Sir John Barbirolli

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Len_Z
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Sir John Barbirolli

Post by Len_Z » Wed Apr 24, 2019 1:11 am

I am absolutely perplexed why EMI/Warner has still not issued an Icon (or a comparable in scope) box set of John Barbirolli recordings. Does anybody know if it's in the works or, if not, the reason for this conspicuous absence. I just don't want to purchase all his records individually only to discover in a short while that they're all available in a box set for a fraction of the price, not to mention the shelves space.

On the other hand, what's everyone's favorite Barbirolli? I've just listened to his Mahler's Sixth with the New Philharmonic and am absolutely floored. I don't think I have ever heard any rendition that can even remotely compare with this one.

John F
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Re: Sir John Barbirolli

Post by John F » Wed Apr 24, 2019 3:06 am

Barbirolli recorded Dvorak's symphonies nos. 7 and 8 (then numbered 2 and 4) for Pye with the Halle Orchestra in 1957, published in the US by Mercury. No. 8 remains a favorite for me.

No. 7:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AfzEVwzYZs4

No. 8:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TQwiwo5ybhU

Barbirolli succeeded Toscanini as music director of the New York Philharmonic and they made quite a few recordings for RCA Victor. This was not a high point in Barbirolli's career, but I wonder if his poor reception was justified. The few YouTube clips aren't impressive, but maybe they aren't representative. Of course he was no Toscanini, but nobody else was either.
John Francis

Belle
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Re: Sir John Barbirolli

Post by Belle » Wed Apr 24, 2019 4:17 am

Thanks for posting those two wonderful symphonies. How do you think the Barbirolli stacks up with the best of the best recordings of these works?

A vacancy has been created in our music group on 9 May because one of our presenters has had to fly urgently to New Zealand. I'm stepping into the breach presenting "Great Recordings of the 20th Century". My recording library isn't very large in this respect so I'll be sticking to half a dozen recordings, including Regine Crespin singing Berlioz, Ravel etc., the Beecham "Scheherazade" and "La Boheme" and Richter's Rachmaninov Concerto #2. I'll have to give some thought to more in the next days.

But I would appreciate some advice on what criteria could be used to assess how a recording fits in the category of "great". I'm sure to be asked this question. Superlative playing, taut and imaginative conducting, frisson between soloist and orchestra....what else? Help please.

John F
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Re: Sir John Barbirolli

Post by John F » Wed Apr 24, 2019 5:09 am

The recordings you name are certainly among the best of the 20th century. I don't know that I would rank Barbirolli's Dvorak that high, though I like it. Here are a few that you may not have, but are certainly among the greatest:

Strauss: Ein Heldenleben. Willem Mengelberg conducting the New York Philharmonic, 1928.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1j8W3eFkFW0

Beethoven: Symphony No. 7. Arturo Toscanini conducting the New York Philharmonic, 1936.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NcD-B_5GU8E&t=

Wagner: Die Walküre, Act 1. Lauritz Melchior, Lotte Lehman, Emanuel List, Vienna Philharmonic conducted by Bruno Walter, 1935.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=McL9XgzhkPo

Chopin: Andante Spianato and Grande Polonaise. Josef Hofmann, piano, 1937 (live)


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LF2CUe-cN-U

Shostakovich: Quartet no. 8. Borodin String Quartet (1st violin: Rostislav Dubinsky), ca. 1960.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K2sDdEyvYFI

Schubert: Schwanengesang, especially the Heine songs. Hans Hotter, bass-baritone; Gerald Moore, piano, 1954.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7pU3jTrNsU0

For starters!
Last edited by John F on Wed Apr 24, 2019 1:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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John F
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Re: Sir John Barbirolli

Post by John F » Wed Apr 24, 2019 6:32 am

Speaking of Bach:

Bach: Italian Concerto. Wanda Landowska, harpsichord, 1935-6.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpInl7F8nUA

And Stravinsky:

Stravinsky: Symphony in Three Movements. Igor Stravinsky conducting the New York Philharmonic, 1946.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jIv3xanpLcc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sdDX6FGsQKo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L0-b8kMCOJY
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Rach3
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Re: Sir John Barbirolli

Post by Rach3 » Wed Apr 24, 2019 8:55 am

Belle wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 4:17 am
I'm sure to be asked this question. Superlative playing, taut and imaginative conducting, frisson between soloist and orchestra....what else? Help please.
Might add : Comparison with other recordings of the work , critical response, comments by other muscians.

As you have selected 3 of your 6 , I'll suggest just 3 more understanding there are a huge number of " great ', and "great" is, of course, to a large extent subjective:

Toscanini's Beethoven 7th Symphony
Heifetz/Beecham in the Sibelius VC
Rubinstein/Reiner in the Brahms 1st PC

maestrob
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Re: Sir John Barbirolli

Post by maestrob » Wed Apr 24, 2019 11:36 am

Some topic! 8)

I agree with all of the selections above: they are great recordings of the XXth Century.

