Sir John Barbirolli

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John F
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Re: Sir John Barbirolli

Post by John F » Sun May 05, 2019 4:40 am

Belle wrote:
Fri May 03, 2019 5:27 pm
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.
Just remembered that I have the EMI recording. Which of Mme. Lidoine's long solos in Act 3 do you want, "Mes filles, voila que s'acheve notre premiere nuit de prison" or "Mes filles, j'ai desire de tout mon coeur vous sauver"?
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Belle
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Re: Sir John Barbirolli

Post by Belle » Sun May 05, 2019 5:04 am

Thanks so much, John, but I found a translation of Act 3, Scene 3 of "Dialogues" on the liner notes photographed on the net as part of a booklet for a CD. It was hard to read the writing but I've done it. Have been hard at this all afternoon and have mostly completed the first half of the session's recordings, thus (will have to double check the dates):

"Dialogues Des Carmelites" -"You sisters, we have almost come...", Paris National Opera/Dervaux/Crespin 1958
"Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen" - Halle Orchestra/Barbirolli/Baker (your recommendation), 1968
"Sheherazade: Asie", Suisse Romande/Ansermet/Crespin
"Sheherazade: The Sea and Sinbad's Ship" Royal Philharmonic/Beecham (1958)
"La Boheme" - Che Gelida Manina" (yes, a cliche I know, but they'll love it!) RCA Victor Orchestra/Beecham/Bjorling/de Los Angeles (1956)
"Sea Pictures: Where Corals Lie" LSO/Barbirolli/Baker 1965
"Porgy and Bess: My Man's Gone Now", LSO/Glyndebourne Chorus/Rattle/Haymon 1989

I am providing handouts with all translations, timings, dates and bio information so that I don't have to talk and can spend all the time having us listen to the music. I'm thinking Cortot's Chopin Impromptus 1 and 2 (1934) - Alfred Brendel raves about these; Bach D Minor "Piano Concerto" BWV1052 with USSR Symphony Orch/Sanderling/Richter (3rd movement) - cannot find the date, but the 1950s, Rachmaninov 2nd Piano Concerto, 1st Movt. Warsaw/Rowiki/Richter (need to find the date). If I've got time:
Brahms Symphony 4, 1st Movement, VPO/Kleiber OR Brahms Piano Concerto #2 Movt. 4, VPO/Knappertsbusch/Curzon (1958) OR Richter Sofia Recital 1958 "Pictures at an Exhibition" (not all of it, of course). Obviously 1958 was a big year and, co-incidentally, that's the year when my classical music listening really got started!! The strange thing is that I have so few memories of those years, except the pieces of music I was listening to!!!

The second half is really still a work in progress. Many thanks to all of you and your invaluable help and advice. :D

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Re: Sir John Barbirolli

Post by John F » Sun May 05, 2019 6:01 am

That looks great. Putting in my oar again, if you're going to play any of Cortot's Chopin (I certainly would), how about the Fantasy op. 49? The 1933 His Master's Voice recording, not the 1952 remake.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=maIopk7FSN4

Richter's studio recording of the Bach concerto with the USSR State Symphony Orchestra was made in Moscow on April 22, 1955 by the state record label Mezhdunarodnaya Kniga, later Melodiya. There's also a live recording with the same forces on March 6, 1957 on an SMC cd, but I doubt that's what you have. The DG recording of the Rachmaninoff 2nd concerto with Stanislav Wislocki (not Rowicki) dates from April 26-8, 1959.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1E5nLXi ... EFVY6/view

Richter's performance of "Pictures" in Sofia is some of the greatest piano playing I've ever heard. He takes enormous risks, some of what he does sounds impossible, and he brings them off. The recital was on February 24, 1958. You mmight play the last two movements, "The Hut on Fowl's Legs" and "The Great Gate of Kiev."

I may be able to come up with the recording date of Curzon/Knappertsbusch but the only discographies online, of Curzon and Knappertsbusch, give a date of 1957 - probably the publication date as Kna died in October 1955. Since they performed the concerto in Vienna in July 1955, Decca may have made their studio recording at about that time.
Last edited by John F on Sun May 05, 2019 11:08 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Sir John Barbirolli

Post by John F » Sun May 05, 2019 6:54 am

Some more discographic info.

Beecham's "Sheherezade" with the Royal Philharmonic was recorded by EMI in Kingsway Hall, London, on March 17-19 and in the Salle Wagram, Paris, on October 10, 1957. The violin solos were played by the orchestra's concertmaster Steven Staryk. It was done in monaural sound only; EMI was very late to make stereo recordings.

