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Eloquence, c'est la collection des trésors oubliés des labels Deutsche Grammophon, Decca et Philips. Initiée par l'Australie, cette série de rééditions sait créer l'événement. Les albums offrent des couplages souvent inédits, avec une véritable connaissance de l'histoire discographique pour former une présentation cohérente et soignée. Le son, provenant des bandes originales anglaises, est traité de manière naturelle pour pouvoir rendre au mieux l'exceptionnelle qualité sonore qui a subjugué des générations de mélomanes dès l'orée de la stéréophonie dont Decca a été un des pionniers, développant ses propres micros et magnétophones. Une collection pour mélomanes et audiophiles exigeants pour un prix modique.

Albums

CD$21.49

Symphonic Music - Released March 6, 2020 | Decca

The music on this pair of CDs falls into one of two categories: ballet music from an opera, or ballet music that was not originally intended for dancing at all, but that was subsequently adapted for that purpose. (The exception is Don Quixote, a full-length ballet with an original score.) Many famous conductors had unusual lives, but the life of Anatole Fistoulari (1907-1995) was more unusual than most. When he was just seven, he conducted a performance of Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Symphony in his native city of Kiev. At thirteen, he conducted Saint-Saëns’s Samson and Delilah in Bucharest. While a young man, he travelled throughout Europe and North America, accompanying bass Feodor Chaliapin and conducting the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. Escaping the European mainland in World War II, he came to England, where he soon married Gustav Mahler’s sole surviving daughter, Anna, and was named principal conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra. He became a British citizen in 1948. Under a reciprocal arrangement between Decca and RCA, the Verdi, Mussorgsky, Saint-Saëns and Rossini items – all ‘opera-ballets’ – first appeared on RCA in 1960. Their first Decca release (under the title ‘The World of Ballet’) was not until 1972. Likewise, the Lecocq and Walton items were published in 1959 by RCA but in 1971 by Decca.
CD$21.49

Symphonic Music - Released March 6, 2020 | Decca

A kaleidoscopic collection of orchestral Prokofiev in the 1950s, as recorded by Decca engineers in London, Paris and Copenhagen, featuring both rarities and classics. Once upon a time Peter and the Wolf was the best known of them, with six recordings to its credit in the days before LP. On this Kingsway Hall recording from 1949, the BBC announcer Frank Phillips told the story, with the experienced Prokofiev conductor Nikolai Malko making a rare appearance on Decca. Nowadays the Fifth Symphony is far more frequently heard in concert; this taut and thrilling 1952 account is the work of the Danish conductor Erik Tuxen, a legendary interpreter of Sibelius and his fellow countryman Nielsen. Three years later in June 1955, Sir Adrian Boult made his first stereo recording, of the Love for Three Oranges Suite with the Paris Conservatoire Orchestra. This was originally issued in mono with the Lieutenant Kijé Suite played by the Philharmonia Orchestra because the latter recording was mono only – whereas the present reissue now presents Oranges in its stereo version. Boult’s dry wit points up the sardonic qualities of both suites. Despite its title, Russian Overture from 1936 does not straightforwardly conform to principles of Soviet nationalism in music with its abrupt cuts from comic capers to sweeping Russian melody. Written like so much of Prokofiev’s music with tongue in cheek, it makes an apt companion on disc for his final symphony, the Seventh. These were recorded in November 1957 (and originally issued on the RCA ‘Living Stereo’ label) by the Paris Conservatoire Orchestra conducted by Jean Martinon, who had done much to promote the conductor’s music outside his Russian homeland. The Seventh is a deceptively simple work, imbued with a melancholy and nostalgia somewhat obscured by the ‘fake’ ending contrived to the symphony for it to win official approval (and which is played here). (© Decca Music Group Limited / Universal Music Australia Pty Ltd.)
CD$18.99

