Vault treasures that were never reissued

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pizza
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Vault treasures that were never reissued

Post by pizza » Sun Jun 26, 2005 1:35 pm

There are some recordings that cry out for reissue but whose cries fall on the deaf ears of record execs.

One of the greatest Schubert Sonata cycles ever recorded lies moldering in Vox's vaults -- I'm referring to Friedrich Wuhrer's tremendous effort from the mid '50s. Sandpaper LP surfaces notwithstanding, I've never heard a better all 'round traversal of these wonderful works.

Then there are the great Ives recordings that were issued in the '60s and '70s by Columbia, most of which were produced by Goddard Lieberson, who must be spinning in his grave at their neglect by Sony. And that applies to MTT's complete works of Carl Ruggles as well.

Anyone have any additions? Or solutions?

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Post by jserraglio » Sun Jun 26, 2005 2:04 pm

One solution I can think of is called Naxos. Pry the lawsuits off their backs and they'll re-issue everything of value in due course.

A friend told me once the reason why we got the Essential Classics series from Sony at bargain prices is that, after they bought the Columbia catalog, Sony execs in Germany thought that discs by non-European orchestras like Philadelphia, Cleveland, New York etc. wouldn't sell. Don't know if this tale is true, but it has the ring of truth.

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Post by oisfetz » Sun Jun 26, 2005 2:20 pm

I wish somebody get the catalogue of the defunct french Dante-Lys label and reissue all of it!!

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Re: Vault treasures that were never reissued

Post by Holden Fourth » Sun Jun 26, 2005 4:36 pm

pizza wrote:There are some recordings that cry out for reissue but whose cries fall on the deaf ears of record execs.

One of the greatest Schubert Sonata cycles ever recorded lies moldering in Vox's vaults -- I'm referring to Friedrich Wuhrer's tremendous effort from the mid '50s. Sandpaper LP surfaces notwithstanding, I've never heard a better all 'round traversal of these wonderful works.

Then there are the great Ives recordings that were issued in the '60s and '70s by Columbia, most of which were produced by Goddard Lieberson, who must be spinning in his grave at their neglect by Sony. And that applies to MTT's complete works of Carl Ruggles as well.

Anyone have any additions? Or solutions?
Try e-mailing them. A few years ago I tried this with a number of recordings that I wanted to see reissued and did exactly that. My strike rate so far is 100% provided I was prepared to wait. The most surprising was the reissue of Ousset's Liszt/Paganini Etudes. EMI replied and told me they had no plans for reissue yet lo and behold, 6 months later, it turned up as part of their cheapo Encore series. Did my e-mail bring the idea to somebody's mind? It's worth a go so get hold of VOX and see what happens.

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Post by pizza » Sun Jun 26, 2005 11:22 pm

Some time ago I was involved in an exchange of e-mails with the manager of Vox about the Wuhrer/Schubert recordings. He was cordial and responsive but insisted that since Vox had already issued Walter Klien's complete set which was selling well, he felt no need to duplicate it. I tried without success to convince him that it wouldn't be "duplication" since no two artists play the same way; I also pointed out the extremely positive reviews Wuhrer's recordings had received from major critics when they were issued -- all to no avail.

After that experience I didn't even try to approach Sony about the Ives and Ruggles material.

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Post by Lance » Sun Jun 26, 2005 11:28 pm

jserraglio wrote:One solution I can think of is called Naxos. Pry the lawsuits off their backs and they'll re-issue everything of value in due course.

A friend told me once the reason why we got the Essential Classics series from Sony at bargain prices is that, after they bought the Columbia catalog, Sony execs in Germany thought that discs by non-European orchestras like Philadelphia, Cleveland, New York etc. wouldn't sell. Don't know if this tale is true, but it has the ring of truth.
Well, since so few companies like RCA-Columbia/Sony are making more recordings of old warhorses such as Beethoven's Fifth Symphony (or any of the symphonies or concertos), the major works by Mozart, etc., perhaps they, EMI, and the Universal Group will start digging into their vaults more. They are, after all, in the record (not necessary "recording" business, at least like it used to be). So, they may resurrect their old masters and come up with a few surprises. Personally, I've been working lately to see if the Universal Group will reissue all of pianist Benno Moiseiwitsch's American Decca recordings made in New York in 1963 just before he died.

I remember writing to RCA Victor, and specifically to producer Jack Pfeiffer (now deceased) to askbeg for a CD reissue of Raymond Lewenthal's Alkan recordings (which to this day remain astounding performances). Pfeiffer sent me a somewhat insensitive note that the recording "would never be reissued." Guess what? It was, and in their "High Performance" series—at a budge price. But what was more amazing, when I was on the Microsoft Network's classical music board, I asked many of my friends to support me on the Lewenthal/Alkan issue. They, too, wrote to RCA. What is even more surprising is that a COPY of the letter he wrote to me (with my inside address still intact!) was sent to every one of those who wrote. Apparently he saw through my little scheme. It was, after all, all done in the name of preserving great music and performances.

