Ginette Doyen. Mendelssohn: Songs without Words (Westminster)

Sorry about the long break from new posts. My summer’s travels didn’t leave much time for working on recordings this time, but I DO have quite a few new items from my friend Mike Gartz’ superb collection, and this is the first of them. As always, thanks to Mike for granting access to his collection, his enthusiasm for exploring the many rare nooks and crannies of recorded history, and his sage advice on the matters of optimal reproduction of vintage 78s and Lps!

I must admit I didn’t know any of Ginette Doyen’s work until recently, when the superb blog, Quartier des Archives featured three of her early 1950’s Westminster recordings (see here). So when I saw her complete recording of the Mendelssohn Songs without Words in Mike’s collection I jumped at the chance to dub these recordings! A beautiful tone, elastic phrasing, and economy of means characterize this essential version (and the first complete set) of these works. Add to that a rare ability to effortlessly highlight melodic lines through voicing (without ever poking or punching), and a never failing feeling of the gracefulness of the style, and you have something that really should not be missed! While lacking the uniquely potent individualism of Ignaz Friedman’s essential 78 rpm set, Doyen holds her own against the rest of the competition.

For the first time, I’ve used a 24 bit/88.2 khz method of audio capture, and I’m offering a 24/88.2 Flac version, which some have requested. I’m not an expert in these technical matters, but have been advised that 88.2 khz works better when one converts back to 44.1 khz for cd-friendly versions, but I’m curious to hear feedback on this issue. In any case, I’m impressed with how much more this method captures of the nuances of recordings played back on high quality equipment.

Mendelssohn: Songs without Words (Complete)
Westminster WL 5192, 5246, 5279

Recorded 1952/53

Ginette Doyen, Piano

Note: The “standard” Flac (16 bit) version, although presented in 49 consecutive tracks, will fit on 2 cdrs. Also note that the back cover listings for Vol. 1 on the original lp has a completely incorrect track listing, listing 22 tracks. In fact side 1 has tracks 1-7, and side 2 has nos. 8-15.

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4 Responses to Ginette Doyen. Mendelssohn: Songs without Words (Westminster)

  1. trainmaster@ says:

    i have a nice modified cover of the Scherchen/Westminster album without the red Poppy Suite for those who have figured out how to fit Sym.#3 on a cd. can you add it to your download files if you like it? Don't know what interminable copyright would be violated.

  2. Neal says:

    @trainmaster. Sure, that would be great if you could share your cover for that. It would be difficult to add to the main files, but I could put up a separate Mediafire of Megaupload link…or perhaps you could upload it with one of those services?Thanks!

  3. Eric Goldberg says:

    I grew up with the beautiful Mendelssohn recordings. The other volumes had the same cover art except one was yellow and one was green.

  4. fattoxxon says:

    A big thank you for these Doyen recordings. I was captivated from the opening bars of the 1st ‘song’; she has a wonderful touch, beautifully lyrical & flowing. I hadn’t heard anything by her before, either, but am now searching out those other recordings – and I still have several books of Mendelssohn to go! Someone will have to say it so it might as well be me – she’s a real doyenne among pianists (groan… but it’s true). Thanks so much for this extensive series of records.

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