Symphonic Music - Released March 6, 2020 | Decca

Erich Kleiber’s major Tchaikovsky recordings, newly remastered and coupled with Ruggero Ricci’s debut recording for Decca. Only a truncated version of the Capriccio Italien from 1933 predates these accounts of the Fourth and Sixth symphonies in the Kleiber discography. They were made in Paris – Decca apparently esteemed the playing of the Conservatoire Orchestra in Russian repertoire – and are precious testaments to the particular attack and vigour he inspired from orchestras in this music. Despite being recorded under 78rpm conditions, in four- or five-minute sections, the Fourth Symphony is marked by a palpable symphonic rigour as well as the edgy brass which lends such intensity to Decca’s Paris recordings of Russian music. This Fourth dates from 1949; four years later Kleiber returned to Paris for the ‘Pathétique’, recorded on tape, with an especially compelling sense of line drawn through the symphony’s tragic finale. After his early death in January 1956, at the age of 65, his friend Jacques Barzun recalled watching Kleiber rehearse and perform in Paris, presumably for these recordings: ‘He did not seem to conduct, that is, to earn his fee on the podium. All his histrionic ability went into rehearsal: there he gestured, danced, chattered, pantomimed his way into the subconscious of his players until the right musical utterance came out of their fingers and lungs.’ In January 1950, when Ruggiero Ricci first recorded the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto, he was 31 years old and had been performing in public for over 20 years. The sessions marked his debut for Decca, at least in concertos, and he was most sympathetically partnered by Sir Malcolm Sargent – the preferred conductor of Jascha Heifetz on his appearances in London. Two further Decca recordings followed, in 1961 and 1974, both impressive in their ways and technologically advanced but hardly superseding the folksy bravura and legerdemain of his initial efforts. (© Decca / Universal Music Australia Pty Ltd.)
CD$21.49

Symphonic Music - Released March 6, 2020 | Decca

Sir Adrian Boult was a conductor of much more ‘temperament’ than is commonly supposed, with ever-frustrated ambitions to lead a complete Ring cycle, and whose consummate professionalism and Edwardian moustache concealed an interpreter of often fiery passions in Romantic repertoire. This new collection invaluably gathers up all the Tchaikovsky recordings he made for Decca between 1952 and 1956. The first of them was the fantasy overture based on Hamlet, a recording produced in Kingsway Hall by the young John Culshaw. Later the same month came the 1812 Overture, recorded without cannon or bells but possessed of a strength and dignity not always present in more bombastic accounts. Tchaikovsky played a formative role in Boult’s development. At the age of twelve he attended what he later called ‘the most important concert I have attended from my own point of view’. Arthur Nikisch was conducting Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony and the First Piano Concerto with Mark Hambourg as soloist. Boult was captivated by Nikisch’s ability to obtain playing of the utmost brilliance and a quality of sound he had not heard before. It was on that evening that he decided that he had to become a conductor. At the beginning of June 1954 Boult and the LPO were joined by the 63-year-old violinist Mischa Elman for the Violin Concerto, and Elman rekindled in the sessions something of the golden tone which had propelled him to youthful fame as a pupil of Leopold Auer, to whom Tchaikovsky had originally dedicated the concerto. These are all mono recordings, whereas the Third Suite and Third Symphony were recorded in both mono and stereo, made in Paris and London respectively. Boult was apparently perplexed by the invitation to conduct the Paris Conservatoire Orchestra, but he secures from them playing of rare affection in the once-popular Theme and Variations movement. This compilation issues the stereo version of the Suite for this first time on a Decca CD. (© Decca Music Group Limited / Universal Music Australia Pty Ltd.)
CD$12.99

Symphonic Music - Released February 7, 2020 | Decca

Distinctions 5 de Diapason
An original Philips album of two light-orchestral masterpieces by Dvořák, with the Serenade for Strings receiving a first international reissue on CD. While best known as a conductor of the central symphonic repertoire, and the operas of Berlioz and Tippett, Colin Davis always showed special affection for the music of Dvořák. He made this album in March 1968, conducting the orchestra with whom he enjoyed the longest and most fruitful relationship of his career, the London Symphony Orchestra. After some troubled times in the early 1960s, when Davis suffered a breakdown and the orchestra passed him over in favour of Istvan Kertesz as music director, they hit a sweet spot together in this album and several others such as the early volumes of their Berlioz and Tippett series together. The Symphonic Variations remains a comparatively neglected work – astonishingly so, given its tremendous charm. When Hans Richter first conducted the work in Vienna, he declared that he could never remember a new piece achieving such a popular success. Brahms thought equally highly of it, and perhaps valued the quality of wit which is rarely found in Dvořák’s music. Davis certainly did so, and conducted the Variations throughout his career, including late in life with the LSO, but this first recording enjoys a particularly unfettered freedom of expression. Affection also beams from every bar of the Serenade for Strings which Dvořák composed in 1876, the year before the Variations. This was a happy time for the composer, who was so often beset by suffering and personal tragedy, and it breathes the same joyous air as his Fifth Symphony and Second String Quintet, full of Czech and Viennese dance rhythms, which are handled by the LSO’s string section with rather more lightness of touch than on Davis’s later Philips recording with the BRSO. (© Decca Music Group Limited / Universal Music Australia Pty Ltd.)
CD$31.99

