Nostalgia.

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Nostalgia.

Postby dai bread » Fri Sep 18, 2009 6:52 am

I have just spent a couple of hours wallowing in nostalgia.

Once upon a time, when I lived at home in a foreign land called The Past, I heard my father waxing eloquent about the Huddersfield Choral Society's recording of The Messiah under Sir Malcolm Sargent. My father was a fairly decent baritone, and knew one end of The Messiah from the other, so I said to myself, "I know what I'm getting you for Christmas".

So I went shopping. "Have you got any Excerpts?" I asked the shop attendant. Everything was Excerpts in those days of 78s. No, he didn't have any Excerpts, but he did have this whole set, and it was by the Huddersfield Choral Society under Sir Malcolm Sargent.

"Emma Chissett?"

However much it was, it was within my budget, and I cycled home with a box of 78s under my arm. No mean feat, I think now, but I was young & vigorous and the set and I got home safely.

That set gave us many hours of enjoyment, spinning around on our Grigsby-Grunow gramophone, steel needles weighed down by a big horseshoe magnet steadily chewing their way through the hard (fortunately) shellac.

Later, I taped it on reel-to-reel gear, and later still, got a long-suffering TVNZ sound engineer to transfer the reel-to-reel to casette. Then the cassette player went the way of the reel-to-reel, so I was reduced to other versions, made by people who wanted to imprint the work with their own egos. "Original" versions, versions with castrati (aka boy sopranos) and goodness knows what else.

Then one night I was browsing Amazon UK for something (I forget what) and found a recording of The Messiah. Norman Walker, it said. "Oh", I thought, "has he conducted a version?" Investigate. No, it's Malcolm Sargent's version, Isobel Baillie, Gladys Ripley, James Johnson, Norman Walker, the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Huddersfield Choral Society! It was the 1946 original!

So I bought it quick smart, before they ran out.

Now I've played it, and it's a superb example of remastering. You'd think it had been recorded yesterday. It's better than the original, although that might owe something to improvements in sound reproduction technology over 60 years. No scratches, no pops, and good, clear sound. All Isobel Baillie's top notes are there, clear as you like, and so is the orchestra's bottom line, and all the lines in between. It's a great recording.

I'm playing it now, and it will give as much pleasure as the original 78s did.
We have no money; we must use our brains. -Ernest Rutherford.
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Re: Nostalgia.

Postby Shapley » Fri Sep 18, 2009 8:22 am

My first recording of Beethoven's symphonies was a set of all nine by Sir Josef Krips and the London Festival Orchestra. I believe I wore the 7th and 9th out, and gave the 3rd and 5th a pretty good beating as well. They were on vinyl, and I still have them in the basement.

I remember that you could hear the performers chairs squeeking and an occasional cough during the recording.

I recently found it available in a 'collectors tin' on CD. They no longer refer to the orchestra as the "London Festival Orchestra' for some reason, but it is the same recording. It was liking finding an old friend in a new place. Sadly, the CD sound quality, while no less, is no better than the LPs. I suppose it all owes to the quality of the original masters, and these were done 'on the cheap', I believe.

Even so, these recordings are the barometer against which I measure later perfomances. Sir Josef Krips does an excellent job, and the chorus in the 9th is excellent, IMHO. London Festival Orchestra, or London Symphony Orchestra, does a great job.
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Re: Nostalgia.

Postby jamiebk » Fri Sep 18, 2009 10:23 am

Shapley wrote:My first recording of Beethoven's symphonies was a set of all nine by Sir Josef Krips and the London Festival Orchestra. I believe I wore the 7th and 9th out, and gave the 3rd and 5th a pretty good beating as well. They were on vinyl, and I still have them in the basement.

I remember that you could hear the performers chairs squeeking and an occasional cough during the recording.

I recently found it available in a 'collectors tin' on CD. They no longer refer to the orchestra as the "London Festival Orchestra' for some reason, but it is the same recording. It was liking finding an old friend in a new place. Sadly, the CD sound quality, while no less, is no better than the LPs. I suppose it all owes to the quality of the original masters, and these were done 'on the cheap', I believe.

