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 Posted:   Aug 4, 2018 - 11:49 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Ernest Ansermet was born in Vevey, Switzerland in 1883. Originally he was a mathematics professor, teaching at the University of Lausanne. He began conducting at the Casino in Montreux in 1912, and from 1915 to 1923 was the conductor for Diaghilev's Ballets Russes.

In 1918 Ansermet founded his own orchestra, the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande (OSR). He toured widely in Europe and America and became famous for accurate performances of difficult modern music, making first recordings of works such as Stravinsky's Capriccio with the composer as soloist.

After World War II, Ansermet and his orchestra rose to international prominence through a long-term contract with Decca/London Records. From that time until his death, he recorded most of his repertoire, often two or three times. In May 1954, Decca recorded Ansermet and the OSR in Europe's first commercial stereophonic recordings.

The 1988 cassette program below of concertos was recorded in 1958 (Haydn) and 1968 (Hummel, Weber, & L. Mozart). Despite the title of the cassette, “Trumpet Concerto,” the Weber piece is for bassoon. Ansermet died in 1969 at the age of 85.

 Posted:   Aug 5, 2018 - 12:30 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Born in Basel, Switzerland, Karl Anton Rickenbacher studied at the Berlin Conservatory with Herbert von Karajan. He took part in master classes with Pierre Boulez. He was an assistant conductor at the Zürich Opera from 1966 to 1969. He served as first Kapellmeister of the Stadt Buhnen Freiburg from 1969 to 1975. He was music director of the Westphalian Symphony Orchestra from 1976 to 1985.

Rickenbacher was chief conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra from 1978 to 1980. He was appointed principal guest conductor of the Belgian BRT Philharmonic Orchestra in 1987. In 1989, Rickenbacher recorded this program of music by Paul Hindemith with the Bamberger Symphoniker.

 Posted:   Aug 5, 2018 - 9:53 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

“Das Lied von der Erde” ("The Song of the Earth") is a composition for two voices and orchestra written by Austrian composer Gustav Mahler between 1908 and 1909. Described as a symphony when published, it comprises six songs for two singers who alternate movements.

One of the earliest and most well-regarded recordings of the piece was done by Bruno Walter and the Vienna Philharmonic, with the English contralto Kathleen Ferrier and Austrian tenor Julius Patzak. Decca/London Records released the recording in 1953, and it is still in print today.

 Posted:   Aug 6, 2018 - 11:38 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Willi Boskovsky was born in Vienna, and joined the Vienna Academy of music at the age of nine. He was the concertmaster of the Vienna Philharmonic from 1936 to 1979. He was also, from 1955, the conductor of the Vienna New Year's Concert, which is mostly devoted to the music of Johann Strauss II and his contemporaries.

As a violinist, Boskovsky was also a Mozart performer: he recorded all the sonatas for violin and piano, with pianist Lili Kraus, and the complete trios for violin, piano and cello. His recordings of Mozart’s “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik” and “Serenade No. 9” ("Posthorn") date from 1969 and 1973 respectively.

 Posted:   Aug 7, 2018 - 4:38 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Sir Neville Marriner was an English violinist who became one of the world's greatest conductors. In 1958, he founded the Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields, and his partnership with them is the most recorded of any orchestra and conductor. The first recordings in the early 1960s, with Marriner both conducting and playing lead violin, were successful, leading Pierre Monteux, then the London Symphony Orchestra's conductor, to encourage Marriner to shift his focus to conducting.

Marriner made over 600 recordings covering 2,000 different works – more than any conductor except Herbert von Karajan. He recorded for various labels, including Argo, L'Oiseau Lyre, Philips, and EMI Classics. His recorded repertoire ranges from the baroque era to 20th-century British music, as well as opera. He supervised and conducted the Mozart selections for the soundtrack of the Oscar-winning 1984 film AMADEUS; it became one of the most popular classical music recordings of all time, selling over 6.5 million copies.

Marriner died on 2 October 2016, at the age of 92. In 1971, for Philips, Marriner recorded Mozart’s Symphony Nos. 35 (“Haffner”) and 40.

 Posted:   Aug 8, 2018 - 10:40 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

This 1995 cassette sampler, given out free at record stores, had two tracks. The first, by 20th Century French composer Olivier Messiaen, was from “Vocalise,” a 1935 work for voice and piano. The flip side, by British classical composer Colin Matthews, was from his 1975 Fourth Sonata, which won the Scottish National Orchestra's Ian Whyte Award.

 Posted:   Aug 9, 2018 - 11:46 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Barry Douglas is an Irish classical pianist and conductor. He won the Bronze Medal at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in Texas in 1985. The next year, he won the gold medal outright in the International Tchaikovsky Competition, the first non-Russian pianist to do so since Van Cliburn in 1958. Below is his debut album, released in 1987, a recording of Modest Mussorgsky's “Pictures at an Exhibition.” He had played this piece during the second round of the Tchaikovsky Competition, and in the words of The New York Times, “stunned the Soviet audience.”