Symphonies - Released February 7, 2020 | Decca

Newly remastered and gathered under one roof for the first time, the Decca recordings of Hans Knappertsbusch conducting Bruckner: a legendary combination. For record collectors in the 1950s and 60s, the names of Bruckner and Knappertsbusch (‘Kna’) were practically synonymous. At a time when the composer’s symphonies were routinely compared to Gothic cathedrals, the rough grandeur, steady pulse and towering climaxes of these readings marked out the conductor as an architect of symphonic majesty. Record companies did not have to work hard to cultivate this image, thanks to Knappertsbusch’s craggy visage, imposing presence on the podium and decades of Wagnerian experience at Bayreuth. At a time when Wagner’s Parsifal was still experienced as a primarily sacred music drama, the major works of Bruckner were likewise understood in semi-sacred terms as concert-hall rites, and who better to pierce their mysteries than Parsifal’s pre-eminent interpreter? Knappertsbusch began recording Bruckner for Decca in 1954, with the Third. The Fourth and Fifth quickly followed, also from Vienna, and then the Eighth arrived as an appendix from Munich, first issued on the Westminster label in 1963. By then the conductor’s readings of Romantic repertoire had become less impulsive, even more monumental in concept, but still lightened by a natural feeling for the dance rhythms in Bruckner’s scherzos and Ländler themes. Knappertsbusch persisted in conducting from editions prepared by Bruckner’s pupils, notably the Schalk brothers, with their liberal re-scorings and cuts, to the finales in particular – all outlined in a perceptive booklet essay by Antony Hodgson. In the light of recent scholarship and a more nuanced perspective on Bruckner’s evolving intentions with the composing and revising of his symphonies, these performances gain a certain, compelling authenticity of their own. No Brucknerian can afford to be without them. (© Decca Music Group Limited / Universal Music Australia Pty Ltd.)
CD$21.49

Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released February 7, 2020 | Decca

The first substantial survey of the Eton Choirbook’s treasures on record, newly remastered, compiled and reissued on CD for the first time. Copied out between 1490 and 1502, the Eton Choirbook is the most substantial extant source of English liturgical polyphony from the late 15th and very early 16th centuries. The architectural historian Nicholas Pevsner described the late-perpendicular style of buildings like the chapels of Eton and King’s College, Cambridge, as a ‘union of practical, matter-of-fact spirit with a sense of mystery, and an almost oriental effusion of ornament’. What we contemplate in these buildings we may hear mirrored by the music of the Eton Choirbook. From the 1920s onwards attempts were made to perform and record pieces from the Eton Choirbook but they were hampered both by the technical demands of the music – often as thrilling as it is rhythmically complex and metrically unstable – and by its relative unfamiliarity to English cathedral choirs. Only in 1968 was a successful attempt madeby Argo to record a selection on two albums, which are united here. The performers constituted an astute combination of an all-male choral foundation (from St Margaret Street in London) with the professional ensemble of the Purcell Consort of Voices, directed by their founder Grayston Burgess, who died in 2019. The first album documented the setting of the St Matthew Passion by Richard Davy and the second included a selection of motets (the Ave Maria of Cornysh and Nesciens Mater of Lambe) and spacious, most notably Browne’s Stabat Mater and Fawkner’s Gaude Rosa. The singing is robust rather than ethereal, and the albums blazed a trail both for this repertoire and style of performance which has been emulated by many professional early-music groups during the past half-century. Filling out this 2CD set is a third Purcell Consort of Voices album of 15th-century repertoire recorded by Argo and never previously issued complete on CD. The flowing polyphonic style of John Dunstable and the sublime reach of Josquin des Prez are surveyed with both sacred and secular, instrumental and vocal works; highlights include the courtly elegance of Dunstable’s O Rosa Bella and Josquin’s affecting tribute to his teacher in the Déploration sur la Mort de Okeghem. (© Decca / Universal Music Australia)
CD$21.49

