, and a happy ability to make tonal harmonies new again. At its most exuberant, his music gets the body to move…..Like William Schuman, Gould is not nearly so well known as he should be. Part of this stemmed from the rancorous, implacable feud he had with Leonard Bernstein, probably the most influential advocate of American neoclassicism of his time. Gould's music lay a little too close to Bernstein's, and Gould was there first. Effectively, Bernstein denied Gould a New York venue. Gould accordingly recorded in London and Chicago, but he wasn't as effectual. Fortunately, he had a successful career and recording contracts as a conductor, so he disseminated his music in mainly that way. Nevertheless, his music may likely survive him. Other conductors took him up, both before and after his death. Music so attractive, lively, and original is hard to remain indifferent to and, therefore, to kill.”
- Steve Schwartz, Classical Net
“Conductor Dimitri Mitropoulos stood apart from the European traditions that dominated first-rank American orchestras for much of the twentieth century. After attending the Athens Conservatory, where he studied piano and composition, his opera BÉATRICE was presented there. The French composer Saint-Saëns was in the audience, and was so impressed that he arranged a scholarship that enabled the 24-year-old to study composition with the Belgian composer Paul Gilson and piano with Busoni in Berlin. Busoni persuaded him to abandon composition and concentrate on becoming a conductor.
From 1921 to 1925, Mitropoulos assisted Erich Kleiber at the Berlin State Opera and on Kleiber's recommendation, was appointed conductor of the Hellenic Conservatory Symphony Orchestra in Athens. In 1927, he became conductor of the Greek State Symphony Orchestra and in 1930 was engaged to conduct the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, where he instituted the practice of conducting from the piano.
In 1937 Mitropoulos succeeded Eugene Ormandy as musical director of the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra. He became a U.S. citizen in 1946, and remained in America until 1959. After 12 years in Minneapolis, he was invited to share the conductorship of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra with Stokowski, becoming its conductor when Stokowski resigned in 1950. Mitropoulos resigned the post after sharing the podium with Leonard Bernstein, his co-principal conductor, in the Orchestra's 1958 tour of Latin America. From 1954, he was a dynamic force as Bruno Walter's successor at the Metropolitan Opera, where he introduced many new operas, including ones by Richard Strauss and Samuel Barber.
Mitropoulos never conducted his own works, but considered his best composition to be a Concerto Grosso written in 1929. His lived simply and took little part in social activities. His conducting style was passionate, highly-charged and demonstrative; he had a phenomenal memory and rarely used a baton. He programmed much modern music and particularly admired Schönberg and the Second Viennese School, such as Webern and Berg, as well as twentieth century American and British composers. His recording of Mahler's First Symphony made with the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra in 1941 was the first ever made in the U.S. of that work, and Mitropoulos was awarded the American Mahler Medal of Honor in 1950 for his work in promoting the composer's music. He died while rehearsing Mahler's Third Symphony with Toscanini's famous La Scala Orchestra.”
- Roy Brewer, allmusic.com
“Most often remembered as a highly regarded conductor with substantial tenures as music director of both the Cincinnati and Sydney Symphony orchestras, Eugene Goossens was also an important composer of twentieth-century music. Had the achievements of his career not been overshadowed by an unfortunate scandal and fall from grace in his last years, his legacy would likely have been even more significant.
In order to support himself, Goossens followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, both of whom were conductors. He trained as the assistant conductor to Sir Thomas Beecham, and began to develop an impressive conducting career. In 1921, he gave many Londoners their first Stravinsky experience in the premiere UK performance of LE SACRE DU PRINTEMPS.
In 1923, George Eastman (of Kodak fame) invited him to become the first music director of his newly formed Eastman-Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. Following continued success there, he was offered the helm of the Cincinnati Symphony in 1931, where he was active in commissioning a number of new works, including Aaron Copland's masterpiece FANFARE FOR THE COMMON MAN (1942).
