Introducing Issue 10 – Spring 2024

Welcome to the Spring 2024 Issue. I am pleased to introduce a new contributor to Liner Notes: author, discographer and publisher Allan Sutton. You can view his profile on page 59. He has very generously allowed us to reprint an entry from his monumental American Record Companies and Producers: 1888–1950. This is an astonishing feat of scholarship, running to 731 pages, contains more than 1,120 detailed entries on record companies, independent studios, and producers from cylinders to the dawn of the LP era. For this issue, in conjunction with an article examining two early 1950s American LPs of Richard Strauss conducting his own music (p. 50), we are re-printing his profile of Regent Records (p. 56).

Joining us again is Phillip Nones, the leading authority on Florent Schmitt, arguably among the most individual voices in French music. In the conclusion of a two-part series, he surveys the finest recordings of his engrossing musical legacy on LP and CD (p. 30). Also returning this issue are three of our regular contributors: Alan Sanders, Jon Tolansky, and Ernest So. Alan concludes his two-part series on French composers performing their own works, here examining some of the discs left by Ravel, Roussel, D’Indy, Widor, et al (p. 63).

The aptly titled “Felicity Lott: Gracious, Great Master-Singer” (p. 109) features Jon Tolansky’s extended conversation with the English soprano about her storied career. We thank her for making time for us. As usual, Jon has teased out any number of fascinating details from her musical experiences. Our resident pianist, Ernest So, explores the rarified music of Russian pianist-composer Samuil Feinberg, an enigmatic figurewhose oeuvre is gaining increasing renown thanks to the likes of the intrepid Marc-André Hamelin and others, including Ernest! – see page 164.

With Carnegie Hall, James H. North reaches the second installment in his multi-part series on concert venue acoustics (p. 76). Other than the Philharmonic musicians themselves, probably no one can give more detailed testimony to the legendary concerts given at Carnegie Hall than Jim North, in this case Stokowski’s famous 1950 presentation of Mahler’s Eighth.

The eminent photographer (and concert pianist) Christian Steiner has kindly shared some of his amazing musical encounters with the likes of Maria Callas and Leonard Bernstein (p. 141). There are very few leading musicians of the last 50 years who Christian has not photographed. We are hoping this also will be the first in a multi-part series, depending on Mr. Steiner’s schedule.

Two early 1950s LPs of Richard Strauss conducting his own music – wartime recordings made in Vienna in 1944 – are detailed in Rarissima (p. 50). For Desert Islands Discs, we leave Vienna for Prague to re-visit a stunning disc by Václav Talich, his 1954/56 account of Suk’s Ripening, still unsurpassed on record (p. 153).

Portraiture & Design focuses on Kirill Kondrashin’s justly celebrated 1958 RCA LP pairing Capriccio Italien and Capriccio Espagnol. Its enduring place in the catalog has resulted in a variety of album cover art (p. 88).

Finally, we investigate a little-known 1952 corporate LP issue, among the earliest of its kind: Toscanini conducting Respighi’s The Pines of Rome and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5, courtesy of the Reynolds Metals Company (maker of Reynolds Wrap). Likely pressed as gifts for executives and major clients, it was the only issue of these NBC telecasts until Testament released them on DVD in 2005 – see page 170.

And there’s still more. Thank you so much for staying with us. I hope this finds you well.

Warm wishes,

Joe Moore