Symphonic Music - Released February 7, 2020 | Decca

Three Philips albums of Mozart from the early years of Sir Colin Davis’s half-century association with the London Symphony Orchestra, including several recordings new to CD. Known as a peerless interpreter of Berlioz, Sibelius and Tippett, Sir Colin Davis was devoted above all to the music of Mozart. Symphonies, concertos and serenades by Mozart formed much the largest part of Davis’s early discography with several labels and ensembles. ‘He simply knew how Mozart should go,’ recalled the film director Humphrey Burton after the conductor’s death in 2013. A landmark event in his career occurred in 1959, when he took over performances of Don Giovanni in London from Carlo Maria Giulini, and record labels soon took notice of his Mozartian gifts and inclinations. He began to work regularly with the LSO in the early 1960s, and it was a relationship that quickly bore fruit in the recording studio with Symphonies Nos. 39 and 40, which also marked the beginning of the 40-year-long relationship between the conductor and the Dutch Philips label. Symphonies Nos. 25, 29 and 32 followed in 1964, likewise newly minted, rhythmically buoyant and quite foreign to the ‘grand old man’ style of Mozart playing then prevalent, and which Davis himself cultivated to a degree in the latter stages of his career. These recordings were welcomed as ‘young man’s Mozart’, respecting tradition but not in hock to it, reflecting Harold Rosenthal’s early praise of Davis in the pit: ‘‘Not since the departure from London of [Erich] Kleiber have we heard a Mozart opera directed with such musicality, style and rhythm, or so beautifully shaped.’ The third LP reissued in this generous compilation contained the two concertos written by Mozart for the flute: an instrument for which he apparently held no great affection, but produced all the same two works of boundless invention. The soloist was the Dutch-born, German flautist Hubert Barwahser (1906-1985) who had been recording for Philips since the label’s earliest days, both as a soloist and as principal flautist of the Concertgebouw Orchestra. (© Decca Music Group Limited / Universal Music Australia Pty Ltd.)
CD$18.99

Cello Solos - Released November 1, 2019 | Decca

Newly remastered from the original L’Oiseau Lyre tapes, a little-known Bach recording in the true French style. The modern phenomenon of the Cello Suites as a staple of any record collection may be laid at the feet of the Catalan cellist Pablo Casals, whose HMV recording, released in 1939, belatedly placed the set alongside The Well-Tempered Clavier and the solo violin works as a cornerstone of Bach’s instrumental output in the consciousness of listeners who could not play a note of his music. Another two decades elapsed before a new generation of cellists took up the mantle of Casals in the LP era. Among their select number was Jean-Max Clément, whose 1958 studio recording for L’Oiseau Lyre was released two years later. By then he had made a notable concerto appearance in London with Sir Thomas Beecham: ‘His tone was very small indeed,’ reported The Times, ‘but it was of such bachrare beauty and refinement that we could have listened to him all night.’ Like his contemporaries such as Fournier and Starker, Clément used a four-string cello to play the five-string Sixth Suite, and his portamento and rubato belong to Bach performance of a different era: not until Anner Bylsma’s 1979 recording would a historically informed set of the Cello Suites achieve wide circulation. However, the unostentatious elegance and refined taste of Clement’s playing offer rewards of their own, especially in repertoire that finds Bach at his most French in style. The original LPs have long been sought after and fetched exorbitant prices. This new Eloquence reissue sheds light on both the French cello school and on the ever-evolving nature of Bach interpretation. The booklet includes a new essay from Peter Quantrill, placing both the suites and the recording in context. (© Decca Music Group Limited / Universal Music Australia Pty Ltd.)
CD$16.49