Let me also add a few personal favorites in stereo that are easily found on amazon, Belle, if you need to provide examples for your lecture:

Mahler II: Abbado/Lucerne (The "Urlicht" solo brings a tear to the eye every time I hear it.)
Shostakovich V: Bernstein/NY 1975 (First digital recording released by a major label)
Any of Debussy's piano music played by Jean-Efflam Bavouzet
Any Chopin played by Nikita Magaloff (Martha Argerich's teacher)
Viva Vivaldi (DVD live concert by Cecelia Bartoli)
Mahler IX by Bruno Walter
Holst: The Planets: Boult 1967 (EMI/Warner)
Beethoven IX: HVK/Berlin 1963
Stravinsky: Rite of Spring: Muti/Philadelphia (EMI/Warner)
Prokofiev/Miaskovsky Cello Concerti: Rostropovich/Sargent (1959)
Schumann Symphonies: Solti/Vienna
Dvorak late Symphonies: Szell/Cleveland
Mozart: Jupiter Symphony: Compare Klemperer with Trevor Pinnock! Both are great in their own way.
Stravinsky: Firebird, composer conducting
Dvorak: Violin Concerto & Romance: Joseph Suk (Dvorak's grandson) with Karel Ancerl Czech Phil.
Brahms Symphonies: Solti/Chicago
Tchaikovsky IV & V: Mravinsky/Leningrad on DGG
Hindemith: Symphonic Variations on a Theme by Weber & Mathis der Maler: Ormandy/Philadelphia

All this just off the top of my head: there are many others, but I don't want to overwhelm the situation! Enjoy some great listening! :D

P.S. .....and since we're on the subject of John Barbirolli, may I humbly suggest his recordings of Vaughan-Williams II & III, as well as Nielsen IV with the Halle? Great indeed!

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Re: Sir John Barbirolli

Post by John F » Wed Apr 24, 2019 11:50 am

Belle wrote:I would appreciate some advice on what criteria could be used to assess how a recording fits in the category of "great". I'm sure to be asked this question. Superlative playing, taut and imaginative conducting, frisson between soloist and orchestra....what else? Help please.
Your audience will decide for itself whether what you play for them counts as great. If they ask for your reasons, your answer will depend on what you play and why you chose it.

My own choices have historical significance beyond their intrinsic quality. For example, Strauss dedicated "Ein Heldenleben" to Mengelberg, whose freedom of interpretation - quite unlike Strauss's own recordings - is also unlike anything a present-day conductor would dare to do. There was a special connection between Shostakovich and the original Borodin String Quartet, whose players are not the same as in the quartet led by Mikhail Kopelman; Rostislav Dubinsky's "Stormy Applause: Making Music in a Worker's State" provides much to say in that line. Wanda Landowska brought the harpsichord back from the dead and was the most famous as well as the most persuasive of the early Historically Informed performers. And so on.
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Re: Sir John Barbirolli

Post by John F » Wed Apr 24, 2019 11:57 am

maestrob wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 11:36 am
a few personal favorites in stereo that are easily found on amazon, Belle, if you need to provide examples for your lecture:

Mahler IX by Bruno Walter
Which one? The Vienna Philharmonic live performance is very different from the Columbia Symphony stereo studio recording.
maestrob wrote:Mozart: Jupiter Symphony: Compare Klemperer with Trevor Pinnock! Both are great in their own way.
Again, which Klemperer recording? I'd say the monaural recording of the 1950s has more vitality than the stereo remake.

maestrob wrote:Tchaikovsky IV & V: Mravinsky/Leningrad on DGG
Which of Mravinsky's recordings of rht 4th, the monaural original or the stereo remake or one of the several live performances? I'd think Belle needs you to be specific about which recordings she should listen to and choose from.
John Francis

maestrob
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Re: Sir John Barbirolli

Post by maestrob » Wed Apr 24, 2019 12:07 pm

John F wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 11:50 am
Belle wrote:I would appreciate some advice on what criteria could be used to assess how a recording fits in the category of "great". I'm sure to be asked this question. Superlative playing, taut and imaginative conducting, frisson between soloist and orchestra....what else? Help please.
Your audience will decide for itself whether what you play for them counts as great. If they ask for your reasons, your answer will depend on what you play and why you chose it.

My own choices have historical significance beyond their intrinsic quality. For example, Strauss dedicated "Ein Heldenleben" to Mengelberg, whose freedom of interpretation - quite unlike Strauss's own recordings - is also unlike anything a present-day conductor would dare to do. There was a special connection between Shostakovich and the original Borodin String Quartet, whose players are not the same as in the quartet led by Mikhail Kopelman; Rostislav Dubinsky's "Stormy Applause: Making Music in a Worker's State" provides much to say in that line. Wanda Landowska brought the harpsichord back from the dead and was the most famous as well as the most persuasive of the early Historically Informed performers. And so on.
Yes, quite! Each of us has his/her own reasons for choosing a recording as great. If I am touched emotionally is one reason for me, but also I prefer disciplined playing, Toscanini-style conducting, and depth of sound. Mild rubato is, of course necessary to bring out the fine points of the music: playing that's rigid and cold is ridiculous (See Chailly's recent release of the Brahms Symphonies.).