Interestingly enough, Elan Records issued this same Lewenthal performance on their label, but it was an inferior recording sonically that even the stereo LP still sounded better. After Elan issued it, RCA took it back under their wing.

So, you never know. All you can do is nicely "hassle" the record companies. One or two requests doesn't usually cut it, but if many come forth, some consideration may be given.

Lately, I am hopeful that Sony Classical will reissue the five CDs of the late pianist Ruth Laredo's complete Rachmaninoff recordings, formerly on seven LPs; it still shows as being available, but it isn't, just like The Bruno Walter Edition has vanished. But we also have to realize that these companies are in this for $$$ in order to merely survive. I fear the days of their benevolence (and understanding of great musical art) is over.
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Post by pizza » Sun Jun 26, 2005 11:40 pm

oisfetz wrote:I wish somebody get the catalogue of the defunct french Dante-Lys label and reissue all of it!!
I agree. There are some real treasures there. One of them is a Lys 2 CD issue called L'Art d'Ernest Borsamsky containing superb performances of Mahler 1, Shostakovich 5, Stravinsky's L'Oiseau de Feu and Debussy's La Mer. The great mystery is: who was "Ernest Borsamsky"? The recordings were made in 1947 by "Orch. Symphonique de la Radiodiffusion de Berlin" according to the information provided. But there's nothing about Borsamsky. He's not listed in Holmes' Conductors on Record or mentioned in any of the standard references. A musician who could conduct such a wide range of works with such excellent results must have been well known. Could it be Furtwangler before he was "de-Nazified" and allowed to conduct again? How about pirated recordings by Fricsay/RIAS? Any guesses? I've been stumped by this one ever since I bought it! :?
Last edited by pizza on Sun Jun 26, 2005 11:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Corlyss_D » Sun Jun 26, 2005 11:51 pm

The Purcell Consort of Voices did some nice albums in the late 60s early 70s. Most have been reissued except for the Montiverdi Madrigals with the best version of Lamento della Ninfa I ever heard. It was finally reissued recently.
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Post by Ralph » Mon Jun 27, 2005 4:22 am

pizza wrote:Some time ago I was involved in an exchange of e-mails with the manager of Vox about the Wuhrer/Schubert recordings. He was cordial and responsive but insisted that since Vox had already issued Walter Klien's complete set which was selling well, he felt no need to duplicate it. I tried without success to convince him that it wouldn't be "duplication" since no two artists play the same way; I also pointed out the extremely positive reviews Wuhrer's recordings had received from major critics when they were issued -- all to no avail.

After that experience I didn't even try to approach Sony about the Ives and Ruggles material.
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Post by herman » Mon Jun 27, 2005 5:46 am

If only SONY would make a cd-remastering of those wonderful early sixties Mozart Quartets (the socalled "Haydn" set) by the Juilliard.

They did reissue their slightly later Beethoven set. So what's keepin' 'em?

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Post by C.B. » Mon Jun 27, 2005 7:53 am

If only SONY would make a cd-remastering of those wonderful early sixties Mozart Quartets (the socalled "Haydn" set) by the Juilliard.
Oh, yeah, YEAH!!

I'm glad I'm not the only one who remembers this wonderful set--perhaps the finest thing the Julliard did on records. Gawd, what playing!
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Re: Vault treasures that were never reissued

Post by MaestroDJS » Mon Jun 27, 2005 8:31 am

pizza wrote:One of the greatest Schubert Sonata cycles ever recorded lies moldering in Vox's vaults -- I'm referring to Friedrich Wuhrer's tremendous effort from the mid '50s. Sandpaper LP surfaces notwithstanding, I've never heard a better all 'round traversal of these wonderful works.

Then there are the great Ives recordings that were issued in the '60s and '70s by Columbia, most of which were produced by Goddard Lieberson, who must be spinning in his grave at their neglect by Sony. And that applies to MTT's complete works of Carl Ruggles as well.
I agree with this 100%. Years ago I found some outstanding old Vox Box sets of Schubert sonatas performed by Friedrich Wuehrer. They strike me as recordings in which just about everything came together almost perfectly to ignite magnificent performances.

Michael Tilson Thomas's set of Carl Ruggles is also fantastic. The Buffalo Philharmonic is a bit ragged in places but that only adds to the excitement. Sun-Treader is absolutely hair-raising.

CDs are here to stay (at least until the next great technological leap), but LPs like these are big reasons why I keep my old phonograph in good working order and still scour the 2nd-hand record shops.

Dave

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Post by Donald Isler » Mon Jun 27, 2005 8:53 am

Lance's comments remind me of the time I had the poor judgment to ask the very gifted and equally touchy Mr. Lewenthal if he had ever experienced complaints about his practicing in the apartment building where he lived.

"No!" he bristled. "When they hear me practicing they come running!"
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Post by oisfetz » Mon Jun 27, 2005 9:44 am

Lewenthal was a marvellous pianist but an excentric guy. I have a signed and dedicated publicity photo of him taken in Buenos Aires, on a park between big trees,standing at maybe 10 metres from the camera, all body dressed with a very long black cloak "Dracula" style. I doubt if it was his idea, or his publicity agent?.

