Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Ormandy Conducts Sibelius


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

This week's Vinyl's Revenge post is the first of two Tuesday musings featuring the symphonies o Jean Sibelius.

It is fair to say that Eugene Ormandy had the good fortune of performing the music of some great Late Romantic composers he had the pleasure of meeting himself: Bela Bartok, Sergey Rachmaninov, and Jean Sibelius figure especially in his repertoire.

Eugene Ormandy talks about Sibelius:

Meeting Sibelius for the first time, I had the impression of being in the presence of someone almost superhuman. Here was a being I had admired and looked up to all my life — and suddenly I was in his presence. He was a towering man, a towering personality, with a magnificent head and powerful face. His beautiful home was full of records, many of which we had sent him from America throughout the years.

Sibelius’ First Symphony was the “first” for me in another sense — it was the first of the master’s symphonies I ever conducted. This was in 1932, with the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra — and we recorded it for RCA Victor in that year. I think perhaps it was the first Sibelius symphony to be recorded outside of Scandinavia. Of course the great Finnish conductor, Sibelius’ friend Kajanus, had broken ground for Sibelius years before, and so had Koussevitzky, Stokowski and Beecham. I have played the First Symphony many times in the intervening thirty years, and it never loses its fascination for me. Recordings have changed a great deal since 1932, and so have interpretations of his works to the end, and he always had admiration for the work of my colleagues Stokowski and Koussevitzky. I will risk immodesty to add that he praised my readings too. His enthusiasm is a source of great pride to me.
The below YouTube link is a compilation of Sibelius symphonies recorded by Ormandy for RCA, one of which featuring the First Symphony I own in my vinyl collection and share on the specific Archive link.

Happy Listening!

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957)
Symphony No.1 in E Minor, Op.39
Valse Triste, from Kuolema, Op. 44
The Swan of Tuonela, Op. 22 no. 2

Philadelphia Orchestra
Eugene Ormandy, conducting

RCA Red Seal – ARL1-4901
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album
Released: 1984

Discogs https://www.discogs.com/release/5222...wan-Of-Tuonela

YouTube - https://youtube.com/playlist?list=OL...ieV1KBl6xT46K8

Internet Archive - https://archive.org/details/symphony...nor-op.-39-iv.

Friday, January 21, 2022

The USAF Heritage of America Band

No. 376 of the ongoing ITYWLTMT series of audio montages is this week's Friday Blog and Podcast. It can be found in our archives at https://archive.org/details/pcast376


Blogger’s Note: As we review our many musical shares from our musical forum activities under our ongoing “222 Day Binge Challenge”, the Friday Blog and Podcast will revisit some themes from past Tuesday Blogs. Today’s montage is part of that exercise. The Tuesday post in question was issued on November 8, 2011. The programme reuses some of the same works and the below commentary is taken almost verbatim from the original post.

This Armed Forces wind band was one of the original Army Air Corps bands, created by order of the Secretary of War on October 1, 1941 and assigned to Barksdale Field, Louisiana. In June 1946, after a short stay at Brooks Field, Texas, the band arrived at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, its current home.

For over half a century, the band has represented the Air Force with musical and military distinction. Members bring music to the mid-Atlantic in live concerts and to the nation in televised events such as The Today show and the DESERT STORM National Victory Parade, as well as presidential inaugural events. The Heritage of America Band has performed ceremonies for U.S presidents and foreign heads of state, including the Queen of England and the President of France. Using today's technology, the band reaches a world wide audience through its website and compact disc recordings.

The band's 45 men and women are assigned to two primary ensembles: the USAF Heritage of America Concert Band and the Blue Aces popular music ensemble. The concert band breaks down into five smaller touring groups: the Heritage Brass Quintet, the Langley Winds woodwind ensemble, Rhythm in Blue jazz ensemble, and are newest dixie style ensemble Heritage Ramblers. Each year, the band's components travel more than 30,000 miles to perform hundreds of concerts for listeners across a six-state region from Pennsylvania to South Carolina.

The programme I assembled, for the most part, uses material I originally downloaded from MP3.COM and the band's old website that provided downloadable tracks. You may find some of these now on YouTube, including their performance of the Keith Gates flute concerto.

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

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

A LA CARTE #6- Grieg à la carte


We are repurposing the music from a Vinyl's Revenge post of 28 June 2016 as a new montage in our ongoing A la Carte series on For Your Listening Pleasure

The following notes are an update. 

The original post, featuring stage music by Grieg, is being “mashed up” into a new programme by adding more stage music by the Norwegian. This A La Carte montage extends our old vinyl share of Vaclav Neumann conducting excerpts Peer Gynt with a rare complete recording of the incidental music from Sigurd Jorsalfar.

Sigurd Jorsalfar is a play by Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson celebrating King Sigurd I of Norway. Published as his Op. 22, his incidental music for the play was first performed in Christiania on 10 April 1872. The full work consists of nine parts; five are purely orchestral, and four are scored for tenor or baritone, male chorus, and orchestra.

Happy Listeing!


Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907)

Peer Gynt, op.23 (Incidental Music, selections)

Soprano Vocals – Adele Stolte

Gewandhausorchester Leipzig

Václav Neumann, conducting


Sigurd Jorsalfar Op. 22 (Incidental Music, complete)

1. Prelude

2. Intermezzo (Borghilds Dream) – Act I

3. In The ing's Hall (The Matching Game) – Act II

4. Horn Calls – Act II

5. The Norsmen – Act II

6. Homage March – Act III

7. Interlude I & II – Act III

8. The King's Ballad – Act III

Baritone Vocals – Kåre Bjørkøy

Chorus – Oslo Philharmonic Chorus

London Symphony Orchestra

Per Dreier, conducting

Archive Page - https://archive.org/details/alc-06


Friday, January 14, 2022

Wieniawski, Concertos #1 & 2


No. 375 of the ongoing ITYWLTMT series of audio montages is this week's Friday Blog and Podcast. It can be found in our archives at https://archive.org/details/pcast375


Original posts: TalkClassicalBlogger

Henryk Wieniawski was a polish violinist and composer and one of the most celebrated violinists of the 19th century.

Wieniawski was a child prodigy who entered the Paris Conservatory at age 8 and graduated from there with the first prize in violin at the unprecedented age of 11. He became a concert violinist at age 13 and began touring Europe with his brother Joseph, a pianist. His wide-ranging concert tours brought him international fame. In 1860 he was appointed violin soloist to the tsar of Russia, and from 1862 to 1869 he taught at the St. Petersburg Conservatory. In 1872–74 he toured the United States, playing with the pianist Anton Rubinstein, and he subsequently taught for a time at the Brussels Conservatory.

As a violinist Wieniawski was admired for his rich, warm tone, glowing temperament, and perfect technique. His own compositions for violin are Romantic in style and were intended to display his virtuosity. He composed two violin concerti, one in F-sharp Minor (Opus 14) and a quite popular one in D Minor (Opus 22). His other compositions include Le Carnaval russe (Opus 11), Legende (Opus 17), Scherzo-tarantelle (Opus 16), and études, mazurkas, and polonaises.

The pair of concerti are performed by Michael Rabin; the opening work, Bruch's Scottish Fantasy, was part of a past Vinyl's Revenge share, which we extended with the second Wieniawski concerto.

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

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Chopin / Arthur Rubinstein, Skrowaczewski, Wallenstein – Concertos Nos. 1 & 2


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

This week’s Cover2Cover is part of a week-long series on our podcasting channel I have dubbed “The One-Two Punch”, focused on pairs of concerti that follow that numerical sequence. Our share is focused on the coupling of Chopin’s two piano concerti featuring the late great Arthur Rubinstein.

Here is a post tken nearly verbaim from Classics Today by Jed Distler:

[Rubinstein’s 1961 Chopin E minor concerto recording is easily] the finest of Rubinstein’s three recorded versions (indeed, one of his best recordings of anything), where panache and poetry fuse to magical, impeccably timed effect. Obviously Stanislaw Skrowaczewski’s beautifully balanced and shapely accompaniment inspires the soloist.

The F minor concerto performance is not quite on the same level, mainly because Rubinstein’s straightforward brio often yields perfunctory, even glib returns. For instance, there’s more anguish and drama in the slow movement’s octave outbursts than Rubinstein’s hard-nosed reading suggests, while opportunities for poetic nuance in the outer movements also go by unnoticed. […]

In addition, Alfred Wallenstein uncovers important orchestral detail many conductors ignore, such as the motives in the finale that pass back and forth between the solo wind players. Wallenstein also complies with two misguided textual emendations that Rubinstein always asked for–a foreshortened final tutti at the first movement’s end, and a “normal” bowing of the violins’ percussive ponticello (back of the bow) effect in the finale’s mazurka episode.
Happy Listening!

Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849)
All tracks feature Arthur Rubinstein, piano

Piano Concerto No.1 in E Minor, Op.11
New Symphony Orchestra Of London
Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, conducting
Recorded June 8 & 9, 1961 at Walthamstow, London

Piano Concerto No.2 in F Minor, Op.21
Symphony Of The Air
Alfred Wallenstein, conducting
Recorded January 20, 1958, Carnegie Hall, NYC.

RCA Red Seal – 82876-67902-2, Sony BMG Music Entertainment – 82876-67902-2
Format: SACD, Hybrid, Stereo, Compilation, Remastered

Discogs https://www.discogs.com/release/1489...certos-Nos-1-2

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

A LA CARTE #4- Prokofiev à la carte


We are repurposing the music from a Vinyl's Revenge post of 23 August 2016 as a new montage in our ongoing A la Carte series on For Your Listening Pleasure.

The following notes are an update. 

The original post, featuring balletmusic by Prokofiev, is being “mashed up” into a new programme by adding another Prokofiev ballet.

Cinderella is one of Prokofiev's most popular and melodious compositions, and has inspired a great many choreographers since its inception. The piece was composed between 1940 and 1944. Part way through writing it Prokofiev broke off to write his opera War and Peace.

Cinderella is notable for its jubilant music, lush scenery, and for the comic double-roles of the stepmother and the two stepsisters (which can be performed in travesti), more mad than bad in this treatment.

Sergey PROKOFIEV (1891-1953)
Romeo and Juliet (Ромео и Джульетта), Op. 64
Selections from suites op. 64bis & ter
New York Philharmonic
Dimitri Mitropoulos, conducting

Cinderella, Op.87 (Highlights)
1 Introduction
3 Cinderella
12 Spring Fairy
13 Summer Fairy
14 Grasshoppers And Dragonflies
15 Autumn Fairy
16 Winter Fairy
31 Promenade 1:36
32 Cinderella's Dance
33 Dance Of The Prince
37 Waltz-Coda 1:36
38 Midnight
45 Cinderella's Awakening
50 Amoroso: The Prince And Cinderella
The Cleveland Orchestra
Vladimir Ashkenazy, conducting

Archive Page - https://archive.org/details/alc-04