(At that time Beecham was residing in Paris for 6 months every year to avoid British taxes. EMI sent the Royal Philharmonic there to record with him; the "Sheherezade" session was probably for corrections to patch the London-made recording.)

The Beecham "La Boheme" was recorded by RCA Victor in the Manhattan Center, New York on March 16-17 and April 1-3 & 5-6, 1956. It's a monaural recording; any releases claimed to be stereo are simulated.

"Porgy and Bess," conducted by Simon Rattle, was recorded by EMI in Abbey Road Studio 1, London, in February 1988.

Janet Baker's "Sea Pictures" was recorded by EMI in Abbey Road Studio 1 on August 30, 1965. I don't have a recording date for the Mahler, which was released by EMI in February 1968 and so was probably recorded in late 1967.

"Carmelites" was recorded by EMI with the cast of the French premiere which took place on June 21, 1957, probably during that run of performances or soon after. The only difference is that Paul Finel replaced Jean Giraudeau as the Chevalier de la Force. It would have been hard or impossible to put together the same 16 solo singers at any other time. So you can give the recording date as June-July 1957, not 1958.

I've no date for Crespin's Ravel recording, which was published by Decca (US label: London) in February 1964 and therefore probably recorded in late 1963.
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Belle
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Re: Sir John Barbirolli

Post by Belle » Sun May 05, 2019 8:49 pm

Absolutely brilliant suggestions and, once again, I thank you for them. The additional information you provided, I'll put onto the handouts. They'll have a lot of reading so that I can play a lot of music!!!

The Cortot Chopin Fantasy is a little too long to squeeze into the program, unfortunately. I can easily program another next year where I can present "Great Pianists of the 20th Century". I don't have a CD of the Chopin, but can take it from U-Tube as I've more or less worked out how to do it. Our tech man will grimace (he already has) because he believes music should only really be heard on top quality speakers and sound equipment!!!

I became confused with Witold Rowicki! Between that conductor and Wislocki and my Polish GP - I'm absolutely "Polish-ed" out!! :mrgreen:

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Re: Sir John Barbirolli

Post by John F » Mon May 06, 2019 12:49 am

Of course what you play is up to you, and while I'm sure your audience won't complain about an extra few minutes of Cortot's Chopin, in a far greater work than any of the impromptus, you know best.

Good luck with your show, and as I said, do tell us about how it went.
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maestrob
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Re: Sir John Barbirolli

Post by maestrob » Mon May 06, 2019 11:08 am

Yes, Belle, bonne chance with your presentation! Incidentally, the Nuits d'Ete that you're using with Crespin is conducted by Ansermet, no?....as is the Sheherezade? Those were released in the 1960's on London (Decca to you!), and are still my favorite incarnation of both works. For reasons I've given before, Le spectre de la rose is the piece that touches my heart most, but your choice is fine as well.

Would love to know the final program sequence when you've got it ready. :D

Finally, is there no way you can hook up your computer's audio output to a high-fidelity system? All it would take is a very simple connector which your tech person should be able to supply...... :roll:

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Re: Sir John Barbirolli

Post by John F » Mon May 06, 2019 4:22 pm

A little more information. The Mahler song with Janet Baker and John Barbirolli was recorded in May 1967. My source doesn't name the recording venue, whether in Manchester, the Halle Orchestra's home town, or in London; maybe I can find out, probably not.
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Belle
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Re: Sir John Barbirolli

Post by Belle » Mon May 06, 2019 5:57 pm

maestrob wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 11:08 am
Yes, Belle, bonne chance with your presentation! Incidentally, the Nuits d'Ete that you're using with Crespin is conducted by Ansermet, no?....as is the Sheherezade? Those were released in the 1960's on London (Decca to you!), and are still my favorite incarnation of both works. For reasons I've given before, Le spectre de la rose is the piece that touches my heart most, but your choice is fine as well.

Would love to know the final program sequence when you've got it ready. :D

Finally, is there no way you can hook up your computer's audio output to a high-fidelity system? All it would take is a very simple connector which your tech person should be able to supply...... :roll:
All of the recordings are my own on CD, except for the Poulenc and the Mahler - which come come via U-Tube. Those 2 will come via a bluetooth speaker which sounds pretty good, and the rest via the Hi-Fi. I have to make sure I 'background' the phone so I don't get a call!! The 'Sheherazade' is the Beecham recording and, though it isn't a favourite work of mine especially, the surging violins in the opening movement (Sinbad and the Ship) and the fabulous ensemble playing means that it's a 'must hear'. I am choosing works which are pretty well known as I want them to listen to the playing and interpretation rather than hearing a work many of them don't know well or at all.

