New links posted

Just a quick note….I’ve restored links to many of the more recent posts with deceased Megaupload and Fileserve links.  Hopefully Mediafire won’t meet the same fate!

Back with some music very soon!



Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Ferdinand Leitner. 3 by Johann Strauss II

Among the neglected files on my hard drive, awaiting further work,  are a number of wonderful recordings by two of the “L” conductors from the Deutsche Grammophon stables in the late 78/early LP era, Fritz Lehmann and Ferdinand Leitner.  Rather than a large compilation (more to come!) here’s a small lagniappe (although it’s all free here, eh?) from Leitner.  There are several LPs worth of Strauss family works from him, perhaps not quite a rival in quality to the superb Ferenc Fricsay sides, but I think you’ll find a refined, pleasingly balanced and easy going approach from “L” and the Wurtembergers.  I don’t have the LPs at my disposal….this is from one of the “long playing” Variable Micrograde pressings, which are shellac 78rpm, but because of the variable groove spacing accomodate over 8 minutes per side.  Here‘s a bit more about them from a Gramophone article.  They can be noisy (this one is rather so), but have a sweet upper response, roundness, and a bit more dynamic range than the contemporary LP pressings.  These would have been tape originals, so certainly the disadvantage is the noise added.  Thanks to Mike Gartz for sharing this from his collection!  I do have one previous Leitner post here (the Mediafire links still seem to work). Hope you enjoy!

Johann Strauss II:
Wein, Weib und Gesang, Op.333
Bitte schön, Op.372 
Leichtes Blut, Op.319

Ferdinand Leitner, conductor
Württemburgisches Staatsorchester 
Recorded January 21, 1950
Stuttgart, Staatstheater
DG Variable Micrograde 78rpm 72011 



Posted in Leitner, Orchestral, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Complete 1934-35 Polydor recordings by the Galimir Quartet

I’m finally back with some music!  I’m still not quite sure on the private or non-private status of my blog down the road, but I have finally caught up with the large number of comments asking for invitations.  Sorry about the delay and thanks for the interest! Obviously, I have not yet started the huge task of restoring links for the dead files, but this will start happening soon!

Meanwhile, with a minimum of comment, here are my transfers of the 3 works recorded by what the mid-30s Polydor labels refer to as the Galimir Quartet of Vienna.  I’m sure many young musicians knew Felix Galimir later in his life, as one of the premier chamber music coaches (at Juilliard, Mannes & Marlboro) until his death in 1999, but before that, in addition to this early version of the Galimir Quartet (its last incarnation only disbanded in 1993!), he was a member of the Vienna Philharmonic, and later Toscanini’s NBC SO. I still think of my only coaching (at a master class) with him whenever I play the Beethoven Spring Sonata!

The Berg Lyric Suite was recorded again by one of Galimir’s later quartets in 1983, but this 1935 recording was the first.  It’s hard to imagine the work involved to learn this work at that time, but the hard work shows….this is a completely fluid and assured performance!  The Ravel and Milhaud works have the stamp of authority of having both composers supervise the recordings. There are some transfers available of the these recordings, but I thought there was room for improvement, especially being able to work from flawless laminated Brunswick pressings from the collection of my friend Mike Gartz (thanks!).  One of those previous transfers of  the Berg missed a nearly half step pitch drop in the 4th mvt., and I’ve corrected this, of course. In the case of the Milhaud, Mike also did the 24 bit dubbing from his copy.

Ravel String Quartet in F
Brunswick 90411/13; Polydor 516758/80
matrices: 1012/14, 1008/9, 1011 gpp
Recorded 1934

Berg: Lyric Suite
Brunswick 95006/9; Polydor 526659/62
matrices: 1093, 1092, 1094/95, 1088/89, 1096/97 gpp
Recorded 1935

Milhaud String Quartet No. 7, Op. 87
Polydor 561100/01
matrices: hpp 2160/63
Recorded Nov. 18, 1935
Paris, Polydor Studio No. 2


See here, for the interesting proofs with Ravel’s corrections, one page of which heads this post.

Posted in Chamber, Galimir Quartet, Uncategorized | 23 Comments

Sorry about the delay with comments….

I’m sorry that so many comments have been piling up without my getting around to approving them and sending invites to the private blog.  Everyone who knows me and what challenges my schedule presents this time of year in my job as collaborative pianist, knows that it’s crunch time.  This year, I’ve had several out of town concerts to do on top of that of my “day job”.  Adding to that,  I’m trying to get the Ravel Trio into my (and colleagues) fingers (and brains!) for a concert in about a month.

So……I ask for your understanding and patience.  I will try to send invites out soon, but I’m afraid if I approve comments I will hopelessly lose track of who I have or haven’t invited.  Let me just thank everyone again for all of the great feedback and support.



Posted in Uncategorized | 15 Comments

The fate of my older files (and this blog)….

