Hermann Scherchen conducts Glière

It seems like I’ve been apologizing for the lack of regular posts over the past couple of months, but the end of the semester duties and a big project (arranging, performing and recording a piano score for a silent film due out on dvd later this summer) left me needing a serious break, even from records! Hopefully this summer will allow time to get back to regular posts, and also replenish my supply of rare 78rpm items from the collections of some of my good friends. So, stay tuned!

It had been a few years since I had listened to Scherchen’s Ilya Murometz recording, having more recently listened to the two Stokowski versions and the one by Ferenc Fricsay, both containing varying degrees of cuts (I once saw Stokowski’s personal score which had pasted over the passages he cut!), but this 1952 version was only complete recording for many years. For sheer energy and cragginess, Scherchen almost rivals the outsized style of Golovanov (a pity there is no version conducted by him!). I suspect there weren’t many retakes, and there are some pretty noticeable brass cracks here and there, but certainly not enough to ruin the pleasure to be gotten from this well-recorded performance, which I have transferred from a Westminster Gold Lp pressing. I must say, I find the Red Poppy Ballet a bit of a taste I haven’t acquired, and the tapes used for this reissue seem to have a bit more wear than that of the Symphony, but since there is no commercial cd issue, I felt I should include it here.

By the way, there is an excellent Scherchen discography by Lawrence Friedman available as a PDF file here.

Reinhold Glière: The Red Poppy, Op. 70 (1926-27): Ballet Suite
Symphony No. 3 in b, Op. 42, “Ilya Murometz” (1909-11)

Hermann Scherchen, conductor
Vienna State Opera Orchestra
Recorded September, 1952
Westminster set WAL 210
(transfer from WGM-8235-2)

Note: the Symphony runs to a bit over 80 minutes. Many cd burning programs and burners will “overburn” to this amount, but your mileage may vary. Of course, the 4th movement will fit with the Red Poppy on a 2nd cd, if you would rather not chance the “overburn” method.

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