 Posted:   Aug 10, 2018 - 3:15 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Günter Kehr studied violin and musicology in Berlin and Cologne with Alma Moodie and Hermann Zitzmann . He earned his doctorate in 1941 with the dissertation Studies on Violin Technique at the Turn of the 18th Century. He founded the Kehr Trio in 1948 and the Mainz Chamber Orchestra in 1955, which he directed until his death in 1989. The recording below--of various oratorios from Henry Purcell, Joseph Haydn, and Alessandro Scarlatti--was originally released by Turnabout Records in 1968.

 Posted:   Aug 10, 2018 - 9:10 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Thomas Z. Shepard is a prolific record producer who is best known for his recordings of Broadway musicals, including the works of Stephen Sondheim. Shepard is also a composer, conductor, music arranger, and pianist. In addition, Shepard contributed to the early 1970s "switched-on" cycle of synthesized electronic classical albums, with Everything You Always Wanted to Hear on the Moog* (*but were afraid to ask for) (1973), in collaboration with Andrew Kazdin.

In 1980, Columbia Records brought Shepard, Kazdin, and Leonard Bernstein together on an album that combined two previously released versions of Maurice Ravel’s “Bolero.” Bernstein provided the conventional orchestral version, from a 1978 album with the Orchestre National De France, while Shepard and Kazdin provided Bolero “on the Mighty Moog” from their 1973 album. The combo, “Newly Remastered In Spectacular Sound!", proved to be a big seller.

 Posted:   Aug 11, 2018 - 11:14 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Chances are that both the orchestra (Stuttgart Conservatory Orchestra) and the conductor (Hans Edelmann) on this bargain bin tape are fictitious. The tape comes from the “Audio Video Tape Corp.” of Ridgefield NJ.

 Posted:   Aug 12, 2018 - 2:04 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Pierre Amoyal (born 22 June 1949 in Paris) is a French violinist and is the artistic director of the Conservatory of Lausanne. At age 17, he traveled to Los Angeles for five years of study with Jascha Heifetz, which culminated in participating in chamber-music recordings with Heifetz.

He has made numerous recordings and played with many major conductors, such as Sir Georg Solti, with whom he made his European debut at the age of 22, Pierre Boulez, and Herbert von Karajan with the Berlin Philharmonic His recording of Saint-Saens’ Violin Concerto No. 3 with Britain’s New Philharmonia Orchestra was made for Erato in 1977 and released in the U.S. by RCA in 1984.

 Posted:   Aug 12, 2018 - 3:26 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Anton Nanut (1932 – 2017) was a renowned Slovenian international conductor of classical music. Nanut collaborated with over 200 orchestras and made over 200 recordings with a variety of labels. From 1981 to 1999 he served as the chief conductor of the RTV Slovenia Symphony Orchestra, with whom (as the “Radio Symphony Orchestra) he made the recording below.

 Posted:   Aug 13, 2018 - 1:02 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

William Steinberg was music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra from 1952 to 1976. Although Pittsburgh was the center of his activity, he also held other important positions. From 1958 to 1960 he conducted the London Philharmonic Orchestra, but eventually resigned that post because the added workload led to problems with his arm. He led the New York Philharmonic for twelve weeks while on sabbatical leave from Pittsburgh in 1964-65, which led to his engagement as the Philharmonic's principal guest conductor from 1966 to 1968.

From 1969 to 1972 Steinberg was music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra (with which he had achieved earlier success as guest conductor) while maintaining his Pittsburgh post. It was during his tenure in Boston that Steinberg recorded Schubert’s 9th Symphony for RCA in 1970. This cassette re-issue is from 1986.

 Posted:   Aug 14, 2018 - 9:10 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

The Fantasie in C Major, Op. 15 (D. 760), popularly known as the “Wanderer Fantasy,” is a four-movement fantasy for solo piano composed by Franz Schubert in 1822. It is widely considered Schubert's most technically demanding composition for the piano. Schubert himself said "the devil may play it," in reference to his own inability to do so properly.

In 1986, pianist Murray Perahia recorded the Wanderer Fantasy for Columbia Masterworks. The release also included Perahia’s recording of Robert Schumann’s Fantasy in C major, Op. 17.

 Posted:   Aug 14, 2018 - 9:46 PM   
 By:   Mr. Marshall   (Member)

Check out Liszt's arrangement - "Wanderer Fantasy for Piano + Orchestra "

 Posted:   Aug 15, 2018 - 11:52 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Charles Munch was born in 1891 in Strasbourg, Alsace-Lorraine (a French territory at that period annexed by the German Empire). At the age of 41, Munch made his conducting debut in Paris on 1 November 1932, when Munch's fiancée, Geneviève Maury, granddaughter of a founder of the Nestlé Chocolate Company, rented the hall and hired the Walther Straram Concerts Orchestra.

