Friday, December 30, 2022

2022 Year In Review

 Our 2022 year-end post is likely the last blog post for me – at least for the foreseeable future.

As I stated in September, nearly 12 years into this experiment, I have concluded that it is time for me to take a step back. In that vein, our montage no. 400 featuring Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty will be my last in our Friday series. 

When we began this experiment in 2011, few of us could see a fundamental change in the delivery of music, with the near-dominance of subscription streaming music services and digital media purchases rather than hard media like CDs and the boutique vinyl business. This is true in popular music, as it is in classical/concert music and opera.

I began bundling music in the form of podcasts as a way of filling a gap I perceived, that was created in Canada with dependable sources of on-demand music leaving terrestrial airwaves. Little did we know that the music listening public would make the transition so easily to newfangled media.

In short, what I do isn’t really required anymore, and the time I once thought I’d have in semi-retirement  to dedicate to this venture is more scarce than I imagined it would be.

The future of “For Your Listening Pleasure”

I must remind you that our Internet Archive has the bulk of our music shares readily available to listen to (with their built-in player) or for download. As long as that service is around, that music will be there for all to enjoy.

At this time, I still have a good number of past Tuesday shares and Operas that have not yet been posted on the Podcasting Channel, and in the spirit of curating our archived content I plan to do just that – post them in slow time as I curate the archive. Don't be surprised if the odd A la Carte post pops up every now and then as part of that exercise.

As a service to all of my listeners, I will maintain past episodes currently active until the end of January, slowly reducing our footprint down to the “basic” (free of charge to me) 500 MB storage level – which amounts to 5 - 7 episodes. There will be a commensurate download limit, but if I post to the archive concurrently, that won’t be too much of an issue.

As I post newly curated material, I’ll pull out oldest montages. When I’m done with that, I’ll take stock of the activity om the podcast and decide what happens next.

Before I leave you to enjoy our annual YouTube playlist of goodies, I wanted one last time to thank you for joining me in this experiment. It was fun while it lasted!

Happy holidays and Happy 2023 to all!


Friday, December 9, 2022

Tchaikovsky: The Sleeping Beauty

No. 400 of the ongoing ITYWLTMT series of audio montages is this week's Friday Blog and Podcast. It can be found in our archives at

Our 400th and final montage for this year (and the concluding montage for our ongoing Friday series) is a crossover post from our survey of the complete Tchaikovsky ballets, which we began this part Tuesday.

The Sleeping Beauty was the second of Tchaikovsky's three ballet scores, composed and orchestrated from October 1888 to August 1889, with minor revisions during stage rehearsals in the last three months of 1889. The score consists of an Introduction and 30 individual numbers, laid out as a shoirt prologue, and three acts.

"I am planning to write a libretto on La belle au bois dormant after Perrault's fairy tale. I would like a mise en scène in the style of Louis XIV, which would be a musical fantasia written in the spirit of Lully, Bach, Rameau, etc. If this idea appeals to you, then why not undertake to write the music? In the last act there would have to be quadrilles for all Perrault's fairy-tale characters—these should include Puss-in-Boots, Hop o' My Thumb, Cinderella, Bluebeard, etc." - Ivan Vsevolozhsky, in a letter of 13/25 May 1888

In 1888, Ivan Vsevolozhsky (Director of Imperial Theatres for Saint Petersburg) commissioned a new ballet from Tchaikovsky — The Sleeping Beauty — for which he provided a detailed scenario, as well as suggestions as to how the epoch of Louis XIV was to be reproduced in the music and on the stage. This time the composer was enthusiastic about the subject and readily set to work on the assignment.

Vsevolozhsky arranged the initial meeting between Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa (choreographer and principal dancer at the Imperial Theatres in Saint Petersburg), and throughout their fruitful collaboration on this first joint project he acted as an intermediary between them. A fine draughtsman, Vsevolozhsky also produced sketches of the costumes for the ballet's fairy-tale figures and supervised the work of the set designers, always striving for historical authenticity. The successful premiere of The Sleeping Beauty at the Mariinsky Theatre on 3/15 January 1890 vindicated his creative vision, and Yelena Fedosova has rightly emphasized that Vsevolozhsky anticipated by two decades the idea commonly attributed to Sergey Diaghilev (1872–1929) of "uniting composer, ballet master, and visual artist in the creation of a work".

