zondag 27 november 2011

Liszt in a Ladies magazine...

Some records you take just for the cover alone... Like this 45RPM that once was a supplement with the Dutch ladies magazine "Margriet". I have several records on this label, mostly VOX re-issues, but non have that wonderful late 1950's romantic flair on it... What is she staring at? What does she think? Why is that candle there?? Well, in the end, 10 Eurocents well spend... :-) Greek pianist Rena Kyriakou (1917-1994) easily glides through the piano lollipops by Beethoven (für Elise!), Schumann, Liszt and Brahms, can’t go wrong there… Hope you will enjoy this curiosity!

zaterdag 12 november 2011

My all time favorite classical LP: Helene Boschi Plays Mozart

Recently, Dutch classical music station Radio 4 had an “Edison day” to commemorate the 80th anniversary of phonograph inventor Thomas Alva Edison. The broadcast itself was a little disappointing, only a few items had connection with the theme and a collector who wanted to play a two minute wax cylinder on the show was asked to shut down the machine after 30 seconds… It made a rather hilarious part of the broadcast, and hey, show some courage there on Edison day! Anyway, there was an intriguing red wire theme through the broadcast, which was he question “what is your favorite classical LP?” It prompted me to think about it, and all the usual suspects passed by; Glenn Gould’s Goldberg variations, Mravrinski’s Shostakovich or even Bruckner Six by Otto Klemperer… But… The one I came up with in the end was something completely different. It’s Mozart’s 22nd piano concerto, played by the Swiss pianist Helene Boschi (1917-1990). From the moment she steps in the arena (after the introduction with some awesome Czech wind players) you have the feeling that the concerto has to be played like this and not in any other way. It’s played so unbelievably natural and “right”, that from the moment I first put the stylus in the groove of this 1953 LP, I was completely blown away by it. The weird thing is, to my knowledge, it has never been re-issued on cd… Well, judge for yourself, I have transferred the LP (about a quarter inch thick, tha good old Supraphon pressings…) and put the MP3’s online.  Rightmouseclick to download. As a bonus, I added an interview I had with the Dutch Teleac radio program “Hoe? Zo!” about the transfer of this LP. It’s in Dutch, but you hear some examples of the “before” and “after” treatment of the crackles and pops… Enjoy the performance!

woensdag 9 november 2011

Hey! I'm not nice... (but I can sing)

There are these artists who just aren’t that “nice”. An acquaintance of mine wanted to have Elisabeth Schwarzkopf autograph on an authentic 1940’s picture of her. She took the photo and said she looked awful on it. He later found the picture back under the table, torn… She was a terrific singer. Elly Ney adored Adolf Hitler and was appointed to be his official “Kammermusikerin”. In letters to friends she complained that Jews were treated too polite in Nazi Germany… She was a terrific pianist. In the light of these two examples Dutch soprano Jo Vincent doesn’t come off that bad…  She had a mouth and was not afraid to use it. She was nosy, interfered with just about everything in the life of her pupils and when in 1960 she was asked her opinion on Dutch TV about then popular singer Mieke Telkamp she replied that “she didn’t sing, she just shouted in a microphone”… Beside the fact that I am not a big of a Mieke Telkamp fan, it’s quite tactless to say that before an audience of about a million people. Straightforward, honest maybe, but also a bit rude… Yet, Jo Vincent was an awesome singer. Here is a 1927 recording of her, made when she was 29 years old. A very atmospheric performance of Franz Schubert’s “Du bist die Ruh”, with Maurice van Ijzer on the tingly (hey, authentic 1927!) piano.