Following this success, Munch conducted various French orchestras during the 1930s. He remained in France conducting the Conservatoire Orchestra during the German occupation of the early 1940s, believing it best to maintain the morale of the French people. He refused conducting engagements in Germany and also refused to perform contemporary German works. He protected members of his orchestra from the Gestapo and contributed from his income to the French Resistance. For this, he received the Légion d'honneur with the red ribbon in 1945 and the degree of Commandeur in 1952.

After the war, Munch made his début with the Boston Symphony Orchestra on 27 December 1946. He was its Music Director from 1949 to 1962. In 1961, he and the BSO recorded Robert Schumann’s Symphony No. 1 for RCA. The recording was re-issued on cassette in 1982.

 Posted:   Aug 17, 2018 - 2:31 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Roger Sessions was an American composer, teacher, and writer on music. Sessions was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1896, to a family that could trace its roots back to the American Revolution. Sessions studied music at Harvard University from the age of 14. There he wrote for and subsequently edited the Harvard Musical Review. Graduating at age 18, he went on to study at Yale University before teaching at Smith College, Northampton MA. With the exception, mostly, of his incidental music to the play “The Black Maskers,” composed in part in Cleveland in 1923, his first major compositions came while he was traveling in Europe with his wife in his mid-twenties and early thirties.

“The Black Maskers” orchestral suite was completed in 1928. It was arranged from music originally composed to accompany a performance of Russian author Leonid Andreyev’s drama The Black Maskers at Smith College in June 1923. The piece was recorded by Walter Hendl and the Vienna Symphony Orchestra (originally masquerading as the “American Recording Society Orchestra”) in 1952. That 10’’ LP recording has been reissued several times, including on this Desto/CMS Records cassette, on which the Vienna Symphony gets its due.

 Posted:   Aug 17, 2018 - 10:22 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

In 1937 Russia, at the height of Stalin’s purges, the Communist Party strongly denounced Dmitri Shostakovich’s most recent works. Under such criticism, Shostakovich composed Symphony No. 5 in D minor, Op. 47, between April and July 1937. Its first performance was on November 21, 1937, in Leningrad by the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra under Yevgeny Mravinsky.

During that performance, people were reported to have wept during the Largo (third) movement. The music, steeped in an atmosphere of mourning, contained echoes of the panikhida, the Russian Orthodox requiem. However, the symphony ended with a rousing march. The premiere was a huge success and received an ovation that lasted well over half an hour. But to many, the triumph rang hollow. Even today, people wonder just what Shostakovich was trying to say. Was the symphony meant to celebrate Stalin’s regime?

In later years, Shostakovich was reported to have said words to the effect that “I think it is clear to everyone what happens in the Fifth. The rejoicing is forced, created under threat. It’s as if someone were beating you with a stick and saying, ‘Your business is rejoicing, your business is rejoicing …”

Mravinsky and the Leningrad Symphony would make the premiere recording of the symphony for Melodiya in 1938. Nevertheless, in the nearly 30 years that followed, there were only a handful of subsequent recordings before Andre Previn tackled the piece with the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) for RCA in 1966. That recording seemed to have opened the floodgates, and over the next 50 years, more than 30 additional recordings have been produced.

Previn himself would record the 5th twice more--first, performing excerpts with the LSO for the 1975 soundtrack of ROLLERBALL; then, in 1977, re-recording the entire work with the Chicago Symphony for EMI Classics. RCA re-issued Previn’s LSO recording on cassette in 1983 and on CD in 1995.

 Posted:   Aug 19, 2018 - 7:52 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Jean Sibelius was a Finnish composer and violinist of the late Romantic and early-modern periods. He is widely recognized as his country's greatest composer and, through his music, is often credited with having helped Finland to develop a national identity during its struggle for independence from Russia.

The core of his oeuvre is his set of seven symphonies which, like his other major works, are regularly performed and recorded in his home country and internationally. His other best-known compositions are Finlandia, the Karelia Suite, Valse triste, the Violin Concerto, the choral symphony Kullervo, and The Swan of Tuonela (from the Lemminkäinen Suite).

Morton Gould and His Orchestra recorded many of these non-symphony pieces for a 1963 release by RCA. Quintessence re-issued that recording on LP and cassette in 1977.

 Posted:   Aug 19, 2018 - 10:45 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Cecile Licad is a Filipina classical pianist. She was born in Manila in 1961. In 1981, Licad received the Leventritt Competition Gold Medal. The Rachmaninoff pieces below, performed with Claudio Abbado and the Chicago Symphony, were her debut recording, released in 1984.

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