Although a composer of modest number, Goossens composed works in nearly every genre. His first significant orchestral work, ‘Sinfonietta’ (1922), was championed by Arturo Toscanini. His most popular works include his Oboe Concerto from 1927 (written for his brother, Leon Goossens), two symphonies from 1940 and 1945, and two operas drawn on libretti by Arnold Bennett. These include the opera JUDITH (in which Joan Sutherland made her début in 1951) and DON JUAN DE MAÑARA. With the exception of premieres and a few rare occasions, Goossens never had a strong inclination to conduct his own works.
It was in Sydney that Goossens would reach both the pinnacle of his career and the lowest depths of indignity. The Sydney Symphony Orchestra had been recently organized, and in 1947 Goossens was invited to become its first music director. Goossens was a visionary; although his dreams began small (the introduction of outdoor performances and increased visibility) they culminated with his groundbreaking idea and subsequent proposal for the Sydney Opera House. His many efforts were finally rewarded when he was knighted in 1955.
A 1957 scandal with artist Rosaleen Norton severely affected Goosens and destroyed his Australian career. Forced to resign from his conducting posts, Goossens returned to England. His chronically ill health and a congenital heart defect contributed to a long period of illness following the scandal. Sketches for a ballet and third opera were left unfinished at his death in 1962. He is the author of OVERTURE AND BEGINNERS: A MUSICAL AUTOBIOGRAPHY.”
- Christopher Hill, allmusic.com
“Cellist and conductor Alfred Wallenstein was a prodigy on his instrument, and later became the principal cellist in two of America's finest orchestras. As a conductor, he made music over the radio on a regular basis, using that ‘podium of the air’ to perform neglected works and those written by contemporary composers.
Soon after his birth, the family moved from Austria to Los Angeles. At age eight, Alfred was given a cello by his father and began lessons with the mother of composer Ferde Grofé. Following further studies with Julius Klengel, he made his début in Los Angeles and swiftly gained a reputation as a child prodigy. After touring the country through the Orpheum theatre network, he returned to California and, at the age of 17, was appointed to the San Francisco Symphony. Subsequently, he was engaged by the famous dancer Anna Pavlova to perform as solo cellist in a South and Central American tour.
In 1919, Wallenstein joined the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, becoming that ensemble's youngest member. Engaged by the Chicago Orchestra in 1922, Wallenstein traveled back to the city of his birth to perform under Frederick Stock, often as featured soloist, and to take up a teaching position at the Chicago Musical College. In 1929, Arturo Toscanini engaged Wallenstein as principal cellist of the New York Philharmonic, a post he held until the Italian conductor's departure in 1936. There, too, Wallenstein was frequently presented as soloist in many of the most important cello concerti. From Toscanini, he also received the advice that he employ his exceptional musicianship as a conductor rather than remaining an instrumentalist. In 1931, therefore, Wallenstein entered the conducting phase of his career by directing for a radio broadcast. The year following, he was appointed leading conductor for the Hollywood Bowl and, in 1933, he began conducting his own Sinfonietta on New York's radio station WOR. In 1935, he was made the station's music director. Wallenstein held to the high road in matters of musical quality with both his Sinfonietta and the Symphony of Strings. Many neglected masterworks were revived and newly composed works were given a hearing, given exposure to audiences numbering in the hundreds of thousands. In addition to his regular orchestral programs, he undertook several special series. Wallenstein's guest appearances included those with the Cleveland, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and the NBC orchestras. Columbia Records issued several Mozart works with Wallenstein directing his Sinfonietta. In 1943, he returned to the Los Angeles Philharmonic as its music director, a post he held until 1956. In 1968, he joined the faculty at the Juilliard School of Music, becoming head of the orchestral department in 1971. During the latter part of his conducting career, Wallenstein often accompanied some of the world's most distinguished artists, such as Arthur Rubinstein and Jascha Heifetz.”
- Erik Eriksson, allmusic.com
“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