And John, since I started my post indicating that I was talking about recordings in stereo, I didn't think it necessary to belabor the point with each example.

maestrob
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Re: Sir John Barbirolli

Post by maestrob » Wed Apr 24, 2019 12:16 pm

Len_Z wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 1:11 am
I am absolutely perplexed why EMI/Warner has still not issued an Icon (or a comparable in scope) box set of John Barbirolli recordings. Does anybody know if it's in the works or, if not, the reason for this conspicuous absence. I just don't want to purchase all his records individually only to discover in a short while that they're all available in a box set for a fraction of the price, not to mention the shelves space.

On the other hand, what's everyone's favorite Barbirolli? I've just listened to his Mahler's Sixth with the New Philharmonic and am absolutely floored. I don't think I have ever heard any rendition that can even remotely compare with this one.
To get back to your question, Len Z, MHO is that Barbirolli was inconsistent as a conductor. While it's true that his Mahler VI is extraordinary (perhaps a bit slow in the opening movement, at least the tempo primo), his Otello is quite awful, and a live Mahler VII I've heard on BBC label is quite a mess. He did not receive good reviews as conductor here in NY when he took over from Toscanini. Frankly, I don't know his recordings in depth, but I can recommend his Vaughan-Williams II & III, the Sea Pictures with Dame Janet Baker, and an incandescent Nielsen IV.

If you're curious, some of his better recordings have been issued in the box pictured below:

Image

Belle
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Re: Sir John Barbirolli

Post by Belle » Wed Apr 24, 2019 5:09 pm

John F wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 11:50 am
Belle wrote:I would appreciate some advice on what criteria could be used to assess how a recording fits in the category of "great". I'm sure to be asked this question. Superlative playing, taut and imaginative conducting, frisson between soloist and orchestra....what else? Help please.
Your audience will decide for itself whether what you play for them counts as great. If they ask for your reasons, your answer will depend on what you play and why you chose it.

My own choices have historical significance beyond their intrinsic quality. For example, Strauss dedicated "Ein Heldenleben" to Mengelberg, whose freedom of interpretation - quite unlike Strauss's own recordings - is also unlike anything a present-day conductor would dare to do. There was a special connection between Shostakovich and the original Borodin String Quartet, whose players are not the same as in the quartet led by Mikhail Kopelman; Rostislav Dubinsky's "Stormy Applause: Making Music in a Worker's State" provides much to say in that line. Wanda Landowska brought the harpsichord back from the dead and was the most famous as well as the most persuasive of the early Historically Informed performers. And so on.
Thanks for all this and, of course, the comments of others. Much to chew on in the coming days. With all your posted examples I'm thinking I might take my iPhone in with me as there is a cord which connects to the TV and sound system and I can play excerpts I choose from those posted here; that way I don't have to use only my own CDs. I'll find out next week if that's definitely an option but I'm nearly sure others have done this in past years. That will make things MUCH easier and our technical man will advise me next week (but I will have to take care with the battery levels on the iPhone!).

I liked the Shostakovich 5, the Sibelius 2 which were posted here and will hunt for the Heifetz/Beecham Sibelius VC. I have Boult's "Enigma Variations" on the same CD as "The Planets" under EMI "Great Recordings of the Century", but am unsure whether this is essentially a marketing ploy.

It would be extremely useful to also focus on critically and unanimously accepted "great" recordings, but this will require research. I do prefer to have quotes and authority figures at my fingertips when talking to our group.

Len_Z
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Re: Sir John Barbirolli

Post by Len_Z » Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:22 pm

maestrob wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 12:16 pm
To get back to your question, Len Z, MHO is that Barbirolli was inconsistent as a conductor. While it's true that his Mahler VI is extraordinary (perhaps a bit slow in the opening movement, at least the tempo primo), his Otello is quite awful, and a live Mahler VII I've heard on BBC label is quite a mess. He did not receive good reviews as conductor here in NY when he took over from Toscanini. Frankly, I don't know his recordings in depth, but I can recommend his Vaughan-Williams II & III, the Sea Pictures with Dame Janet Baker, and an incandescent Nielsen IV.

If you're curious, some of his better recordings have been issued in the box pictured below:

Image
Thanks a lot! I will definitely acquire these recordings and give them a spin.

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Re: Sir John Barbirolli

Post by John F » Thu Apr 25, 2019 1:34 am

Belle wrote:It would be extremely useful to also focus on critically and unanimously accepted "great" recordings, but this will require research. I do prefer to have quotes and authority figures at my fingertips when talking to our group.
There are no such authorities on this topic. Sorry! Now and then you'll come across a "top 10" list from WQXR or BBC Music, claiming to be based on authoritative opinion, but as you've probably seen, the CMG members don't think much of these lists and more often than not mock them. If any in your group ask "on whose authority," you can answer: "My own." :) It's not a useful question anyway. If the recordings you play don't persuade the group of their greatness, simply from listening, then no outside opinion would change their minds, nor should it. You'll be on the spot, and if you're uncomfortable with that, maybe you should think about some other topic on which you can cite authorities.

Another great recording (and who's to say it isn't) :

Chopin: Barcarolle. Dinu Lipatti, pianist, 1948.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fuoJVB-waC4
John Francis

Belle
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Re: Sir John Barbirolli

Post by Belle » Thu Apr 25, 2019 2:29 am

I absolutely hear what you're saying and I think you're right; I need to have more confidence in discussing these things. In the old days I'd have the "Gramophone" and "Fanfare" to help me out but the former (at least) seems to have gone to the dogs (and in this case it isn't the dogs that died!). But you can bet somebody in the group will ask why the recordings are regarded as "great"!!

