Introducing Issue No. 9 – Winter 2024

Welcome to the winter issue. I am very pleased to introduce two new contributors to Liner Notes, the first being Phillip Nones, the leading authority on a still under-rated composer, Florent Schmitt. In Part I of a series, he surveys the most important 78rpm recordings of this enigmatic composer’s fascinating music. Part II, which will examine the LP era, will appear in the spring issue.

In keeping with our mission to also profile those “behind the scenes” of great recordings, Jon Tolansky has interviewed the award-winning balance engineer Tony Faulkner, whose highly prized skills and expertise has helped shepherd to fruition an amazing number of landmark recordings. Also returning this issue is Alan Sanders whose article on the various recordings of early 20th Century French composers makes the perfect complement to Phillip’s piece. And like the latter, Alan’s guide will continue with the spring issue.

Just as he did with Soviet-era opera cinema and Maria Callas on film Neale Osborne again takes us on a richly illustrated musical journey, this time centered on Rimsky-Korsakov’s evocative opera Mlada. In addition to examining both sound and video recordings, Neale invites the reader to explore other repertoire in this magical vein.

Another new contributor is James H. North, a veteran freelance journalist and author of two indispensable discographies on the NYPO and BSO. In the first of a multi-part series on concert venue acoustics, he takes us back in time to 1950s New York and Lewisohn Stadium, summer home of the Philharmonic and witness to countless memorable concerts, a number of which Jim attended himself. The 1950s is where we also find artist Mike Ludlow, most readily remembered as one the best glamour “pin-up” artists, but who also designed many beautiful album covers for RCA.

Joining us for the first, but hopefully not the last time, is Gregor Benko. Like the late and much-missed Alan Evans, Benko is a “piano archeologist”, though not only of keyboard recordings. In this issue we learn how he saved from oblivion a “live” recording of Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra “riffing” during recording sessions at the Academy of Music in 1927. A very special thanks must also be made to Ward Marston who made a new transfer of the only copy in existence and kindly allowed us to share it with you.

I would also like to welcome aboard Jeremy Polmear, oboist and founder of Oboe Classics, which in addition to recording new performances of the oboe repertoire, also boasts an extensive historical line. In fact, many of the recordings in the Oboe Classics catalog can be found nowhere else, sadly overlooked by too many other piano- and violin-centric (read obsessive) labels. But thanks to Oboe Classics, that is our gain.

In this issue we also explore Leopold Stokowski’s near half-century relationship with Scheherazade, in particular his spellbinding 1951 HMV account with the Philharmonia in Desert Island Discs.

Last, but certainly not least, I am very happy to welcome back concert pianist Ernest So who has treated us to a wonderful piece on two American treasures in one: William Bolcom and the Great Rag Revival.

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

— Warm wishes, Joe Moore

Issue No. 9 is available for purchase or if you’re a subscriber, you can find it in your account area as well as below. Thank you.