Laurence Glavin responded to John Smyth:
>> I've been able to put together ultra-quiet Lp pressings of Symphonies
>> 3-8 so far, no small feat considering the calamity-ridden Westminster
>> pressing process not to mention that most of these Lp's turned 50 last
> It strikes me that the recording you described will NOT be the choice
> of the "Beat Beethoven" run in Fairbanks, Alaska:
They'll be running to the "tune" of Beethoven's Fifth?
Donald Clarke also responded to John Smyth:
> I see these are not available from Tahra, though there are symphonies 1
> and 2. Scherchen has always been a favorite of mine; there is nothing
> like his Rimsky/Russian Easter Overture, recorded for Nixa in England
> and on Westminster in the USA... So, John Smyth, are you transferring
> your untra-quiet Lp pressings to CD?
I cannot currently lay my hand's on my copy of Rene Tremine's Scherchen
discography (story of my life) but my recollection says that he recorded
1 & 2 (and maybe 3?) for Ultraphon (or some such) and these are the ones
Tahra has released.
He then recorded all 9 for Westminster and then 3 and 6 in stereo. These
are remarkable performances in that he set out to use Beethoven's metronome
markings - and succeeded! It is almost impossible to believe how his
Pastoral opening movement is so fast and yet sounds so relaxed. The HIP
crowd could learn a great deal from Hermann.
1 & 8 and the stereo 3 & 6 were issued on CD in 1988 as an MCA (Double
Decker) and the set appeared in a number of year-end "want lists" in
Sometime in the 1990s the 6/8 were rereleased as an MCA Millenium disc
- with processing of the sound. Less hiss but less presence too, IMHO.
The Westminster LPs were also issued by the extremely dodgy Italian label
Palladio, in less than silent transfers. There is also a set of the 9
on another label whose name escapes me. Much quieter but a serious bias
towards one channel.
At least the Westminster mono Eroica was issued on CD in Japan (I have
a copy) but I don't know about the rest.
All of which is by way of saying that I, too, would be interested in
your "ultra quiet" (not sure what Don means by "untra"...) LP transfers.
BTW other Scherchen recordings that simply demand to be heard are his
various (3) Mahler 7s, including the wildest, woolliest you ever heard
(Toronto, 1965, M&A) and his amazing studio Mahler 2 (MCA Millennium,
once upon a time), his late 1940s Brandenburgs (Tahra), his superb
transcription of Die Kunst der Fuge (MCA Millenium of the studio, Tahra
of the live Toronto performance 1965) and his extraordinary Symphonie
Fantastique (on a long-OOP PRT CD)
Then there is the 1965 Lugano Beethoven cycle. Never officially released
(unless Tahra have) some of these popped up on Italian CDs in the 1990s
and there was a complete (although apparently well unofficial) release
by Pilz in Japan for which I paid silly money.
These may be the dress rehearsals; certainly HS vocalises considerably,
to the extent of "singing" the cellos back into synch in the trio of the
8th's allegro scherzando and - my favourite moment of all - as the cellos
are expounding the theme in the first movement of the Eroica, you can
hear him clearly say "faster please!"
For me he is one of the top three Mahler conductors on record (Donald
aside, anyone care to guess the other two?) and among my handful of
favourite Beethoven interpreters.
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