The Lipatti is wonderful and I'm listening on my Android as I write this. Rather serendipitously today I found an attachment for my Android under a couch in my music room which I can use to connect to the TV at our music group. My husband has been painting and moved the furniture and there it was!! The gadget must have been mislaid there by one of my sons on a visit - anyway, it's just what I need!!

Today I listened to the 1972 Boult recording of "Enigma" as well as the later recording of "The Planets" (on the same CD, though generally not a favourite work of mine). These are superlative performances that shimmer. I listened carefully and could hear all the parts and the orchestra was incandescent. It responded with sudden drops to pp as though it were a single instrument. I will certainly be using excerpts from this recording.

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Re: Sir John Barbirolli

Post by John F » Thu Apr 25, 2019 6:12 am

Belle wrote:you can bet somebody in the group will ask why the recordings are regarded as "great"!!
There's always a troublemaker, isn't there? :) Just as there will always be somebody who asks why the Eroica Symphony is regarded as great. If you like, you can answer with why you think the recording is great, and ask the questioner what he/she thinks of it. Convert the challenge into a discussion.

Here in CMG, you may have noticed that maestrob and I have somewhat different criteria. We would probably agree that Toscanini's New York Philharmonic recording of Beethoven 7 is great, but I think highly of many of Furtwängler's recordings of Beethoven and Brahms, while I believe maestrob would say that they're terrible. If that sounds like it's a matter of taste, yes, it is. What else could it be?

So maybe you can disarm the audience by saying at the outset that the recordings you have chosen as great reflect your and others' judgment but that opinions can and do differ. If you're prepared to justify each choice, as I certainly could of the ones I've posted here, that's all anyone could properly ask of you.
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maestrob
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Re: Sir John Barbirolli

Post by maestrob » Thu Apr 25, 2019 10:31 am

Belle....

You could always cite CMG as your authority! :mrgreen: :lol:

If you have a copy of the Penguin Guide in your library, you could then find those discs that have a Rosette attached to them, and use some examples.

Also, Boult's earlier stereo analog recording of The Planets for EMI (with the New Philharmonia Orchestra Abbey Road Studios 1974) is far superior to his digital one (1979?), which to my ears sound old and tired. Perhaps you have the LP, although it was issued briefly on CD in 1998. It's electrifying, with every note in place and full of Boult's vital energy.

Belle
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Re: Sir John Barbirolli

Post by Belle » Thu Apr 25, 2019 3:46 pm

I don't have the Penguin Guide but it would be useful to have it anyway. Doubtless it's been some time since it was last published? And I don't own any LPs these days.

This is the recording I have of "The Planets" and "Enigma", which sounds fine to my ears!

https://www.amazon.com.au/Holst-Planets ... sic&sr=1-5

Belle
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Re: Sir John Barbirolli

Post by Belle » Thu Apr 25, 2019 3:51 pm

John F wrote:
Thu Apr 25, 2019 6:12 am
Belle wrote:you can bet somebody in the group will ask why the recordings are regarded as "great"!!
There's always a troublemaker, isn't there? :) Just as there will always be somebody who asks why the Eroica Symphony is regarded as great. If you like, you can answer with why you think the recording is great, and ask the questioner what he/she thinks of it. Convert the challenge into a discussion.

Here in CMG, you may have noticed that maestrob and I have somewhat different criteria. We would probably agree that Toscanini's New York Philharmonic recording of Beethoven 7 is great, but I think highly of many of Furtwängler's recordings of Beethoven and Brahms, while I believe maestrob would say that they're terrible. If that sounds like it's a matter of taste, yes, it is. What else could it be?

So maybe you can disarm the audience by saying at the outset that the recordings you have chosen as great reflect your and others' judgment but that opinions can and do differ. If you're prepared to justify each choice, as I certainly could of the ones I've posted here, that's all anyone could properly ask of you.
I had some friends here over Easter and some were from our music group; we actually did laugh about the 'trouble-maker' who asks those questions!!

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Re: Sir John Barbirolli

Post by maestrob » Sat Apr 27, 2019 11:52 am

Belle wrote:
Thu Apr 25, 2019 3:46 pm
I don't have the Penguin Guide but it would be useful to have it anyway. Doubtless it's been some time since it was last published? And I don't own any LPs these days.

This is the recording I have of "The Planets" and "Enigma", which sounds fine to my ears!

https://www.amazon.com.au/Holst-Planets ... sic&sr=1-5
Yes, that was Sir Adrian's last recording of the work, which, to my ears, lacks the fire and discipline of his earlier analog version with the New Philharmonia, which is hard to find at the moment (There are 2 used copies on offer at American amazon as I write this.).