Tchaikovsky acknowledged Vsevolozhsky's vital contribution and support by dedicating The Sleeping Beauty to him. Although the authorship of the libretto is normally attributed to Vsevolozhsky, it is possible that Marius Petipa also had some involvement, since in the archive of the latter there is a manuscript dated 3/15 July 1888, with a list of characters in the ballet, and descriptions of the numbers in every scene .

The performance is from the same Royal Philharmonic Orchestra anthology of the complete Tchaikovsky ballets (under Barry Wordsworth) we are surveying under the Cover2Cover series.

I think you will love this music too.

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Tchaikovsky: Complete Ballets

This is my post from this week's Tuesday Blog.

This month on our podcasting channel, we are sharing many of our old Tchaikovsky montages, and this month’s Cover2Cover fits into the Tchaikovsky theme, with this mammoth Brilliant Classics YouTUbe post containing all three complete Tchaikovsky ballets.

Tchaikovsky’s ballets, Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake, are by far the most popular ballet music ever written, and count among the master’s most famous works. Tchaikovsky, tormented genius, found relief in writing these brilliant, featherweight works, conjuring up fantasy worlds of feel good fairy tales.

Though today all three ballets are much praised and performed,  this was not always so. It took time for their status to be established, and reactions to early productions were decidedly mixed during Tchaikovsky’s lifetime. Particularly saddening is the fact that the great composer died believing Swan Lake, perhaps his most celebrated ballet today, to be a failure – although this is in part due to the fact that the choreography most associated with the work today was developed after his death. The Sleeping Beauty, meanwhile, suffered the insult of a lukewarm imperial reception on its presentation to Tsar Alexander III in 1890; and Tchaikovsky himself believed The Nutcracker to be an inferior work, ‘infinitely worse than Sleeping Beauty’, in his own words.

In order to make the listening easier, I separated the three works into individual tracks in our music archive (and on the podcasting channel, with their publishing dates spread out throughout the month of December). Though all te music is performed by the Royal Philharmonic, each ballet is assigned to its own conductor.

Happy listening!

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)

Complete Ballets performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

Swan Lake (Лебединое озеро), Op. 20 [TH 12]

Nicolae Moldoveanu, conducting

Recorded at Cadogan Hall on the 13th-15th July 2009


The Sleeping Beauty (Спящая красавица), Op. 66 [TH 13]

Barry Wordsworth, conducting

Recorded at Cadogan Hall on the 31st May - 2nd June 2010


The Nutcracker (Щелкунчик), Op. 71 [TH 14]

David Maninov, conducting

Recorded at Henry Wood Hall on the 15th and 16th April 1995

Brilliant Classics 94949

Details -

Internet Archive


Friday, November 25, 2022

Ernest Ansermet A la Carte

No. 399 of the ongoing ITYWLTMT series of audio montages is this week's Friday Blog and Podcast. It can be found in our archives at


Original Post - TalkClassical, Blogger

Our final two Friday podcasts for 2022 (and conclusion to our long-running series) aren’t as much about new material as they are feeding ongoing curation initiatives we have undertaken for the past few years.

This penultimate montage is part of our A La Carte series that repackages old montages, in this case a 2019 odd-looking Vinyl’s Revenge post that we more aptly titles “Tape Deck’s Revenge” as it featured two old London VIVA cassette releases by Swiss conductor Ernest Ansermet. The VIVA series was a b udget re-issue platform at a time where digital releases we beginning to invade the shelves, often displacing these excellent recordings, which did merit reissue. The format of these reissues was both cassette and vinyl, not CD.

The first cassette on the original montage was packaging J.S Bach’s suites nos. 2 and 3 with a pair of filler tracks from his cantatas. Ansermet, at the time of the original release, also issued a pair of albums of Bach Cantatas, which London/Decca later packaged with this disk into a 2 CD Bach anthology by Ansermet.

The montage inserts Cantata 130 between the original A and B sides of the VIVA cassette.

I think you will (still) love this music too.