Click on the link here for Audio Player: [audio https://pastdaily.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/shostakovich-string-quartet-nr-2-u-s-premier-1945.mp3]
Back to premiers this weekend. This one; the Western Hemisphere First Performance of the 2nd String Quartet of Dmitri Shostakovich. Regarded as one of the most important Modern Composers of the mid-twentieth century, NBC Radio devoted several broadcasts premiering Shostakovich’s small ensemble works. This premier of the 2nd String Quartet took place on March 17, 1945 featured the somewhat fictitious NBC Symphony String Quartet, which consisted of first chair members of the String Section of the Symphony, but who were also members of other prestigious groups. Mischa Mishikoff and Daniel Guilet, violins – Carlton Cooley, viola and Benar Heifetz, cello.
It’s interesting that a commercial network, like NBC would devote much time to the cause of performing arts. But then, it wasn’t at all unusual at the time, and a point of pride, that mainstream media was concerned with the cultural well-being of its audience. NBC was only one who devoted numerous hours in the course of a week to the cause of stimulating brains. CBS and the fledgling ABC (offshoot network of NBC in 1945) were very much doing the same thing. Can’t exactly say that would happen now, under any circumstances.
But not in 1945 and certainly not with Dmitri Shostakovich.
Here is the Western Hemisphere Premier of the 2nd String Quartet of Dmitri Shostakovich as performed by the NBC Symphony String Quartet, on March 17, 1945.
Boris Blinder, along with his Brother Naum, were responsible for a lot of first performances of new music in the 1930’s and 1940’s.
Click on the link here for Audio Player: Michel Michelet – Ten Preludes for Cello and Piano
More Contemporary music of the 20th Century this week. Michel Michelet, a native of Kiev, who first migrated to Germany and then, with German persecution of Jews, fled Germany and wound up in the U.S., most notably in Hollywood where he established a substantial career for himself as film composer, writing the scores for some 100+ Hollywood and Overseas movies.
But outside of film, Michelet is virtually unknown. And this weekend’s Gramophone post features one of Michelet’s Chamber works for Cello and Piano. Ten Preludes for Cello and Piano was first premiered in San Francisco in 1942, with San Francisco Symphony Principal Cellist Boris Blinder as soloist. Blinder is joined on this recording by Pianist Isabelle Hesselberg. It was issued around 1945 by the independent Southern California label ALCO Records – a label devoted to first performances and out-of-the-way repertoire and featuring some of the most notable artists of the time. Boris Blinder, along with his brother Violinist Naum Blinder, were responsible for many first recordings of new works and did a lot to further the cause of Contemporary music on the West Coast of the U.S. as well as the rest of the country.
I don’t believe this recording has ever been reissued in any form, other than the original 78’s, and I don’t believe it’s been recorded by anyone else since.
So on top of a discovery, it’s also a complete rarity.
Click on the link here for Audio Player – Part One: La Scala Philharmonic – Live In Concert – Part 1
Click on the link here for Audio PLayer – Part Two: La Scala Philharmonic – Live In Concert – Part 2
Over to Torino again this week, for a concert by the La Scala Philharmonic, conducted by Andrea Battistoni and featuring French-Canadian Pianist Louis Lortie in a rather short and straight-forward concert, recorded live from the stage on September 17th.
Here’s what’s on the players:
lunedì 17 settembre 2012 21.00
In diretta dal Lingotto di Torino
MITO SETTEMBRE MUSICA
Filarmonica della Scala
direttore, Andrea Battistoni
pianoforte, Louis Lortie
Part 1: Johannes Brahms
Concerto n. 2 in si bemolle maggiore op. 83 per pianoforte e orchestra
– Allegro non troppo
– Allegretto grazioso
Part 2: Modest Musorgskij
Quadri di un’esposizione
(orchestrazione di Maurice Ravel)
– Le vieux château
– Les Tuileries
– Ballet des poussins dans leur coque
– Samuel Goldberg et Schmuyle
– Le marché de Limoges
– Cum mortuis in lingua mortua
– La cabane sur des pattes de poule
– La grande porte de Kiev
Lortie is good, as always and the audience is enthusiastic. The orchestra is a little creaky in spots, but it’s live and on-the-fly, and that’s what always makes it interesting.
Anti-Road Rage Wednesday continues!
Ernest Bloch – considered one of the Avant-Garde American Composers in the early 20th Century.
Click on the link here for Audio player: Bloch- Concerto Grosso – 1931
A few years ago, when I first put this piece up on Newstalgia, a lot of readers expressed happiness over its inclusion, but weren’t too thrilled about the sound of the recording. Truth was, at the time the audio player I was using at my old site wasn’t very good – it was great for speeches and spoken word, but it blew chunks as far as music was concerned.