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Post by Donald Isler » Mon Jun 27, 2005 10:40 am

I think the cape was probably his own idea, or if it came from someone else, that he liked it. He was a very dramatic and flamboyant personality.
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Post by Bob » Mon Jun 27, 2005 11:54 am

I would love to see the Munch/Graffman/BSO Brahms 1 PC from RCA. Did this ever make it to cd -- if so I've never seen it. I've written to JVC asking them to include it among their xrcd releases (the Munch Eroica on xrcd is superb). Perhaps it will eventually come out on one of the Living Stereo hybrids that have been appearing within the past year.

Bob

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Post by Barry » Mon Jun 27, 2005 12:52 pm

Sony is sitting on a bunch of late mono (early to mid 50s) recordings by Ormandy that I'd love to have on CD.

They always release the stereo remakes that Ormandy made in Philly a few years later.

From what I've heard on private transfers, the mono recordings are often better.

And there are some other Ormandy recordings that have only been released on CD in Japan that are screaming for western release.

Among those are:

Sony's Pictures at an Exhibition

RCA's Sibelius 5th and En Saga (these may have had a very brief U.S. shelf life in the 80s), Dvorak's 7th and Prokofiev's 5th.
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Post by MaestroDJS » Mon Jun 27, 2005 2:09 pm

Holden Fourth wrote:Try e-mailing them. A few years ago I tried this with a number of recordings that I wanted to see reissued and did exactly that. My strike rate so far is 100% provided I was prepared to wait. The most surprising was the reissue of Ousset's Liszt/Paganini Etudes. EMI replied and told me they had no plans for reissue yet lo and behold, 6 months later, it turned up as part of their cheapo Encore series. Did my e-mail bring the idea to somebody's mind? It's worth a go so get hold of VOX and see what happens.
It's quite possible that those very same recordings were under consideration, but the decision-makers didn't know whether or not a market existed for reissues. Your e-mail might have been that little push they needed. Well done.
Barry Z wrote:Sony is sitting on a bunch of late mono (early to mid 50s) recordings by Ormandy that I'd love to have on CD.

They always release the stereo remakes that Ormandy made in Philly a few years later.

From what I've heard on private transfers, the mono recordings are often better.
Unfortunately sound quality usually trumps performance quality with the marketing people. Unless the mono performance is absolutely stellar, the stereo remake usually takes precendence.

Dave

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Post by pizza » Tue Jun 28, 2005 12:31 am

I just noticed that Decca's fine and well annotated recording of the almost "Complete Works of Edgard Varese" by Chailly/Concertgebouw was recently deleted from its catalogue. It goes without saying that Varese was one of the most profound and influential musical innovators of the last century. Being a stringent self-critic he wrote only a handful of works, all of them fascinating and well worth hearing. If this important set isn't reissued, it will be a major loss. It's hard to fathom the minds of record execs who think they're selling perishables by date rather than important cultural artifacts that should be available for many years. This is an almost unbelievable example of the corporate mind gone haywire.

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Post by Wallingford » Tue Jun 28, 2005 6:30 pm

I'm in full agreement on the Ormandy post above (for us Ormandy buffs, that's his "World's Greatest Orchestra" series--that's what Columbia had at the top of most of the album-covers).

I wish to trot out another well-recorded maestro: ARTHUR FIEDLER.

Both BMG & Universal have treated their Fiedler archives rather shabbily. Invariably, when they DO choose to reissue, it's invariably his hit-tune stuff. Actually, BMG's just barely skimmed the surface on their outsized share of it: in the 78 era, for instance, there were numerous classical pieces Fiedler only recorded once, never again in the tape era: Liszt's Hungarian Rhap's #1 & #9, Dvorak's Husitska, Beethoven's Consecration Over., Litolff's Robespierre Over., Wagner's Rienzi Over., Suppe's Beautiful Galatea, some Mozart Organ Sonatas (w/Biggs), Telemann's Don Quixote Suite (these last two were with the Fiedler Sinfonietta).

If any of the HISTORICAL labels had any savvy, they'd put out some of the "live" Standard Hour stuff Fiedler did in the late 40s (mainly w/SFSO), of repertoire he didn't do AT ALL commercially: a pretty-darn-good Tchaikovsky Romeo & Juliet, Handel Water Music, and Rossini's Italiana in Algeri. (Hell, I'd even settle for a CD of the OTHER stuff he did with San Francisco: the recordings of Wagner's Tannhauser Festmarch, Elgar's Pomp & Circumstance, Rimsky's Dance Of The Tumblers & many more put to shame the recordings he did with the Bostonians.)
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Post by Peter Schenkman » Wed Jun 29, 2005 4:17 pm

Columbia and Mercury are sitting on the various records that the New York Quartet made in the 1950’s, personal was Alexander Schneider (Violin), Milton Katims (Viola), Frank Miller (Cello) and Mieczyslaw Horszowski (Piano). Repertoire consisted of Piano Quartets by Schumann, Brahms, Faure, Martinu, etc. I don’t think that I ever heard a better Piano Quartet. They should be prime candidates for reissue.

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