Welcome to the fall issue. In keeping with the cover, we lead with Victoria de los Angeles, who – like Maria Callas – is being honored during the 100th anniversary of her birth. Roger Pines has written a wonderful profile of this great singer, knowing and richly detailed, almost summoning forth her presence and unmistakable voice right before our eyes, and just with his remarkable writing!
That Koussevitzky played the double bass is well known. Just what a princely virtuoso he was and how highly regarded his works for the instrument are – in particular his Concerto – is less so. Our newest contributor to Liner Notes, Dr. Andrew Kohn, a professional double bassist and scholar, not only surveys Koussevitzky’s compositions on disc, but introduces some of the instrument’s great players, past and present – it is a fascinating tour.
If Clive Barda’s name isn’t immediately familiar to you, his hundreds of LP and CD album covers no doubt are. He is the UK’s leading photographer of classical musicians and stage artists and has generously agreed to a profile / interview in which we glimpse behind the scenes of memorable concerts and recording sessions with many of the world’s greatest artists.
Last issue we introduced a new department, “Repertoire Rarities”. With the blessing of former Classical Recordings Quarterly Editor Alan Sanders, we are borrowing from CRQ and re-christening this column “Rarissima”, which gives it a wider remit. And we have Alan to introduce it, with a look at a long-forgotten Decca LP featuring Victor Olof, not in his usual role as producer, but as conductor, stepping in to save the day for an indisposed colleague. In our “From the Archives” section, Alan also re-visit’s Horenstein’s 1956 Beethoven 9th on Vox, a performance of tremendous power and nobility. Speaking of new departments, the “Performer as Composer” arrives herein, beginning modestly with Shura Cherkassky’s one published work, Prélude Pathétique, a boyhood creation that remained a signature encore work until the end of his life – it is a true gem.
Bongiovanni is the name of Italy’s oldest record store and for almost a half century a discerning label of operatic rarities and more. We examine both in this issue’s shop and label profiles.
In Part III of “Rachmaninoff at 150” we examine some lesser-known historical recordings. Though they may not rank as “Desert Island Discs”, they are eminently worthy of renewed appreciation. One album that, in the Editor’s opinion, would hearten some castaways is Reiner’s last, his RCA recordings of Haydn’s Symphonies Nos. 95 and 101, made only two months before his death in 1963. Circling back to Victoria de los Angeles, in this issue’s “Soundings” we go behind the scenes of Beecham’s 1956 La Bohème, taped – like Reiner’s Haydn – in Manhattan Center, with the duo of Richard Mohr-Lewis Layton supervising both recordings.
In our Film Department, we take in Chevalier. Though not on the level of Amadeus, the film has its moments, with memorable cameos by Mozart and Gluck. In fact, the life of Joseph Bologne · Chevalier de Saint-Georges is arguably more eventful than Mozart’s, if not as consequential.
Our “Grace Notes” section is, sadly, quite long this quarter and so we say fond farewells to a number of great pianists, singers, composers, and conductors. The Winter issue will be published @ 1 February. Thank you again for subscribing and for your support. I wish you happy winter holidays.
— Warm wishes, Joe Moore
Issue No. 8 is available for purchase or if you’re a subscriber, you can find it in your account area as well as below. Thank you.