Several of you have written asking if it were possible to re-post a lot of the old 78’s I had originally put up on the old site and this weekend it’s one of them.
The Concerto Grosso for Strings and Piano by early 20th Century American composer Ernest Bloch, in what was the world premier recording for RCA-Victor in 1931, featuring the Curtis Institute Ensemble conducted by Louis Bailly.
Not a big seller in its day, and never seeing the light of reissue as far as I know, but with the seemingly millions of small labels and on-line fans, you can never be sure, this may very well be (aside from the earlier post on Newstalgia) the only available recording of this piece. And with the new player, hopefully it will get a few new fans.
Fernand Oubradous – led one of the most influential ensembles of the 1940’s and 1950’s.
Click on the link here for Audio player: Challan – Concerto Grosso for Three Trumpets & String Orch.
Another of the lately-less known French composers featured this weekend. Rene Challan is probably better recognized among collectors as the producer of some of the great recording sessions to come out of France in the 1950’s and 1960’s, associated with EMI France (Pathè Marconi). But he was also a talented and widely respected composer whose works haven’t been performed much, if at all, of late.
This weekend’s post comes from the seemingly endless mountain of French Radio transcriptions of the 1940’s and 1950’s and features Challan’s Concerto Grosso for Three Trumpets and String Orchestra, with Roger Delmotte as one of the trumpet solos.
The orchestra is led by the legendary performer/conductor Fernand Oubradous, whose numerous Chamber recordings for various labels in France in the 1930’s,40’s and 50’s were virtual benchmarks for many works being recorded for the first time.
This radio performance, from an unnamed concert venue and with an equally unnamed date, figures to be around 1948. The work itself was premiered in 1945 and I suspect this was one of the first performances of that piece. I am not sure if the work has ever been made available commercially and certainly this transcription hasn’t seen the light of reissue. So this may be something of rare treat for the curious.
A word of caution though – since a lot of these discs were stored in less-than-ideal circumstances, it may take an adventuresome spirit to go along with the curiosity. Sometimes the technical limitations of the actual performance recording are only magnified by the rotten sounding discs. But who says for Art you don’t suffer?
But honestly, it will take about 30 seconds to get used to and the piece itself is worth hearing. But I had to give you a heads-up.
Howard Shelley – Leading the orchestra from the keyboard, making magic.
Click on the link here for Audio Player-Part 1: International Chopin Festival – Part 1
Click on the link here for Audio Player-Part 2: International Chopin Festival – Part 2
Since we’re still hip-deep in Festival season throughout Europe, I had to put this one up this week. An absolutely wonderful concert from the 2012 International Chopin Festival, featuring Concerto Köln lead (from the piano) by Howard Shelley. The music played at this concert has been seldom performed, and I confess to not being all that familiar with two out of the three composers featured. So it’s an adventure tonight, and a worthwhile one.
Here’s what’s featured:
19 août 2012 20:00
En direct du Festival international Chopin et son Europe
Franciszek Lessel (1780-1838)
Concerto en Ut Majeur Op.14 (1813)
Ignacy Feliks Dobrzynski (1807-1867)
Concerto en la bémol majeur Op.2 (1824)
Antonio Rosetti (1746-1792)
Symphonie en sol mineur A42 / I:27 (1787)
Howard Shelley, Piano et direction
Concert donné au Philharmonic Concert Hall de Varsovie.
The concert was broadcast live as it happened from the stage in Warsaw by Polish Radio and relayed to Radio France Musique, which will explain why there are simultaneous Polish and French announcements going on, and it can get a little crazy – but I did cut the announcements down in order to save time.
I thoroughly enjoyed this concert and I hope you do too. And if you are feeling inclined and adventuresome, click on some of the links to the right of this post, especially the one for Radio France Musique – there is a whole world at the other end of the mouse.
Vilde Frang – rising young star – hasn’t had time to slow down.
Click on the link here for Audio player: Vilde Frang Recital – June 24, 2012
Over to Bad Kissinger in Germany this week for a concert recital from the Kissinger Sommer Festival by rising-young-star-wunderkind Vilde Frang in a program of music by Mozart, Brahms and Prokofiev. The concert was recorded on June 24th for the ARD Radio Festival 2012 going on throughout Germany this month.
Here is what Ms. Frang plays:
ARD RADIOFESTIVAL 2012
Vilde Frang, Violine
Michail Lifits, Klavier
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Violinsonate F-Dur KV 377
3. Violinsonate d-Moll, op. 108
2. Violinsonate D-Dur, op. 94
A delightful concert by a remarkable new talent on the musical horizon.
