Category Archives: From the Archive

Recordings and interviews from my archive.

Vintage Holiday Cheer

This year’s selection is a rip-roaring recording of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite from the very early days of electrical recording. Oscar Fried’s 1929 recording with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra was made for UK Columbia, and the sound is a little “zingy” but nevertheless very impressive (frequency response all the way up to 5kHz). This particular transfer (from an out-of-print Preiser CD which also includes a sensational performance of Tchaikovsky’s “Pathétique” Symphony and the suite from Delibes’ Coppelia) sounds as if it was effected from laminated pressings in excellent condition. I’ve corrected the EQ curve and applied a small amount of noise reduction, but didn’t take heroic measures to remove the swishes completely; this is, after all, some vintage holiday cheer! The “Trepak” should leave your jaw hanging, and the “Waltz of the Flowers” is the most thrilling pre-stereo performance I’ve heard. You can stream the 320kHz mp3 or click here to download a mono 44.1kHz 16-bit FLAC.

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Previous early electrical holiday cheer here and here.

Mystery Track Revealed

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David Oistrakh: The Complete EMI RecordingsThis week’s mystery track, the finale from Schubert’s Octet D803, is played by violinists David Oistrakh and Peter Bondarenko, violist Mikhail Terian, cellist Sviatoslav Knushevitzky, double bassist Vladimir Sorokin, clarinetist Joseph Gertovich, bassoonist Joseph Stideland, and hornist Jacov Shapiro. It is the final track on the final disc of EMI’s recently issued “David Oistrakh | The Complete EMI Recordings,” andis the first CD release of a pristine new transfer of thisrecording made especially for the set.

Mystery Track Revealed

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William Walton’s Crown Imperial as performed on November 19, 1969 by the Hallé Orchestra and Trumpteres & Band of the Royal Military School of Music, Kneller Hall conducted by Sir John Barbirolli (the organist is not identified), at Royal Albert Hall. Oddly, the only sources for this recording are mono airchecks; the present one is a correctly pitched version of the same recording issued in CD format on BBC Legends 4100-2.

One preson correctly identified the maestro; none (!) identified the orchestra; two people nailed the venue. Three people guessed Sir Malcolm Sargent and the BBC Symphony; some of the more esoteric conductor guesses included Leonard Bernstein, Constantin Silvestri, André Kostelanetz and Arthur Fiedler.

‘Cast from the Past: Deryck Cooke on an “Authentic” Mahler Tradition

Shortly after the 1962 release of Otto Klemperer’s EMI/Columbia (UK) recording of Mahler’s Symphony No.4, musicologist Deryck Cooke recorded a program for the BBC Third Programme comparing Klemperer’s recordings to others, particularly Bruno Walter and Willem Mengelberg, in search of an “authentic” interpretive approach to Mahler.

Continue reading ‘Cast from the Past: Deryck Cooke on an “Authentic” Mahler Tradition