I just saw the news that Megaupload has been shut down, which means that a number of my files are now unavailable.  This is in addition to the many Rapidshare links that are now expiring, due to having to cancel my premium account, which doubled in price a few months ago.  I can only apologize and promise to do what I can to re-upload dead files.  It’s not easy trying to decide the best way to host files, and I fear the climate is not very favorable for this method of sharing my work.  I’ve tried to play by a reasonable set of rules in terms of copyright issues, and I have tried to avoid offering the same recordings issued by independent cd labels, but, it seems the METHOD of disseminating my work is also that used by pirates, and thus the whole system seems to be under greater scrutiny at the moment.

Perhaps the comments area for this post would be the best forum for requesting dead links to be revived.  Some files may be difficult for me to locate, I’m afraid. I have much I would like to share, but lack of free time and these various hosting service hassles have me thinking seriously that a public blog may not be the way to continue.   Hopefully this will not come to pass.  In any case, thank all of you that visit and comment…I wish I had time to respond to all of you, but I appreciate the community of enthusiasts that join me here and show appreciation and enthusiasm!

UPDATE: Thanks so much for all of the positive feedback from you all.  Further bad new on the file front, now Fileserve has jumped ship and THOSE files are now unavailable!! It’s truly nuts what is going on.  Where does that leave me?  Some of the Multiupload and the older Mediafire ones may still work, and whichever Rapidshare files have not expired from inactivity.  I will not re-upload anything at the moment, because it may end up deleted depending on who else jumps overboard during this storm.

It’s a shame that those using these digital locker services seeking to profit from the various systems of “rewards” for numbers of downloads (of copyrighted materials) have ruined it for everyone!  Of course the problem was in fact created BY the various hosting services that created these very reward systems in order to line their OWN pockets.  Greed begets greed, I suppose.

I will probably make this blog private soon, and at some point after that I will contact those of you that I know are interested, by going through the comments in various threads here.  I’ll assume if you’ve left a comment in THIS thread that you’re interested, so for those of you that haven’t done so, perhaps now would be a good time.  Again, thanks to all of you!!



NOTE:  Strangely, some of the Fileserve files are “live” again.  Strange, because they supposedly disabled link sharing!  I’m not going to renew my premium status with them so these files will probably start to expire after a month or two.  I’m currently thinking I will try to use Mediafire, and another multiple upload service, mirrorcreator.  I wish I could figure out if Google Docs might work.  Storage is cheap, but it’s confusing how privacy would be handled, and how one sets up “viewing” files, as opposed to “editing”.  Does anyone have advice on this?

Posted in Uncategorized | 106 Comments

Guiomar Novaes. Beethoven & Debussy

Guiomar Novaes is a favorite of mine, back from my days of imprinting via vinyl of various key repertory,  through the fairly thorough representation of her discography on CD (don’s miss the wonderful 2 CD set of Schumann recordings on the Musical Concepts label!).  Her Chopin Waltzes and Falla Nights in the Gardens of Spain were particular benchmarks in my young listening years.  Before I was 10 years old had a Vox sampler (or Voxample!) lp entitled “This is Novaes” which contained excerpts from both lps I’m presenting today.  I particularly enjoyed the last movement of the Beethoven concerto, and was disappointed that the earlier version conducted by Klemperer was chosen for CD reissue…not that the earlier version is unworthy, but I had never managed to find a copy of the complete Swarowsky conducted performance!

Perhaps the theme of this post should be the great, and the not so great!  The Beethoven showcases everything I love about Novaes’ playing:  beautiful singing tone and tonal sensitivity coupled with an ample supply of gutsiness, and a pragmatic balance between instinctive musicality and intelligent observation of the musical text.  It’s not “intellectual” Beethoven (and often not “urtext” either…listen to the final arpeggio of the concerto, continuing up the octave!), but it adds up to a tremendously satisfying view and realization of the work, even if a few eyebrows may be raised by those brought up on versions in which the Andante con moto 2nd movement is less “moto” and more philosophically searching.  I’m not sure why she recorded the concerto again so soon after the Klemperer version, but I’m certainly glad she did!

