Thank you. I was very fortunate to have grown up in the Chicago area and my parents saw fit to play classical music in the home (my father liked Wagner and listened to the Met on Saturdays), and my brother and I went to the Chicago Symphony educational concerts with our mother and a couple of neighborhood friends. I grew up listening to recordings by Reiner, Szell, Munch, Leinsdorf, Toscanini, Beecham, Barbirolli, in no particular order. Later I began recording concerts off the radio and caught the BSO conducted by guest artists that included Ormandy, Bernstein and many others. They're all on the shelves.
Then came Tennstedt and from the moment I heard and taped his first BSO concert, he became my favorite. I have the ones you've sent, but a couple are in better sound than the over-the-air ones I taped (microwave issues, mostly). The Mahler 1st is outstanding as is the Schubert 9th which ranks alongside Toscanini's Philly recording for RCA.
Your offerings are splendid and you have cornered the market...and in St. Albans, no less.
Thank you for your interest in these superb recordings and for making them available!
Geoffrey Doughty (Wed, Apr 29, 2020)
Thank you for your prompt reply and professional response to this issue.
I greatly enjoy the service and products you provide. Yours is truly a unique and special place beyond the average. I really enjoy the weekly newsletter, and, whether I purchase an item or not, it always makes for terrific reading. There is an obvious love for music that emanates in every read.
Thank you again for the service you provide and the hours of pleasure I receive with each package I receive.
All the best to you. Stay safe and well.
Charlton Harper (Thu, Apr 16, 2020)
"Thank you for your swift reply. I just am discovering your site that I have felt amazing !
You can ship my order in however parcels you deem it fine for you, no problem from my side.
Yes, I ordered some samples of the same CCs, like Perlemuter (who I personally have acquainted when he was still alive in Paris) because I wish to offer them to certain of his disciples. Probably I am going to do the same with other orders I will lodge while discovery more in depth your site and its treasures.
Congratulations for your excellent archive works which seems to me tremendous and of highest historical value !"
- Kind regards, Michel Friocourt. Ireland, 11 Nov., 2019
“Do rest assured that your work actually contributes to making the world a better place, a place where the beauty of music and the legacy of history become one. Such a process obviously requires many parts - the composers, the performers, the collectors, the transfer engineers, those who bring this together carefully and lovingly by finding, selecting, and marketing the best efforts of the above, and those who write about this material. In your lifetime, you have been involved (both directly and indirectly) in several of these parts. I have always been awed by what you have done and what you do. Thank you!”
- John Bolland, Birmingham, Alabama, 3 Jan., 2018
“I came across the Volpe Met Gala of 2006 which I did not remember at all, and so watched it. Interestingly…it was very noticeable how much just in a dozen years that singing has gone downhill with respect to style, personality, the musicality that give such individuality. It was obvious with some things, Juan Diego Flórez leading off the program, and knocking off an elaborate Rossini aria, with florid ability at an astonishing level, but it is all at the same volume and there is not any delicate shading and rubato, the things that made de Lucia so unforgettable. René Pape had real character in his DON CARLO aria, but he was not a youngster even then by any stretch of imagination, and that made the contrast with the youngsters that much more evident. Mattila, while quite beautiful, was sort of a soprano Flórez. I begin to see again why I am so devoted to my historic records. Yes, as an historian I love the history around the performances and singers, but I really was strongly aware that I am just bored to death with most of that which passes for singing today. Susan Graham sang ‘Parto Parto’, not too badly for a modern singer, until we got to the big trill, which just was not there, just a sort of quick gargle and then right off the note. But by George it sure was there when Schumann-Heink sang it!”
- Dr. Helen Hatton, University of Toronto, 2017
“There is much to be said about the issue of playing wrong notes. In the present age of the dictatorship of the CD we have simply become accustomed to hearing squeaky-clean, accurate playing; and young musicians growing up listening to such 'perfection' tend to tailor their playing to sound like the CDs they admire. I am sure that the tentative, tight performances I hear so often in masterclasses has something to do with this. A student will play with little imagination, no flair, no structure, no phrasing, no real tonal control, bad pedalling but with an air of confidence … until just one note is dropped or splattered, and then there is a wince of pain or embarrassment. Quite often the mishap is the most interesting moment in the performance because the student might have been trying for something which involved some element of risk. I am convinced that getting students to lose their fear of inaccuracy is one of the most important things a teacher can encourage….[True musicianship] is someone stumbling up the highest mountain with grazed, bloodied knees, whereas so much contemporary playing seems more like someone riding up an escalator.”
- Stephen Hough, THE TELEGRAPH, 8 Aug., 2011
“It used to be that an experienced ear, listening blind to a recording or a radio broadcast, could quickly tell one ensemble from another: Szell’s Cleveland Orchestra by its transparency, precision and sheer virtuosity; the Philadelphia Orchestra by its warmth, with a lush, enveloping string sound cultivated by Leopold Stokowski and Eugene Ormandy and mostly maintained by Riccardo Muti; the Chicago Symphony (Mr. Muti’s new orchestra) by its power, with a machine-tooled brass core energized by Fritz Reiner and almost turned into caricature by Georg Solti; the Boston Symphony by a slightly febrile, penetrating quality suited to the French music it performed under Charles Münch and Pierre Monteux; Leonard Bernstein’s New York Philharmonic by its attitude, with a rough and ready edge.
Alas, this loss has been international, with Russian brass players having lost their nasal swagger and German oboists no longer sounding like ducks. It is inevitable at a time when star conductors jet around the globe, often juggling multiple music directorships and imposing internationalist standards, and when players are more mobile geographically and upwardly. Though no one would like to admit it, interchangeability — again, at the highest of levels — is in danger of becoming the norm.”
- James R. Oesterich, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 14 June, 2013
“By the 1970s…the classical vocal field was clearly in a state of flux. Changes in singing style had become more noticeable, problems had arisen in casting even standard operas because of the lack of suitable voices, the possibility of electronically enhanced sound in opera houses was rumored, and the growing interest in music styles was already tending to flood the music schools, concert halls, and opera stages with putative counter-tenors and white-voiced, vibratoless sopranos. Nearly all the national vocal schools had vanished, leading to a plethora of mostly homogenized, generic voices. Their owners, while often technically proficient, tended to be anonymous sounding….audiences were – and still are – effectively deprived of hearing many of the most charismatic and technically accomplished musicians of the past hundred years…[among them] the most important singers of the century who had left us recorded evidence of vanished styles and national characteristics.”
- Vivian A. Liff, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, July/Aug., 2010
"...in the new millennium, technology has produced 'a kind of synthetic perfection...in which hundreds of digital edits create an aural product that sometimes bears little relation to music presented in the concert hall. What's often lost is the sweep and spontaneity of the original performance, not to mention the warmth that allows music to touch our souls'."
- CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 8 March, 2004