Sunday, 29 September 2013

Fifty-year-old vinyl wish list

Well, not quite fifty years. Judging by marginal notes on this sheet of paper I found inside a boxed set of vinyl, together with the LP release dates I have now looked up on the Web, it dates from 1965. I must still have been branch secretary of the MoT CSCA (predecessor of Mark Serwotka's SCS), because there is a reminder to send minutes "for last meeting" to a couple of activists. (Plus ça change.) Therefore I wrote the list before my promotion into the white heat of automation of vehicle registration in 1966.

Certainly it was written between girl-friends: after "Curlew River" but before "Les Troyens". The list does reflect my musical interests at the time, but there are some peculiarities. There is no Mahler, and I remember being introduced to this composer a couple of years earlier. Perhaps there was no modern recording at that time? None of the records is in my collection - indeed I have different recordings of the same piece in some instances. There are two listings of Khachaturian's violin concerto (by Kogan and Oistrakh), crossed out because it must have been around this time that I acquired a Russian MK recording in a Gamages sale. (I don't play the disc of this flashy piece much, but it still turns up. It was a choice of one of the contestants in "Young Musician of the Year" not so long ago.)

Why I didn't buy any of these is still a mystery. Perhaps the expansion of the Third Programme/Radio 3 made so much more music available. Maybe I was increasingly dissatisfied with the quality of my record-player and decided to wait until I had a decent stereo set-up. Anyway, here is the complete list, which may have some sociological value:

DGG LPM 18923                        Karajan, Berlin Philharmonic, DEBUSSY/ RAVEL Prelude a l'apres-midi d'un faune/ Daphnis et Chloe
CBS BRG 72269                         Stern, Ormandy, Philadelphia, PROKOVIEV Violin Concertos 1 & 2
RCA Victor RD 7724                  Spike Jones, "Thank you music lovers"

CBS BRG 72639                         Bernstein, Royal Danish, NIELSEN Symphony No. 3

Philips BL 7661                           Trio Los Paraguayos, "Por Todo El Mundo Cantan"

Decca Ace ADD 117                    Kubelik, Vienna Philharmonic, BRAHMS Symphony No. 1

Decca Ace ADD 120                    Kubelik, Vienna Philharmonic, BRAHMS Symphony No. 4

Philips MMA 11089                     Dorati, LSO, STRAVINSKY "The Firebird"

Music for Pleasure MFP 2002      Galliera, Rabin, Philharmonia, TCHAIKOVSKY/SAINT-SAËNS Violin Concerto/Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso
HMV ALP 2106                          Baker, Du Pré, Barbirolli, LSO, ELGAR Sea Pictures/Cello Concerto

Pye GGC 4040                           Haas, London Baroque Ensemble, STRAUSS/ARNELL/KAY [various pieces for wind ensemble]
Stateside SL10141                      "The Best of the Modern Jazz Quartet"

Decca MET 301                          Britten, English Opera Group, BRITTEN "Curlew River"

HMV HQM 1008                        Pritchard, Glyndebourne Festival, STRAVINSKY "The Soldier's Tale" suite
Victrola VIC 1108                       Gibson, Royal Opera House, BIZET/GOUNOD Carmen Suite/Faust ballet music                
HMV ALP 2097                          Royal Choral Society, Du Pré, Sargent, RPO, DELIUS "A Song Before Sunrise"/Cello Concerto
Victrola VIC 1016                       Gibson, LSO, SIBELIUS Symphony No. 5/Karelia Suite

CBS BRG 72452                        Stravinsky, Columbia Symphony Orchestra, STRAVINSKY "Pulcinella"
Reality RY 1004                         John Foreman, "The 'ouses in between"

Music for Pleasure MFP 2046     Collingwood, LSO, ELGAR Nursery Suite, Serenade, Bavarian Dances

I remember the Los Paraguayos album being on the list because it contained a version of "Magdalena". This number closed a regular BBC Radio programme by Nigel Hunter called "Latin Carnival" or some such, and I got hooked on it and its false endings. The wind band version he used was not commercially available in the UK - nor was most of the other stuff he played, come to think of it. The programme would presumably be packaged under the label "World Music" now. I would love to check my recollection against the Radio Times of the period but, although the RT archive has been digitised, BBC is reluctant to let hoi polloi have access to it.

The Alexander Gibson recordings are on the list because I wanted some memento of the man. He had presided over one of those concerts introducing secondary schools to music, and I had warmed to him as one of the few adults who did not talk down to his young audience. I should have bought the Sibelius, for which he was renowned, but at least I do have a Waverley recording of his conducting Prokoviev's 5th symphony.

I do have the Barbirolli/du Pré Elgar, but unfortunately it is the cassette version. It is a nice reminder, though, of that magical night when she played the concerto at the Proms and, walking back to my digs in Victoria, I passed the entrance to the mews where the du Pré party had just arrived in high excitement after her success.

Dennis Brain must have been the reason for the wind ensemble disc being on the list. It would also have given me a chance to hear music I didn't yet know. This LP is also a good example of a re-release on a bargain label of good music previously available only at top price. As well as Pye's "Golden Guinea", there were "Music for Pleasure" (Hamlyn/EMI), Decca's Ace of Diamonds and the World Record Club (mail order) series.

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