Belle
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Re: Sir John Barbirolli

Post by Belle » Mon May 06, 2019 6:03 pm

John F wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 4:22 pm
A little more information. The Mahler song with Janet Baker and John Barbirolli was recorded in May 1967. My source doesn't name the recording venue, whether in Manchester, the Halle Orchestra's home town, or in London; maybe I can find out, probably not.
Thanks, John. I am providing translations of the sung material - except "Boheme", which everybody knows.

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Re: Sir John Barbirolli

Post by barney » Wed May 08, 2019 6:36 pm

So it's today Belle. All the very best with it. :D

Belle
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Re: Sir John Barbirolli

Post by Belle » Wed May 08, 2019 10:57 pm

barney wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 6:36 pm
So it's today Belle. All the very best with it. :D
Thanks; I just got home. They loved the program and came up to speak to me about it during the break and afterwards. Our 'tech' man said the Beecham "Sheherazade" is one of the best recordings he's heard because of the warmth of the sound which is reminiscent of the concert hall!! I had to drop 2 small items to field some questions. One regular brought 2 extra people along (friends) because 'I wanted them to hear your presentation'!

One said 'that's the best Rach #2 I've ever heard; the Warsaw Phil/Richter recording; First movement. Afterwards I said "it's the only time I listen to that work and don't think of Tom Ewell and Marilyn Monroe from 'Seven Year Itch'.....

"is that what they call classical music?"....
'yes'....
"I thought so because there was no vocal"!!!

One of our regulars - a musicologist - observed that most of the recordings I'd chosen were from the mid-50s to mid-60s, a time when very little serious music was being composed but that there was an explosion of popular music and jazz. I said that perhaps it was post-war conservatism, but that I felt there were composers out there doing things (Copland, Carter, Ives etc.) and that great improvements in sound recording technology had facilitated the great artists being drawn to the recording studio. That was off the top of my head. Then I mentioned Walter Legg and 33.3rpm recordings. But perhaps others have a better idea about this than I do. If I learn more I'll tell him next week.

And I gave credit to my confreres on CMG for their invaluable help and advice.

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Re: Sir John Barbirolli

Post by John F » Thu May 09, 2019 12:31 am

Congratulations! I'm glad your group received your program well; they certainly should have. This opens the way to similar programs by you or others in your group, to leaven the intellectuality of most of your programs.
Belle wrote:the mid-50s to mid-60s, a time when very little serious music was being composed
How's that again? Serious music is always being composed in large quantities. We may not get to hear much of it because of where we're located and the economics of broadcasting and the record business, not to mention selling tickets to performances, and of course a lot of it may not be very good, but these are different issues.

Your musicologist should look into Nicolas Slonimsky's "Music Since 1900" (I have the 5th edition) where he will find reports of many world premieres of music by important living composers such as Boulez, Britten, Martinu, Messiaen, Poulenc (the Met is now doing "Dialogues des Carmelites" from 1957), Shostakovich, Stravinsky, Tippett (including "The Midsummer Marriage"), and Villa Lobos, just for starters, and some new talents such as Carlisle Floyd, whose opera "Susannah" is well known in the U.S. if not elsewhere.

The mid-1950s were a high water mark for classical music recordings, thanks in part to the introduction of stereophonic discs, and the emphasis at that time was rerecording standard repertoire and recording important works new to discs, such as the Ring cycle. Some American record companies nonetheless did a lot with modern and contemporary music; American Columbia recorded the complete Stravinsky conducted by the composer, and Decca recorded every new opera and other major work by Britten as it appeared. Others, such as His Master's Voice and European Columbia (merged as EMI) and RCA Victor, were more conservative.

The greatest artists have made recordings since the beginning of the last century unless they were averse to the process. The introduction of tape recording and the LP in the late 1940s enabled far lesser artists to record for new, minor labels, expanding the recorded repertoire and also bringing down the price of recordings to as little as $2 for an LP. The first records I could afford to buy were on the bargain Remington label, most of them performed by very minor German and Austrian musicians but some with Dohnanyi and Simon Barere.
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Belle
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Re: Sir John Barbirolli

Post by Belle » Thu May 09, 2019 1:01 am

My friend is a PhD in Ethnomusicology, just to be clear. But he has a tremendous love of serious art music, jazz and music of other nations. Thanks for the information, which I will email to him now.

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Re: Sir John Barbirolli

Post by maestrob » Thu May 09, 2019 10:17 am

Belle, congratulations on a successful presentation! Well-deserved, as you worked hard enough on it at the last moment.