Image

Heck148
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Re: Sir John Barbirolli

Post by Heck148 » Mon Apr 29, 2019 10:16 am

One of my favorite Barbirolli discs is his Sibelius works with Halle Orchestra [EMI 1/66] - the "Karelia" Suite ,and "Leminkainen's Return" are real highlights...
Halle was perhaps not the greatest orchestra, but they are good, and Sir John has them playing with great panache, bravura, on this disc....
The high-stepping swagger and strut of the Karelia "Alla Marcia" is most effective, and the aggressive, hyper-alert playing in the Leminkainen Return is really gripping...Halle just jumping on the syncopations and interjections is really rousing...
fine Finlandia, and a warm, very lovely Valse Triste are included as well...
Great disc to play if you are in a down, crappy mood...very uplifting!!

One of my favorite stories of Sir John occurred during WWI, when he served in the British Army....in his unit the lead NCO was a big, brawny Irish sergeant major - who was convinced that Sir John's name was "Bob O'Reilly" - as in, "O'Reilly - get over here", "O'Reilly, front and center"....etc....etc...The Sarge was so glad to have a true Irishman in his unit!! :lol: :lol:
A couple of Barbirolli's buddies went to the sergeant, and tried to correct him, that the name was actually <Barbirolli, John being the given name>
the sergeant responded - <<What??!! are you crazy?? trying to tell me O'Reilly's name isn't O'Reilly??!! O'Reilly, get over here, front and center!! - these guys say your name isn't O'Reilly...are they nuts??!!>>
Sir John remained "Bob O'Reilly" for the duration.... :roll: :? :lol:

Belle
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Re: Sir John Barbirolli

Post by Belle » Mon Apr 29, 2019 12:33 pm

Excellent anecdote.

I did have that recording of which you speak on LP - but it was discarded when warped (along with many others) after being left in the car in the summer heat when we moved out of Sydney in November, 1979. Just over 3 years later along came CDs so I was able to resume talking to my husband!!! :mrgreen:

You've provided me with some excellent clues about how I might discuss great recordings!! :D

maestrob
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Re: Sir John Barbirolli

Post by maestrob » Mon Apr 29, 2019 12:53 pm

Heck148 wrote:
Mon Apr 29, 2019 10:16 am
One of my favorite Barbirolli discs is his Sibelius works with Halle Orchestra [EMI 1/66] - the "Karelia" Suite ,and "Leminkainen's Return" are real highlights...
Halle was perhaps not the greatest orchestra, but they are good, and Sir John has them playing with great panache, bravura, on this disc....
The high-stepping swagger and strut of the Karelia "Alla Marcia" is most effective, and the aggressive, hyper-alert playing in the Leminkainen Return is really gripping...Halle just jumping on the syncopations and interjections is really rousing...
fine Finlandia, and a warm, very lovely Valse Triste are included as well...
Great disc to play if you are in a down, crappy mood...very uplifting!!

One of my favorite stories of Sir John occurred during WWI, when he served in the British Army....in his unit the lead NCO was a big, brawny Irish sergeant major - who was convinced that Sir John's name was "Bob O'Reilly" - as in, "O'Reilly - get over here", "O'Reilly, front and center"....etc....etc...The Sarge was so glad to have a true Irishman in his unit!! :lol: :lol:
A couple of Barbirolli's buddies went to the sergeant, and tried to correct him, that the name was actually <Barbirolli, John being the given name>
the sergeant responded - <<What??!! are you crazy?? trying to tell me O'Reilly's name isn't O'Reilly??!! O'Reilly, get over here, front and center!! - these guys say your name isn't O'Reilly...are they nuts??!!>>
Sir John remained "Bob O'Reilly" for the duration.... :roll: :? :lol:
Thanks, Heck148 for that! You made my day! :lol:

Heck148
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Re: Sir John Barbirolli

Post by Heck148 » Tue Apr 30, 2019 11:07 am

Sir John Barbirolli was quite popular with musicians...I had a good friend, violinist, who played with him in Houston...he loved Sir John, and had great respect for him.
Barbirolli, child of Italian father, French mother, was born in London and grew up there...
Sir John was very fluent in at least 3 languages - Italian, spoken at home, and the King's English, from his education....he was also most fluent in Cockney English....
At rehearsals, he would sometimes become frustrated if he didn't get what he wanted, and, to the delight of his musicians, the King's English would shift into the raunchiest, most strident and colorful tirade of Cockney insults and slurs imaginable...this was not directed at any particular musician, but more of a general commentary...the musicians loved it, they could hardly wait for the juiciest pearls of Cockney "eloquence" to pour forth!! :lol: :lol:
Quickly, Sir John would regain his composure, revert to the finest King's English and rehearsal would proceed!!

Belle
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Re: Sir John Barbirolli

Post by Belle » Tue Apr 30, 2019 11:27 am

Are you sure his name wasn't Sir John Falstaff? :D

maestrob
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Re: Sir John Barbirolli

Post by maestrob » Tue Apr 30, 2019 11:39 am

Love it! :lol:

Barbirolli did make some fine recordings for EMI with his Halle Orchestra and others: I've ordered the EMI box set pictured above in another post and look forward to exploring that repertoire. Thanks for the stories Heck148: always love to hear good gossip! It's what makes this site so interesting! 8)

What I've got in my collection off the top of my head:

Sea Pictures w/Dame Janet Baker.
Nielsen Symphony IV
Vaughan-Williams Symphonies II & V
Mahler VI
Mahler V

All excellent.

