C1623. ERNEST ANSERMET Cond. NHK S.O.: El sombrero de tres picos - Suites Nos. 1 & 2 (de Falla), Live Performance, 30 May, 1964, Bunka Kaikan Hall, Tokyo; ERNEST ANSERMET Cond. Hungarian State S.O.: Music for Strings, Percussion & Celesta (Bartok); w.Hungarian Male Chorus & Bartha Alfonz (T): Faust Symphony (Liszt), Live Performance, 25 Sept., 1961, Erkel Theatre, Budapest. (Canada) 2-St Laurent Studio YSL T-633. Transfers by Yves St Laurent.
"For 50 years Ansermet directed an orchestra that was second-rate in tone and technique, yet Ernest Ansermet drew performances from it that cut right to the heart of the music. A musician of catholic taste, Ansermet was a reliable, insightful interpreter of composers from Mozart to Martin. His recordings in the 1950s and 1960s with the Suisse Romande Orchestra, which he founded, retain strong interest for collectors who value nuance over tonal sheen. These recordings are of especial interest as they provide a link to composers active in Paris in the early twentieth century, with whom Ansermet was closely associated.
[In his youth] he kept an eye trained on the technique of local conductors, and took courses in music with Alexandre Denerez, Otto Barblan, and Ernest Bloch. Ansermet sought further advice on conducting from Felix Mottl in Munich and Artur Nikisch in Berlin, then concentrated mainly on teaching himself the art of the baton. In 1918 he organized the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande in Geneva, from the start performing a substantial amount of contemporary French and Russian music. Ansermet befriended many of the great progressive composers of the time, especially Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel, and Igor Stravinsky. Through Stravinsky, Ansermet met Serge Diaghilev and was appointed principal conductor of the latter's Ballets Russes, touring with the company to Paris, London, Italy, Spain, South America, and the United States. During a 1916 tour Ansermet made his first recordings with the Ballets Russes orchestra - the beginning of a half century of making intriguing records with less-than-stellar ensembles. Through his association with the Ballets Russes, Ansermet was able to premiere many of the period's most important dance scores, including Falla's THREE-CORNERED HAT, Prokofiev's THE BUFFOON, Satie's PARADE, and Stravinsky's PULCINELLA. As an extra-curricular wartime diversion, on 28 September, 1918, Ansermet premiered Stravinsky's L'HISTOIRE DU SOLDAT in Geneva.
Ansermet was also a strong champion of such other contemporary composers as Bartok and Britten, premiering the latter's opera THE RAPE OF LUCRETIA. He retired from conducting in 1967. His publications include LE GESTE DU CHEF D'ORCHESTRE (1943) and LES FONDEMENTS DE LA MUSIQUE DANS LA CONSCIENCE HUMAINE (1961) [B1009 & B1086], in which he used mathematics to discredit 12-tone and other advanced compositional techniques."
- James Reel, allmusic.com
“From 1940 to 1948 Bartha Alfonz started his own studies at Baja Town Music School as a student of Zsigmond Pilinszky, and then from 1949 at the Budapest State Music Conservatory. From 1950 to 1953 he sang in the choir of Hungarian Radio as one of the founding members. Between 1951 and 1955 he was a student of the Franz Liszt Academy of Music. He has performed successfully in several international singing competitions: the International Song Contest of 1956 at Toulouse, and won the 1st Prize in the 1960 Erkel Singing Competition in Budapest, as well as at the 1961 Hertogenbosch Singing Competition.
In 1955, he signed with the Csokonai Theater in Debrecen. In 1959 he became the soloist of the Hungarian State Opera House. After wide repertoire in Debrecen he became a specialist in Mozart and bel canto at the Opera House. At the end of his career, he liked to take on comprimario and protagonist roles as well.”