For the record (pun intended), stereo recording in the studio began in 1954 here in the U. S. for commercial release on reel-to-reel tape (RCA and Mercury (?)), but stereo LPs were not released to the public until 1959/60 by the major labels, as it took a while to invent the format and establish a uniform technology for everyone to use. Columbia began recording in stereo in 1958, IIRC: I can think of nothing available from before then. EMI was late to the game, recording in mono as late as 1959, IIRC. All the above is from memory: John, please correct me if I'm off by a year or two. Not sure when DGG & Phillips began commercially recording in stereo, but Decca/London began experimenting with stereo in 1955 (the famous Ring cycle recorded live at Bayreuth but never released until recently on Testament CDs). Their first commercial installment of the Ring (Das Rheingold) was recorded in 1959 with Solti, and it has never been out of print since.

Finally, you can always rely on us for input here. It was a pleasure to be part of this.

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Re: Sir John Barbirolli

Post by John F » Thu May 09, 2019 10:40 am

You're right, Decca was an early adopter of stereo recording, their Mozart operas were recorded binaurally in 1955, while EMI was among the last - just as they had been among the last to adopt the LP, releasing new recordings on 78s into the 1950s (the Bayreuth 1951 "Die Meistersinger"). RCA Victor released some stereo tapes before the disc format was settled on, but they were the exception, I believe. According to the Wikipedia article on stereophonic sound, the first commercial releases of stereo discs were in 1958; a year more or less mox nix.
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Belle
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Re: Sir John Barbirolli

Post by Belle » Thu May 09, 2019 5:01 pm

I'm going to forward this information to one of my friends in our group; a retired Professor of Mechanical Engineering who is very interested in recording technology and quality sound. Thanks for the information.

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Re: Sir John Barbirolli

Post by Belle » Thu May 09, 2019 5:09 pm

Re-reading this thread and, in light of yesterday's presentation via U-Tube of Furtwängler's Beethoven (9th) first movement, you've all given me an idea for a program next year. I must say that 1942 performance from the Berliner Philharmoniker was something else and at the end of the movement yesterday I exclaimed to the group, "god almighty, it's a maelstrom". People asked how performers in Germany were able to rehearse and keep up that standard in the middle of the war. Though doubtful about all this, I'm sure these musicians were a 'protected' species, but as to regular rehearsals.... :?:

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Re: Sir John Barbirolli

Post by John F » Thu May 09, 2019 9:48 pm

Despite Furtwängler's successful efforts to retain them, by 1942 the Berlin Philharmonic's four Jewish members, including concertmaster Szymon Goldberg, had left the orchestra and emigrated. Nonetheless, as you can hear in the 9th and other wartime performances, the orchestra not only kept up its standard technically but, at least under Furtwängler, played with a desperate passion and commitment beyond what they achieved before or since. I believe this reflects Furtwängler's sense of the tragedy that had befallen his country, with worse still to come; he charismatically imparted this to the orchestras closest to him, the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonics.

Another example of this is the December 1942 performance of Schubert's 9th symphony, the most ferocious I've ever heard, especially in the first movement. It's as if Furtwängler had let his emotions run away with him.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xvcJz2FDxpU&t=2406s

This approach may suit Beethoven's 9th, especially the first movement, but surely not Schubert. 11 years later he recorded in the studio for DG with the same orchestra, and this is much more like it. For one thing, it takes 5 minutes longer.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-fdwu0D5NE

Many of the ideas are the same, for example the horn calls as if from afar in the slow movement, and this is certainly not a gemütlich interpretation as in Josef Krips's fine recording with the London Symphony Orchestra, but I think it's far more true to Schubert than in 1942 - and very beautiful.

The allied bombing of Germany didn't begin until 1943 so life in Berlin wasn't yet physically endangered by the war, and as you say, the Philharmonic's musicians were privileged and didn't have to worry where their next meal was coming from. Rehearsals and performances weren't hindered until its concert hall, the Philharmonie, was destroyed in a 1944 bombing raid. All that was needed was the will to make music, and this they obviously had.
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Belle
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Re: Sir John Barbirolli

Post by Belle » Fri May 10, 2019 1:25 am

That second link to the Schubert 9; I'm pretty sure that's the very recording we owned in the late 50s and which I knew as a child. I recognized the cover instantly and had forgotten about it for decades!!