Mahler VII (live BBC) Quite a dud! Messy playing, poor tempi, sounds like a first read-through! How did this happen? :roll:

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Re: Sir John Barbirolli

Post by Lance » Tue Apr 30, 2019 10:39 pm

Discussing most favourite recordings by Barbirolli is difficult. I have so much with him on CDs (and/or LPs). But among the ones that immediately stand out are his complete orchestral recordings by Sibelius, and particularly the huge number of collaborations with great artists of the past such as Edwin Fischer, Artur Rubinstien, Heifetz, and especially anything he recorded with Dame Janet Baker. There are so many others, both historical- and more current recordings from the LP era. Dutton produced a large number of CDs especially with NYP recordings that I thought were outstanding with sound that goes well beyond the age of the recordings.
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Re: Sir John Barbirolli

Post by John F » Wed May 01, 2019 3:23 am

A particularly beautiful record is the Mahler Gesellenlieder and Kindertotenlieder, plus "Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen," with Janet Baker and Barbirolli with the Halle Orchestra. EMI recorded all of the Ruckert Lieder with the New Philharmonia Orchestra but the special magic of the earlier recording of "Ich bin der Welt" isn't there.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6GrKCBYlwBU

The wind players of the Halle really distinguish themselves.
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Re: Sir John Barbirolli

Post by maestrob » Wed May 01, 2019 12:58 pm

Extraordinary singing and playing. This is from one of my desert island discs, which I haven't played in some time. Thanks for posting that, John. :D

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Re: Sir John Barbirolli

Post by Belle » Thu May 02, 2019 1:39 am

jserraglio, thanks so much for those priceless recordings you've provided here. I will use the Poulenc with Madam Crespin, for sure, and will go through the others. I've found a way to connect my little bluetooth speaker to my Android!! (I just need to find out how to queue the pieces so I don't have to type all into U-Tube each time). Am having trouble finding the Poulenc on U-Tube on my Android. "Dialogues" is not an opera I'm familiar with at all. I'm always caught by the paradox of the title.

Regine Crespin's voice was ABSOLUTELY UNBELIEVABLE. I'm sure my audience will be blown away with these recordings!!! Thanks a milllion.

And, of course, thanks to JohnF and others who've offered recommendations.

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Re: Sir John Barbirolli

Post by John F » Thu May 02, 2019 2:17 am

In the EMI recording of "Dialogues" Crespin sings the new prioress, Madame Lidoine. Her address to the nuns is here:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vHY0nrWZrek

Not a show-stopper by any means and it runs 9 minutes. (Poulenc preferred Denise Duval for his principal soprano parts.)

By the way, the Janet Baker recording of Mahler's Ruckert song is surely a great recording by any standards. And it's short. :)
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Re: Sir John Barbirolli

Post by Belle » Thu May 02, 2019 2:33 am

Thanks, John, and I'll check out the Janet Baker - one of my favourite singers. Right now I'm listening to the Barbirolli "Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis" which jserraglio posted. I have goose bumps and it is particularly timely because today our Christchurch Cathedral organist and master of the choristers presented a lecture on "The Sacred Choral Music of William Byrd". Surely the Vaughan Williams is one of the great masterpieces of the 20th century!

I'm sure I'll have our group overcome next Thursday with this session of "Great Recordings". I tell them all about CMG and my expert confreres here; this has them intrigued. Clandestinity!! :lol:

Regine Crespin!! I can't say enough about her; there's something shattering about her voice. Laser accurate pitch and emotion and depth in spades.

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Re: Sir John Barbirolli

Post by John F » Thu May 02, 2019 6:08 am

Do tell us how it went - what you played and how the group responded. Here's hoping they're worthy of it! :)
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Re: Sir John Barbirolli

Post by Belle » Thu May 02, 2019 6:43 am

John F wrote:
Thu May 02, 2019 6:08 am
Do tell us how it went - what you played and how the group responded. Here's hoping they're worthy of it! :)
There are half a dozen really hardcore music connoisseurs who will ADORE it. The rest are mostly a very loyal core group who've been with us for some years now. And we attract academics and musicians from the region because we have serious credibility in our city (pop; 500,000). Today one of my friends there suggested more people would participate in lecturing if I did some 'market research' and sent around a form attempting to identify the musical interests of the group and that perhaps 2 or more could collaborate on a topic because 'most of us are intimidated by the experts in the group'! I'm wary because I've worked terribly hard, along with my predecessor, to raise the standard. Next year we will look for a larger venue, possibly returning to the newly refurbished university conservatorium theatrette.

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Re: Sir John Barbirolli

Post by John F » Thu May 02, 2019 9:34 am

If you'd like to give your program some kind of objective, even scholarly aspect, one way to do that would be to provide basic information about the recording. For example:

Beethoven: Symphony No. 7. Arturo Toscanini conducting the New York Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra. Recorded by RCA Victor in Carnegie Hall, New York, on April 9-10, 1936.

Some recordings provide at least some of this information in their packaging but most don't. However, there are ways of finding it out, and if you can provide us with your play list or at least some of it this weekend, we can have a go.
John Francis

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Re: Sir John Barbirolli

Post by Belle » Thu May 02, 2019 5:38 pm

John F wrote:
Thu May 02, 2019 9:34 am
If you'd like to give your program some kind of objective, even scholarly aspect, one way to do that would be to provide basic information about the recording. For example:

Beethoven: Symphony No. 7. Arturo Toscanini conducting the New York Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra. Recorded by RCA Victor in Carnegie Hall, New York, on April 9-10, 1936.

