Sunday, September 28, 2008

10 More Random Albums

Tchaikovksy Schwaneness (Swan Lake), Dornröschen (The Sleeping Beauty) Berliner Philharmonker Herbert Von Karajan

I read a biography of Karajan about 7 years ago; it was fascinating, the book was fascinating so was his life. Of course I feel a bit guilty about this because Karajan was a Nazi, or at least he was a member of the party – he had to be to work in Germany, just about the time he was getting his professional career underway, and he was denazified by the allies after the war. He didn’t seem to have any strong political convictions either way, and in a way that works both for him and against him. It was an open question throughout his life, something he could never quite put behind him, but nothing anyone could really hang on him either. But it was never resolved, not in the book, though the author was something of an apologist, and not in his life.

Still he was an accomplished conductor, good at Beethoven and the romantics, the German ones, not surprisingly, not as good at the French composers or baroque.

I bought this album for one of my kids, my son I think, because he’d been listening to stuff like this, but I don’t think he ever listened to this album. The suites were not arranged by Tchaikovsky, who only ever arranged a suite of the Nutcracker. That’s by the way.

Wagner’s Greatest Hits

It was Columbia that came up with this idea of releasing greatest hits albums by classical composers. I don’t think it works all that well, I don’t think that taking bits and pieces from this symphony or concerto, that sonata, an aria, gives one a very satisfying musical experience. This collection falls flat.

Ravel Bolero, Missorsgsky Pictures At An Exhibition Herbert Von Karajan Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra

This is worth it just for the cover. Deutche Grammophon LP covers were never less than elegant, sometimes as nice as the music inside.

We once heard a performance of Ravel’s Bolero, by the Winnipeg Symphony conducted by Kazuhiro Koizumi, and afterwards he made the snare drummer take an extra bow. I have at least two records with Pictures At An Exhibition, and 3 recordings by Emerson Lake & Palmer, which according to the pundits is 3 too many.

Vivaldi, Le Quattro Stagioni, Roberto Michelucci, I Musici

Everyone has to have The Four Seasons, and so do I. This is a Phillips recording, released in 1969, the cover printed in Holland. It’s a fancy fancy package, with a bunch of notes, and samples of the actual musical notation. This is what we miss when we download music….

Itzhak Perlman,Mendelssohn Violin Concerto, Bruch Violin Concerto No. 1,André Previn, London Symphony Orchestra

André Previn did the soundtrack for Valley Of The Dolls. That has nothing to do with this. I think someone gave me this record. She was a kind of friend of the family, has some serious domestic difficulties, left town to make herself a better life and left me her LPs, all classical. She also taught my son in grade 1.

Sibelius Symphony No. 5 in E flat major op. 82, Finlandia, Herbert Von Karajan, The Philharmonia Orchestra

I think I got this at Value Village. Karajan again, I’m not sure he’s the best Sibelius conductor. Finlandia is bombastic; anyone can do it. This is mono. Angel Records. How long has it been since Angel Records existed? At the very bottom of the back cover it says:

“This monophonic recording will not become obsolete.”

Schubert Octet Op. 166 D.803, Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields’ Chamber ensemble

Like so many of these classical albums I bought this one for very little at a little second hand record shop on Vaughn across from The Bay. It was operated by the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra who had been doing annual record sales as a fundraiser, and who apparently expanded the concept to a permanent one. I had some fascinating conversations with the guy who used to run the place. I’ll provide details at some point…

Sallah, Original Sound Track From Israel’s Sensational Comedy Film Hit! Starring Haym Topol.

I don’t know anything about this, like where it came from. I never listened to this, and I certainly never saw the movie, which was, according the cover, nominated for an Oscar in 1965. Topol was Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, a few years later. According to imdb, it was called “Sallah Shabati.” And the pictures on the cover made it look like the best film that was ever made in the world.

Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits Vol. II

Okay, here’s one I can sink my teeth into. I bought this one, back in high school, and I had this one and Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits. And I got into this big time. I still think that it’s a really well put together collection. But it melted. It got left in the sun somewhere or other, and now I still have the vinyl and it’s warped. What a shame. I have all the music, though, elsewhere. Of course.

Mp3 don’t warp. Hurray for mp3s

Mozart “Jupiter” Symphony, Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Erich Leinsdorf

Eine Kleine Nachmusik is so common that is sounds hackneyed already. I love the Jupiter though. It’s one of the first classical pieces that I got, in both senses of the word. I think that this is another one that I got from Value Village.

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