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Re: Sir John Barbirolli

Post by John F » Fri May 10, 2019 3:32 am

DG issued it as a 2-LP set, with either Schumann's 4th or Haydn's 88th symphony on side 4.It was good of them to do that, making the Furtwängler recording cost the buyer twice as much as any other Schubert 9th and hurting sales, instead of putting the 55-minutes on a single disc. That was feasible but it would have split the slow movement between the sides and hurt the music.
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Heck148
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Re: Sir John Barbirolli

Post by Heck148 » Fri May 10, 2019 10:49 am

Belle wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 5:09 pm
People asked how performers in Germany were able to rehearse and keep up that standard in the middle of the war. Though doubtful about all this, I'm sure these musicians were a 'protected' species, but as to regular rehearsals....
I think the quality of the BPO did suffer during the war...they lost the Jewish musicians, for sure, and there had to be attrition in the orchestra as a whole...difficult to really assess, because the wartime sound quality is not the greatest...but one can't help but think of how many young, aspiring, talented musicians were being slaughtered, or frozen to death on the Eastern front....I'm sure the musicians were playing their hearts out, but how many of the best were lost to the terrible destruction of the war?? I wonder if there are any accurate records of this??

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Re: Sir John Barbirolli

Post by John F » Fri May 10, 2019 11:14 am

That's just guessing. The orchestra's four Jewish players had high-quality replacements; the new concertmaster, Gerhard Taschner, appointed by Furtwängler in 1941 when he was only 19, can be heard on YouTube in solo works and he sounds excellent. If you like you can compare the many wartime performance recordings with the Berlin Phlharmonic's prewar work and make an informed judgment. I'm off to work now but when I get home, that's what I'll do.

Similarly, when the Vienna Philharmonic lost its Jewish and anti-Nazi players after the Anschluss, the replacements were excellent. Concertmaster Arnold Rosé was 75 when he left in 1937; his replacement was Wolfgang Schneiderhan, previously concertmaster of the Vienna Symphony and 23 at the time. We know what a fine solo violinist he was.

Both orchestras' prestige and generous funding ensured that any vacancies would be quickly filled, and since it was the players who selected new members from the auditioning applicants, it's a safe bet that they would be high quality.
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Re: Sir John Barbirolli

Post by Heck148 » Fri May 10, 2019 3:58 pm

John F wrote:
Fri May 10, 2019 11:14 am
That's just guessing. The orchestra's four Jewish players had high-quality replacements; the new concertmaster, Gerhard Taschner, appointed by Furtwängler in 1941 when he was only 19, can be heard on YouTube in solo works and he sounds excellent. If you like you can compare the many wartime performance recordings with the Berlin Phlharmonic's prewar work and make an informed judgment. I'm off to work now but when I get home, that's what I'll do.

Similarly, when the Vienna Philharmonic lost its Jewish and anti-Nazi players after the Anschluss, the replacements were excellent. Concertmaster Arnold Rosé was 75 when he left in 1937; his replacement was Wolfgang Schneiderhan, previously concertmaster of the Vienna Symphony and 23 at the time. We know what a fine solo violinist he was.

Both orchestras' prestige and generous funding ensured that any vacancies would be quickly filled, and since it was the players who selected new members from the auditioning applicants, it's a safe bet that they would be high quality.
There's no doubt that individual replacements would be the best available - it's just that the pool of available musicians must have suffered, as the manpower drain on the Third Reich became extremely severe...we'll never know how many really fine potential musicians, up and comers, perished during the gruesome struggle...by 1944, who was left in the available pool?? Hitler was desperate to replace his huge battlefield losses..
I've read it somewhere - [Solti's Memoirs, perhaps, or maybe Culshaw????] - that both the VPO and BPO suffered some real down years after WWII - no doubt from the severe personnel drain caused by the ravenous appetite of Hitler's warmongering, and the general upheaval caused by the cataclysmic event......I'll see if I can find that excerpt....

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Re: Sir John Barbirolli

Post by Belle » Fri May 10, 2019 7:08 pm

CMG: the music board for very grown up people!! Wonderful discussion; thank you.

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Re: Sir John Barbirolli

Post by John F » Tue May 14, 2019 7:56 pm

For those who are interested, here's the Berlin Philharmonic playing the finale of Brahms's Symphony no. 1 on January 23, 1945, Furtwangler conducting. Their concert hall, the Philharmonie, had been destroyed in the bombing of Berlin and they were performing in a movie theatre called the Titania Palast. Even at the end of the Nazi era they make an impressive sound, and while the articulation and ensemble aren't perfect, they still sound to me like a great orchestra, though perhaps one under stress.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NUWMrC96sVY

Amazing, all the stuff that has been recorded over the years and, despite everything, still exists.
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