Even so, these recordings are the barometer against which I measure later perfomances. Sir Josef Krips does an excellent job, and the chorus in the 9th is excellent, IMHO. London Festival Orchestra, or London Symphony Orchestra, does a great job.


Kinda like your first love/girlfriend-boyfriend...against which all others are measured. :rofl:
Jamie

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Re: Nostalgia.

Postby Shapley » Fri Sep 18, 2009 11:01 am

jamiebk wrote:Kinda like your first love/girlfriend-boyfriend...against which all others are measured. :rofl:


I barely remember my first girlfriend. She hardly compared to a Beethoven Symphony, more like a piece of so-so soundtrack music.... ;) As I best I recall, she set the bar pretty low. I don't think any later ones fell below the mark. The dating experience culminated with meeting the woman that is now my wife. She is like a Mahler Symphony. :)
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Re: Nostalgia.

Postby shostakovich » Sun Sep 20, 2009 2:25 pm

I remember the early days of LP. The Sargent recording of Messiah was the only one available for many years. It was highly regarded for performance and engineering. That may explain why it had the field to itself. The Krips 9 symphonies likewise had the field to itself for some years, although I think the set came out in the stereo era.

My wife is more like Rite of Spring: sometimes calm, always an undercurrent, explosive, unpredictable, still fresh after many years.

This has the making of an interesting thread.
Shos
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Re: Nostalgia.

Postby Giant Communist Robot » Sun Sep 20, 2009 5:08 pm

I have just spent a couple of hours wallowing in nostalgia.



A symptom of ageing
Thinking is overrated
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Re: Nostalgia.

Postby dai bread » Sun Sep 20, 2009 9:47 pm

Hang on a minute while I get my zimmerframe...
We have no money; we must use our brains. -Ernest Rutherford.
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Re: Nostalgia.

Postby dai bread » Sun Sep 20, 2009 9:56 pm

shostakovich wrote:I remember the early days of LP. The Sargent recording of Messiah was the only one available for many years. It was highly regarded for performance and engineering. That may explain why it had the field to itself. The Krips 9 symphonies likewise had the field to itself for some years, although I think the set came out in the stereo era.

My wife is more like Rite of Spring: sometimes calm, always an undercurrent, explosive, unpredictable, still fresh after many years.

This has the making of an interesting thread.
Shos


I wasn't aware that the Columbia's engineering was anything special, but I've always thought the set delivered good sound. The old Grigsby-Grunow was no doubt very good in its day, but like so much else, including me, the operative words are "in its day".

I've never heard the Krips symphonies. I wonder if they've been remastered to the standard of this "Messiah"? I need the Beethoven 9 on disc. All mine are on LP.

Your wife sounds interesting , Shos. I look forward to meeting both of you, probably in September or October next year.
We have no money; we must use our brains. -Ernest Rutherford.
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Re: Nostalgia.

Postby Shapley » Mon Sep 21, 2009 8:25 am

There are a couple of versions of the Krips set available:

Beethoven: The Nine Symphones - Box Set

Beethoven: The Nine Symphonies - Collectors Tin

I have the latter, the 'Tin Can Edition'. It also appears there have been a couple of other releases of the set, but I can't find them available. I gather the original copyright has expired, so pretty much anyone can release a set. The original recordings were made by Everest Records.

Based on the Amazon dot com reviews, I would say the tin can has the best sound available. The sound engineer has written in a response to one reviewer that he has again remastered them because he was not totally satisfied with the first, but he does not believe that it has been released. He indicates that the quality of the original tapes is not that good. However, based on the reviews it would seem that most agree with me that the perfomances are excellent, even if the engineering leaves something to be desired. I have several 'complete sets' of Beethoven's symphonies, and I still believe that the Krips performance can stand proudly beside the best of them.

It does seem that that my poor memory has let me down again. The original set was recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra, not the London Festival Orchestra, although the original was listed as the "London Festival Edition". I do have some recordings by the London Festival Orchestra on LP, so I gather that this was the source of my confusion. I found a picture of the cover of the original set here:

Image

Murray Hill also released a set of the Complete Piano Music of Beethoven (among others) with matching cover art, which I have in my collection. I'm not sure if that one is available on CD.

