Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Schneider Quartet Haydn, Op. 76

At long last I get to continue with my project of posting the Schneider Quartet recordings of the Haydn String Quartets. It is one of the principle reasons for having started the blog.

Since I did not have the last two quartets of Op. 76, one of the visitors to the blog kindly offered to supply me with them, so that I could post a complete set. The two files were provided to me by Jonathan Angel in unrestored FLAC . I did some decrackling and a very slight noise mask to get rid of persistent noise that would not otherwise filter out. The noise mask was set to .3 in DartPro 24. Thank you to Jonathan for allowing me to offer the complete Op. 76, surely one of Haydn's supreme achievements.

I am posting those last two two quartets first. Nos. 3 and 4 (The Emperor and Sunrise) are almost ready. Check back to this post over the next few days for the one through four, which I will be adding shortly, with the included note by Karl Geiringer.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Valentino: Victor Young directs Tangos (Inspired by the Movie)

Here is one for my friend, Buster, whose blog I checked before posting it. (To make sure he had not) It's "A Collection of Tangos: Inspired by the Technicolor Motion Picture Valentino - The Loves and Times of Rudolph Valentino." The movie stars Anthony Dexter and Eleanor Parker. More about it can be discovered here: The performances here are by The Castilians under Victor Young. I believe they played many, if not all of the same pieces in the movie.

My love affair with tangos probably began as a kid watching Warner Brothers' cartoons in the 50s, but it took off watching Jack Lemmon (Daphne) and Joe E. Brown (Osgood Fielding III) dancing to La Cumparsita in Some Like It Hot, surely a contender for the funniest movie ever made. It has left me with the unfortunate and inappropriate urge to giggle when I hear a tango, especially that one, but it has not compromised my unfettered enjoyment of these wonderful dance tunes.

Here's a single white carnation to clench in your teeth (like Daphne!) while you dance.

Link to All Files

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Cherubini Requiem in C minor:( Malcolm Sargent??), Roger Wagner Chorale

(There seems to be some controversy about the attribution of Malcolm Sargent as the conductor of this recording. I am not in a position to definitively decide the issue, though the evidence for excluding Sargent at this point seems compelling. For the present I will simply put the attribution in the title of the post in parenthesis with question marks, and leave it to the reader to decide the issue based on the comments quite far down on the list, below. Thanks for your forbearance.)

Here at last is the Cherubini Requiem in C minor that I mentioned quite some time ago I would be posting. This one is for my old friend, Jerry Parker, a Cherubini expert who provided the LP for me.

Though issued originally on Capital Records with Roger Wagner listed as the conductor, a later LP release on Angel gave more accurate attributions and named Malcolm Sargent as the real leader of this performance. In his review on Amazon Jerry writes:

"Roger Wagner probably was merely the very fine chorus master for Sargent, who conducts with the kind of terrific power and expertise that have made Sir malcom Sargent's various recordings of oratorios so highly celebrated." (The full review, offering a handy overview of the recorded history of the work, can be found here:

In recent recordings of the work the wonderful and terrifying Marche funebre, meant to precede the Mass itself, has been included, as well as the "In Paradisum" from the rite for the burial service. Both of these are omitted on the present record, but a good mp3 of them can be downloaded if you care to hear them, or to add them to a CD. The recording by Chistoph Sperling can be found here: and is highly recommended. The individual tracks can be downloaded.

The work was written after the restoration of the French monarchy to commemorate the execution by guillotine of King Louis XVI. In listening to the ferocity of some of the music, one is not surprised to learn that Cherubini was forced to play in bands that accompanied many beheadings. The gongs in both the Marche funebre and Dies Irae suggest the terrifying blade at least as forcefully as the slashing blade strokes of the guillotine in Dialogs of the Carmelites, and point to the abject terror inspired by final judgement in many guises.

I hope you enjoy this great and too often neglected masterpiece.

Link to all files

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Cesare Siepi: Romanze Italiane

Cesare Siepi: February 10, 1923 - July 5, 2010

Here's a record that I have treasured for years, sung by Cesare Siepi, one of my very favorite singers, who died a few days ago at the age of 87. There's a lot of opera and recital by this artist available on CD, but I do not think this boxed, single LP has been digitally re-issued. If you love this sort of sentimental bel canto -- and I do! -- no one sings it better.

I have many of Siepi's well known, classic opera recordings of the 50s, and a terrific live recording (on LP and CD) of his Mephistopheles in Gounod's Faust with Jussi Bjoerling, Robert Merrill, and Elisabeth Soderstrom as Marguerite. There's the record of Cole Porter songs and many recital discs. Still, this offering is a beautiful example of his art and his voice, and it is, besides, a personal favorite.

A great basso, with a warm, dark tone that could nonetheless glitter in the upper registers, and which was remarkably focused throughout the range. Magnificent! No bass moves me as much.

The record was oddly recorded; you can hear the mike being adjusted near the beginning of one or two songs, and the sound is slightly muddy. I decided against re-equalizing, fearing it would cause more problems than it would solve; if I discover otherwise later, I'll re-up the post.