So, what about the Debussy?  I wanted to share it because there is no digital era reissue of it, but on many levels it’s not a success, I’m afraid.  Levels indeed…I’m not sure at which stage the ruinous dynamic compression was applied, perhaps in the original recording, or perhaps in the cutting, but it’s certainly the worst sounding of all of her Vox recordings.  Interestingly, the lead-out groove area reveals a “RVG” stamped onto it, so the cutter was legendary Jazz engineer Rudy Van Gelder!  What about Novaes?  There’s a rather infamous sound byte which exists among private collectors from one of her Vox sessions, at which she thought she was going to record retakes of repertory from a previous session.  When informed that she was to consider that project finished, and not so gently requested to start on fresh repertory, she flies into a verbal rage, all the while playing Chopin’s Barcarolle (in several different keys!).  I wonder if she had similar thoughts about the Debussy sessions?  Frankly, there SHOULD have been some retakes, as much of the playing is tentative, and there are numerous details that should not have been left “as is”, in my opinion.  Perhaps this was not repertory that Novaes had lived with enough, because there are some rather egregious score reading gaffes that she did not catch.  For example, in Les collines d’Anacapri, at 17 seconds in she misreads the divided stems which should be in rhythmic unison, and played both hands apart.  At the 2:54 mark she incorrectly reads the high register whole tone cluster….oddly the same mistake is made by Cortot, so perhaps there is an error in early editions?  Voiles has a curious rhythmic misreading at 1:26.  Danseuses de Delphes has a strange interpretation of the off beat chords (starting at 1:56), but I’m more inclined to see that as an conscious interpretive decision rather than a misreading, odd as it is.  At other times, there ARE certainly wonderful moments, and the fact that she has a fresh approach pays dividends, but I have a feeling that she needed to live with this repertory a bit longer before committing it to disc. Oddly, when Novaes first went to Paris to study, she won first place in a competition at the Conservatoire.  Among the jurors were Faure, Moskowski, and Debussy!  Perhaps she did not include works by the latter!

Thanks to Ward Marston for his transfer of the Beethoven lp (and thanks to Donald Manildi and IPAM for the loan of the lp).  I transfered the Debussy from Ward’s lp.

Beethoven:  Concerto in G Major, Op. 58
Beethoven:  Sonata No. 14 in C# Minor, Op. 27, No. 2, “Moonlight”
Guiomar Novaes, piano
Hans Swarowsky, conductor
Pro Musica Symphony, Vienna
Vox PL 8530 (released 1954)

Debussy: Preludes, Book 1
Guiomar Novaes, piano
Vox PL PL 10.180 (released 1956)

Note:  These are new links from Mediafire which should work now!

Posted in Novaes, Piano, Uncategorized | 15 Comments

Henri Merckel. Works by Mozart, Faure, Ravel, Pierne, Bozza

Yes, it’s been a long time since my last post…I’ll try not to make promises I can’t keep, but it’s been very difficult to find time to work on transfers the past few months.  Thank god for the holidays!

So, here’s a collection centered around violinist Henri Merckel (1897-1969), who is not completely overlooked (there are single discs from Music and Arts & Dutton), but is still fairly neglected considering his fairly large discography spanning from around 1930 through the 1960s. Despite his virtuoso pedigree (and ablilities!) and often florid portamenti, overall Merckel gives the sense of being a rather no-nonsense musician, rather than a fire-breather.  He was able to easily adapt to a wide range of styles and periods, from quite a number of Baroque era works to contemporary repertory.  The Ravel shows a beautiful ensemble and coloristic sense and, and a quicksilver responsiveness to his colleagues, including the seldom recorded but fabulous pianist, Eliane Zurfluh-Tenroc.  The Pierne work is a delight, and is played to the hilt!  The Bozza is a rarity, on a label I’ve not encountered before, but while it amply displays Merckel’s virtuosity, it also exhibits Bozza’s second rate writing.  Being generous, perhaps the composer intended certain passages to be an “homage” to Ottorino Resphighi’s Pini di Roma….or perhaps he figured this work would be forgotten before the lawyers came after him!  It seems to exist in a clarinet version as well.

Thanks again to Ward Marston and Mike Gartz for their rare originals, and technical wizardry.  As previously, the editing is my work.

MOZART: Violin Sonata in B-flat major, KV454
Henri Merckel, violin,
Jean Hubeau, piano
Recording d
ate:  January 23, 1942
Anthologie Sonore 111-13
Matr. AS 233-38

PIERNE: Impression de Music-Hall
Henri Merckel, violin,
Pugnet Caillard, piano
Recording d
ate: Feb. 2,  1946
Paris, Studio Albert
Voix de son maître DB11126-27
Matr. 2LA 4472-75 

BOZZA: Rapsodie niçoise
Henri Merckel, violin,
Orchestre Symphonique sous le dir. de l’Auteur
Recording date: April 6, 1943
Florilege HP2051-52
Matr. FLX 44-47 

SAINT-SAËNS: Danse macabre, op. 40
Orchestre symphonique de Paris,
Philippe Gaubert, conductor
Henri Merckel, violin
Recording date: April 4, 1930
Columbia LFX44
Matr. WLX 1325-26,  Takes: 2 & 1

FAURÉ: Piano Quartet No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 15
Merckel String Quartet
(Henri Merckel, Alice Merckel,

& Gaston Marchesini),
Eliane Zurfluh-Tenroc, piano
Recording dates: November 29 &30, 1933
Voix de son maître  L973-76
Matr. 2PG 1268-76

RAVEL: Trio pour Piano, Violon et Violoncelle
Henri Merckel, violin,
Madeleine Marcelli-Herson, cello,
Elaine Zurfluh-Tenroc, piano
Recording date: March 12, 1931
Voix de son maître DB4803-05
Matr.  2G 443-48 


Posted in Chamber, Merckel, Uncategorized, Violin, Zurfluh-Tenroc | Tagged , , , | 12 Comments