Image

They also had a complete Mozart Symphony set, Complete Mahler (which I've discussed before), Complete Organ Music of Bach, Complete Keyboad Music of Bach and, if I remember correctly, the Complete Symphonies of Haydn. I'll have to rummage through the basement to see which sets I have. With the exception of the Beethoven and the Mahler Symphonies, none have been listened to entirely.

It would be interesting to find, after all these years, that half of the LP's are blank. I bought a six-volume set of Gibbon's Roman Empire, which I bought used. It was published around the turn of the century. I often wondered if I was the first to discover that the pages had never been separated. You had to have a letter opener to read the book. Thus far I have only rendered part of the first volume readable, and only read part of that.
Last edited by Shapley on Mon Sep 21, 2009 9:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Nostalgia.

Postby Shapley » Mon Sep 21, 2009 8:52 am

Oh! An interesting thing about the Murray Hill set: the symphonies were arranged on the LP's for an automatic record changer. That is, you didn't have to flip the album over in the middle of a long symphony - it would be continued onto the next LP rather than onto the flip side. Thus, you stacked two LP's on your automatic turntable to hear Beethoven's Ninth in its entirety, with only the sound of the dropping LP, (and the destructive sound of vinyl sliding against vinyl) between movements.
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Re: Nostalgia.

Postby Schmeelkie » Mon Sep 21, 2009 11:48 am

Don't remember details about my parent's LP set of Messiah (or The best of Bach which was played almost every Sunday am), but it was a sad day when it started skipping. My parents have gone through at least 4 cassette, then CD versions before finding something comprable. I got a CD set of their rejects - decent version, but it skips some parts, then has those parts at the end of the final CD. Weird. Sounds like it might be worth it to see if they still have the LPs to see if a remastered version exists...

If you listen to one version of a piece long enough, to your ears, it's the RIGHT version, and nothing else seems the same. We'd listen to part one of Messiah a couple of times each December, and the whole thing for a month or so (mostly Sundays) around Easter - so 18+ years of that has a certain tempo and way of singing stuck in my head as the 'correct' way of doing it. Although, the most fun I had with Messiah was at a Messiah-sing at my college - just before winter break. Choral students did the solos and helped direct the rest of us - had us all group ourselved by range. At the first one I attended, quickly realized I'd be much better off moving from the altos to the tenors. Think I made it 3 years out of the 4 I was there. One year we all messed up so badly, that the conductor had us start the section over again. All in good humor though...
"Up plus down equals flat" Pumpkin, 3 yrs, 10 mo, July '07
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Re: Nostalgia.

Postby shostakovich » Mon Sep 21, 2009 2:48 pm

dai bread wrote:
shostakovich wrote:I remember the early days of LP. The Sargent recording of Messiah was the only one available for many years. It was highly regarded for performance and engineering. That may explain why it had the field to itself. The Krips 9 symphonies likewise had the field to itself for some years, although I think the set came out in the stereo era.

My wife is more like Rite of Spring: sometimes calm, always an undercurrent, explosive, unpredictable, still fresh after many years.

This has the making of an interesting thread.
Shos


I wasn't aware that the Columbia's engineering was anything special, but I've always thought the set delivered good sound. The old Grigsby-Grunow was no doubt very good in its day, but like so much else, including me, the operative words are "in its day".

I've never heard the Krips symphonies. I wonder if they've been remastered to the standard of this "Messiah"? I need the Beethoven 9 on disc. All mine are on LP.

Your wife sounds interesting , Shos. I look forward to meeting both of you, probably in September or October next year.




I have not heard the Krips symphonies either. I just remember seeing them often for sale, the only stereo complete set at the time. While there's something nice about a complete set (program notes are usually elaborate), it's not likely you will get the "best" performance of each by one conductor and orchestra. I had planned to get the 9 by Szell-Cleveland in the LP era, but I never did. I have the Solti versions on disc now, but have not listened to all of them critically, so I can't say "get 'em". They are well played, so they satisfy me.