Some recordings provide at least some of this information in their packaging but most don't. However, there are ways of finding it out, and if you can provide us with your play list or at least some of it this weekend, we can have a go.
Thanks, John. I'll probably not be able to provide that list until the 11th hour as I have multiple (doctors') appointments next week and am already running out of time. Right now I'm trying to find the cue function on my Android so that I can set the system going. Of course, I'll also have CDs. But I wonder if you can nominate the best of Barbirolli; just a couple of performances as time is an issue.

We always provide our audience with detailed hand-outs about the programs we do - opera synopses, lecture notes, biographical and historical information as well as technical musical explanations. Yesterday's presenter is offering his scripted notes, references and citations. (He has just started a music school at the cathedral, with one of our presenters from last year, for students who are in advanced high school and want to prepare for the university conservatorium. He told me they already had 6 very high quality music students to start.)

Most of our audience - 80% of them - are retired professionals like pharmacists, architects, doctors, psychologists, accountants, teachers, university lecturers, musicians and singers. Unless we keep the bar very high we might lose them. Quite the reverse is happening at the moment. Every year we have 2 or 3 people start with us who are expecting our sessions to be about 'relaxing music' and they soon turn tail and run!! I recruited two lecturers a few weeks ago from a music festival fund-raiser. Both said they knew about our course and are happy to oblige. One is a composer (and lawyer) and the other a university lecturer and singer who comparatively recently earned her PhD. (I'm just about to email the completed second semester program to our committee, actually.)

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Re: Sir John Barbirolli

Post by John F » Fri May 03, 2019 12:45 am

Belle wrote:I wonder if you can nominate the best of Barbirolli; just a couple of performances as time is an issue.
You already have my nomination:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6GrKCBYlwBU

In an hour or two-hour program of great recordings, Barbirolli is not a conductor I'd feature - a fine one, certainly, but fine conductors are many, great conductors are few, and for me Barbirolli isn't one of them. You have an abundance of nominated great recordings in this thread, some by me and many by other members, and of course choices of your own. You can put together a strong program just picking from these, if you've listened to them.
John Francis

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Re: Sir John Barbirolli

Post by Belle » Fri May 03, 2019 12:50 am

Yes, of course; I'm on overload and on a short time limitation before next Thursday. And, thanks, yes I have been listening to the suggestions here. Our "tech" man has been emailing me about getting most of the program through my Android.

I can play "I am Lost to the World". Will be using Regine Crespin as well as Victoria de Los Angeles/Jussi Bjorling in Beecham's "La Boheme". Not too much opera. "Asie" from "Scheherazade", coming hard on the heels of the Poulenc "Dialogues Des Carmelites", should please!! As will Janet Baker's "Sea Pictures" with Barbirolli.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QGhcPl51L7c

Still considering orchestral/concerto/sonatas.

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Re: Sir John Barbirolli

Post by barney » Fri May 03, 2019 8:36 am

Belle wrote:
Mon Apr 29, 2019 12:33 pm
Excellent anecdote.

I did have that recording of which you speak on LP - but it was discarded when warped (along with many others) after being left in the car in the summer heat when we moved out of Sydney in November, 1979. Just over 3 years later along came CDs so I was able to resume talking to my husband!!! :mrgreen:

You've provided me with some excellent clues about how I might discuss great recordings!! :D
Belle you remind me of a great cartoon - New Yorker? Two grizzled Irishmen in the pub, pints of Guiness clutched in hand. The first laments, "my wife hasn't spoken to me in 15 years." "Ah," sighs the other, "a good woman like that is hard to find!"
I agree with other posters that Barbirolli's collaboration with Janet Baker was magical.

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Re: Sir John Barbirolli

Post by maestrob » Fri May 03, 2019 10:11 am

Belle wrote:
Fri May 03, 2019 12:50 am
Yes, of course; I'm on overload and on a short time limitation before next Thursday. And, thanks, yes I have been listening to the suggestions here. Our "tech" man has been emailing me about getting most of the program through my Android.

I can play "I am Lost to the World". Will be using Regine Crespin as well as Victoria de Los Angeles/Jussi Bjorling in Beecham's "La Boheme". Not too much opera. "Asie" from "Scheherazade", coming hard on the heels of the Poulenc "Dialogues Des Carmelites", should please!! As will Janet Baker's "Sea Pictures" with Barbirolli.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QGhcPl51L7c

Still considering orchestral/concerto/sonatas.
Excellent choices for vocal music, Belle!

Now, for orchestral, please reference my list above, with the addition of an excerpt from Elgar's own recordings of his two symphonies for EMI. Jacqueline Dupre's Elgar Cello Concerto might go over well, at least the opening movement, conducted by Barbirolli on EMI/Warner (Coupled with Sea Pictures on my EMI CD).

For piano solo, I would suggest selections from Gieseking's Debussy, and Cortot's 1930's Chopin, as well as Brendel's Beethoven sonatas (on Phillips, not Vox), the analog set. This just off the top of my head. An excerpt from Kempff's Schubert Sonatas belongs here as well.