I’m wondering if there has been an explosion of new talent these past few years or if it has always been that way and we’re just more aware of it now because of the Internet and Streaming audio? Every radio outlet I’ve been listening to in Europe seems overflowing with up-and-coming instrumentalists, performing groups, conductors, singers -it’s running the gamut and the talent is quite extraordinary. It certainly gives hope for the future, and it’s doing a pretty good job of dispelling some cynicism about our culture in general. And that’s a good thing.
Jacque-Dupont. Almost totally unknown outside of France.
Click on the link here for Audio Player: Jacque-Dupont – Divertissement for Piano And Orch. 1948
Sometimes history can be frustrating. In the case of this recording, it’s a matter of damaged discs coupled with not the best recording at the time. A world premier performance of the Divertissement For Piano and Orchestra by the 20th century composer Jacque-Dupont (or Jacques Dupont depending on which entry you read), recorded as it happened in 1948 by French Radio. It features the composer at the piano and the Paris Conservatory conducted by Pierre Michel LeConte. First off, the levels jump all over the place, from under-modulated to bordering on distortion between the piano and orchestra, which means the engineer at the time was having a problem keeping the balance and the levels together. Okay, there’s that. And then there’s the transcription disc itself, which has seen better days and wasn’t stored in the best possible conditions – so it’s riddled with ticks and pops.
I tried my best to compensate for all those things and I offer apologies up front if the sound isn’t the best it could possibly be.
But with that said, this is an engaging work by an almost totally unknown composer (over in the U.S.) and it’s the world premiere. So it’s important on a lot of levels. Ultimately, the ride will be worth it – even though the car is in bad shape. But like I said, history can sometimes be very frustrating.
Enjoy it in the spirit it’s being offered.
Boris Berezovsky – running the gamut from Bartok to Boogie in one night.
Click on the link here for the audio player: Hungarian Philharmonic – Part 1
Click on the link here for the audio player: Hungarian Philharmonic – Part 2
To Bucharest, Rumania this week for a concert from the 2011 George Enescu International Festival featuring the National Philharmonic of Hungary, conducted by Zoltan Kocsis with Boris Berezovsky, piano performing the music of Bartok, Albeniz, Gould and Enescu.
Quite an outstanding concert. Here’s what’s on the players:
Concierto celebrado en el Ateneo Rumano de Bucarest
el 14 de septiembre de 2011. Grabación de la ROR,
Rumanía. Festival Internacional George Enescu.
Part 1. 1.BARTOK: Suite de Danzas, SZ. 77. 2. Concierto para
piano nº 2 en Sol mayor, SZ. 95. 3. ALBÉNIZ: Asturias..4. GOULD: Boogie-Boogie.
Part 2.1. ENESCU:
Sinfonía nº 2 en La mayor, Op. 17.
Boris Berezowsky (p.)
Orq. Fil. Nacional
Húngara. Dir.: Zoltan. Kocsis.
Roy Harris – in the 1930’s considered Radical with Gregorian leanings.
Click on the Link: Roy Harris – Fantasy – American Broadcasting Co. Symphony – Roy Harris, cond.
Click on the Link: Roy Harris – Folk Rhythms Of Today – American Broadcasting Co. Symphony – Roy Harris, Cond.
I posted both of these pieces a few years ago via my now-defunct Newstalgia site. Since I have realize there is a whole new audience here, I have decided to run these pieces again. They are works by a major American composer who has fallen slightly into obscurity over the years (his works aren’t performed much in the concert hall), but who demands a place among the very best the 20th Century had to offer in American Classical Music.
These are two works which, as far as I have been able to research, have never been available commercially, nor have I seen them recorded by anyone else in any other form. Their origin is a little vague, because they were issued on a radio Transcription disc for The State Department for use overseas, as a sort of promotion of Americana. From what I have been able to sort out – they were recorded by the short-lived American Broadcasting Co. Symphony Orchestra in around 1946, or late 1945. ABC Radio didn’t come into existence until 1945, being initially part of the larger NBC Radio conglomerate and known as “The Blue Network”.
At any rate, I don’t have information as to which program this came from, what the date is and no other information other than the first cut is Fantasy and the second cut is Folk Rhythms Of Today. Both pieces are conducted by the composer and both are works that could vastly benefit from new recordings, new performances and a new life with a new audience.
But for now, here are two neglected classics from the vast catalog of American music by one of America’s foremost composers of the 20th Century.