My wife IS interesting. Was that an invitation, or are you planning a trip? :D
Shos
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Re: Nostalgia.

Postby Shapley » Mon Sep 21, 2009 3:03 pm

As I recall, Furtwangler had the complete "Ring" cycle to himself for decades. I believe he still has the complete 'live' recording field to himself.

I believe that was also available from Murray Hill at one time or another.

I believe the Krips set must have been so readily available due to some lapse in the copyright. Perhaps Everest Records set out to make a set available to the everyman, instead of pricey editions that only 'the rich' could afford. If so, they succeeded. As I recall, I paid only less than $20 for my set, brand new, through Publisher's Central Bureau (A mail-order bookseller, now defunct). There were other complete collections that predated it, such as Klemperrer, Furtwangler and Toscanini, but they were pricey and hard to find. My grandmother had a set on RCA Red Label 78s, although many of them were lost by the time I saw them (in the late '60s).
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Re: Nostalgia.

Postby Shapley » Tue Sep 22, 2009 10:44 am

I took a look at my boxed sets of LP's in the basement. I have the following:

Bach: The Complete Works For Organ
Beethoven: Complete Symphonies (The Krips Set discussed above)
Beethoven: Complete Piano Music
Chopin: Collected Piano Music: Guiomar Novaes, Walter Klien, Peter Frankl, Orazio Frugoni, Ingrid Haebler, AND Rena Kyriakou
Dvorak: The Nine Symphonies
Mahler: The Nine Symphonies: Sir Adrian Boult, Rudolf Schwarz, Leopold Ludwig, Dmitri Mitropoulos, etc.
Mozart: All The Symphonies 1 thru 47: Mainz Chamber Orchestra - Gunter Kehr, Cconductor/Philharmonia Hungarica - Peter Maag, Conductor
Schubert: Symphonies. (Not allthe symphonies)
Liszt: The Complete Works For Organ

I may need to dig my turntable out and give some of them a listen. It's been a long, long time since I've heard many of them. Some of them I've never heard.
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Re: Nostalgia.

Postby dai bread » Tue Sep 22, 2009 8:13 pm

The Kripps Beethoven is on its way from Amazon UK. I'll let you know what it's like. Dirt cheap though, at $40 for 9 symphonies. £13 plus freight.
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Re: Nostalgia.

Postby Shapley » Tue Sep 22, 2009 8:15 pm

Did you order the tin can or the boxed set?
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Re: Nostalgia.

Postby Shapley » Tue Sep 22, 2009 8:18 pm

I'm thinking you'll be pleased with the performance, even if the sound quality is lacking. Personally, I think the finale of the Ninth is the best I've heard, even better than Lenny's. But then, it could be that 'first love' thing again.
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Re: Nostalgia.

Postby dai bread » Wed Sep 23, 2009 7:06 pm

Amazon says "boxed set" but the picture shows rounded corners like a tin. I'll see what turns up.
We have no money; we must use our brains. -Ernest Rutherford.
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Re: Nostalgia.

Postby Haggis@wk » Wed Oct 28, 2009 2:37 pm

Krispy Kreme Doughnut Corp. has closed nearly half of its Dallas-area stores in the last three months as it looks to turn the market over to a franchisee.
The Krispy Kreme on Central Expressway in Plano (MY STORE!!!) shut down this week…”


Sigh, my world just got a little bit smaller and grayer………..
The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.” Alexis De Tocqueville 1835
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Re: Nostalgia.

Postby Trumpetmaster » Thu Oct 29, 2009 5:15 am

Haggis@wk wrote:
Krispy Kreme Doughnut Corp. has closed nearly half of its Dallas-area stores in the last three months as it looks to turn the market over to a franchisee.
The Krispy Kreme on Central Expressway in Plano (MY STORE!!!) shut down this week…”


Sigh, my world just got a little bit smaller and grayer………..



Sorry to hear that.
Have you ever tried that Bacon Cheeseburger between the Krispy Kreme Glazed Donut?
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