For concerti, I would recommend definitely the Romance from Chopin's first concerto played by Guiomar Novaes: you won't find a more sublime interpretation, even by Rubinstein (on Vox). Also the Adagio from Beethoven's Emperor Concerto, with Van Cliburn/Reiner on RCA/Sony. Then, for contrast, why not plug in the third movement of Shostakovich's own recording of his Piano Concerto I or II on EMI, both extremely exciting! Then, for violin, you could offer an excerpt from Heifetz/Brahms with Reiner/Chicago, or the beautiful melody in the 2nd movement of Prokofiev's 2nd Violin Concerto (Ormandy/Stern/Philadelphia (CBS/Sony)).

I've tried to be more specific with the recommendations above because your listening time is now limited. Good luck with your doctors' appointments!

So much music, so little time! 8)

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Re: Sir John Barbirolli

Post by Belle » Fri May 03, 2019 5:27 pm

Thanks so much for your excellent recommendations! I won't play Beethoven sonatas because my final program on the late Beethoven sonatas is only next month and we have program on Beethoven next week. He really is the composer of the moment. Always. And why not?

I'm trying to find a translation of the aria from "Dialogues des Carmelites", Act 3, Scene 3, "My daughters...". Would like to print that out so they can understand what Madam Crespin is singing.

(I've been having hearing problems and my left ear gave up for 24 hours last week. Not for the first time. I told my doctor friend "if I lose my hearing I'm driving my car over a cliff; my husband won't like this because it's a very good car"!!)

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Re: Sir John Barbirolli

Post by John F » Sat May 04, 2019 3:57 am

I can't find a libretto for "Carmelites" online. What I have found is a video of Joan Sutherland singing "My daughters, I wanted to save you" in English. Unfortunately that's not much help as her diction is so poor that the words don't come through. But for what it's worth:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rLBYXKIL2lI

(This is from a performance in English by what's now called Opera Australia - Poulenc wanted this opera sung in the audience's language. The English-language version by Joseph Machlis, used by the Metropolitan Opera, has been published and may be in a library accessible to you, or it may not. :( )
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Re: Sir John Barbirolli

Post by maestrob » Sat May 04, 2019 10:47 am

Belle wrote:
Fri May 03, 2019 5:27 pm
Thanks so much for your excellent recommendations! I won't play Beethoven sonatas because my final program on the late Beethoven sonatas is only next month and we have program on Beethoven next week. He really is the composer of the moment. Always. And why not?

I'm trying to find a translation of the aria from "Dialogues des Carmelites", Act 3, Scene 3, "My daughters...". Would like to print that out so they can understand what Madam Crespin is singing.

(I've been having hearing problems and my left ear gave up for 24 hours last week. Not for the first time. I told my doctor friend "if I lose my hearing I'm driving my car over a cliff; my husband won't like this because it's a very good car"!!)
I, too, have some slight ringing in my ears, and pray that it won't get worse. I don't have a car to drive over a cliff, but the impulse is understandable! Do keep us posted on the results of your talk! I, for one, would love to know what repertoire you choose!

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Re: Sir John Barbirolli

Post by Belle » Sat May 04, 2019 5:16 pm

Thanks for your good wishes. The pressure is ramping up because my program is this Thursday.

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Re: Sir John Barbirolli

Post by barney » Sat May 04, 2019 5:41 pm

Belle wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 5:16 pm
Thanks for your good wishes. The pressure is ramping up because my program is this Thursday.
Ah plenty of time. You will doubtless start preparing on Wednesday afternoon? Or don't prepare any comments, just questions, leaving the work to the audience... :D

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Re: Sir John Barbirolli

Post by Belle » Sat May 04, 2019 5:44 pm

I've been doing quite a bit each day but the pressure will ramp up by Wednesday, yes!! :D Isn't it strange; when you have something pressing of an intellectual nature to perform the ironing or the gardening suddenly looks attractive!! Even cleaning the house!! My 66y/o sister has just started a Law degree and she's not yet at the "oh, I must do the ironing" stage!! It's still a novelty. :lol:

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Re: Sir John Barbirolli

Post by John F » Sun May 05, 2019 2:37 am

Possibly late in the day to still be making suggestions, but courtesy of a New Yorker article by Alex Ross that I posted in a different thread, here's Beethoven's Coriolan overture in an electrifyingly dramatic performance by the Berlin Philharmonic conducted by Furtwangler in 1943.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7x8jwzA274

Like many of Furtwangler's wartime performances, especially in Berlin, this is has an intensity beyond what he achieved in less dangerous times. There's another Furtwangler Coriolan on YouTube, with a different orchestra (Vienna Philharmonic) in a different city (Munich) at a different time (1951), and while the interpretation is essentially the same, the fire has died down.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ab4pHsj33OA

Another instructive comparison is with Toscanini in 1953:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jCQj9_ubAvc

This could spark a discussion in your group of the comparative merits of these two conductors who, between them, defined the poles of musical interpretation during their time, and to a large extent (HIP aside) still do today. For me, Toscanini's fast tempo and lighter texture diminish the music, though I know of at least one CMG member who may take a different view.
John Francis

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