Symphonic Music - Released November 1, 2019 | Decca

Leinsdorf scored an enormous personal triumph early in his first season (1962-63) as the Boston Symphony’s Music Director with Mahler’s First Symphony. The RCA recording they made together duly captures much of the brilliance and dash of their live chemistry in the work, and for months after its release it remained one of the best-selling classical albums in the US. Leinsdorf’s remake of the symphony in London almost a decade later, for the Phase 4 sublabel of Decca, has enjoyed a less storied reputation, but on its first release it was preferred to the BSO version by the doyen of Mahler critics in the UK, Deryck Cooke. The Mahler was Leinsdorf’s second album for Phase 4 after a typically lucid pairing of Wagner and Richard Strauss made in 1969. ‘Bleeding chunks’ they may be, but in fact Leinsdorf rejected all the available suites from Der Rosenkavalier and made his own, observing both the chronology and the expressive narrative of the opera, and critics again found they preferred his version to any other. Leinsdorf lacked for nothing in terms of both confidence and experience on the podium, as his supremely lucid writings on the subject of conducting make abundantly clear, and he could win the absolute trust of orchestras – even ones as hard-bitten as the LSO – within a single rehearsal. Live recordings of his Rosenkavalier complete have become sought-after collectors’ items, but (like the Mahler) this Phase 4 album in sumptuous sound has been available only within a much larger box-set: this handy reissue should delight all lovers of propulsive, full-blooded performances of Romantic classics. (© Decca Music Group Limited / Universal Music Australia Pty Ltd.)
CD$12.99

Classical - Released November 1, 2019 | Decca

A first CD release for a thrilling recital of dazzling toccatas and fantasias from the French organ tradition by one of the world’s most celebrated musicians.Installed in 1972 and built by the Austrian firm of Hradetzky, the four-manual organ at the Royal Northern College of Music was just four years old when Gillian Weir recorded this album. She draws from it a robust, vibrant sound and a dazzling array of French-accented colours in a showpiece recital which shows off both organ and organist to best advantage. As she relates in a newly written booklet note for this release, Gillian Weir played many recitals on the Hradetzky organ. She found its fresh, exciting sounds and array of pungent reed stops ideal for this repertoire. The album opens and closes with spectacular pieces by Marcel Dupré, the epitome of the French organist-composer tradition. The prodigious polymath Saint-Saëns had himself been acclaimed by Liszt as the greatest organist in the world, and he composed the carefree Fantaisie in his early twenties to display his own gifts at the console. Vierne succeded Widor as titular organist at Notre Dame, and his own Pièces de fantaisie are steeped in the cathedral’s acoustic and the possibilities of the instrument designed by the king of French organ builders, Aristide Cavaillé-Coll. Among them, Naïades is his most loved piece, a perpetuum mobile of rippling scales summoning up a vision of laughing water nymphs diving through the water. Perhaps the most demanding piece in Gillian Weir’s recital draws from the Vierne tradition via Olivier Messiaen, in L’ange à la trompette by Messiaen’s pupil Jacques Charpentier. Her performance of its exuberant, culminating toccata elicited particularly glowing critical praise when the album was released, for her absolute rhythmic security and assured mastery of both music and instrument. (© Decca Music Group Limited / Universal Music Australia Pty Ltd.)
CD$12.99

Sacred Vocal Music - Released November 1, 2019 | Decca

The first recordings of choral masterpieces by Britten, performed by the dedicatees and newly reissued in a unique compilation.At Christmas in 1958, Benjamin Britten went to hear the boys of the Westminster Cathedral Choir sing his Ceremony of Carols conducted by George Malcolm. He was so impressed by their voices that he wanted to write something for them. Malcolm suggested a short Mass for boys’ voices. The result is the Missa Brevis, composed, performed and recorded by Decca on the occasion of Malcolm’s retirement as organist and choirmaster in July 1959. During the previous decade, Malcolm had reformed the choir following a heritage of excellence established by his predecessor, Sir Richard Terry, while expanding the repertory, commissioning modern works from composers such as Britten and moulding the choral sound in the Continental style, learnt from his own Catholic training, which places much more emphasis than the Anglican tradition on chest voice. . He created a natural and throaty Continental sound – the sound boys make in the playground, as he put it – that suited the great Catholic polyphony choir, much emulated by other English choirs in succeeding generations. Eighteen months earlier, Malcolm had also played the organ for the composer’s own recording of Rejoice in the Lamb, which sets portions of a poem by Christopher Smart extolling the praise of God in terms as touching and quirky as the text. In 1961 he took charge of the first performance at the Royal Festival Hall of the Cantata Academica, another celebratory work written to honour the quincentenary of Basle University, and made this recording for L’Oiseau-Lyre soon afterwards. Here too is a geniality and variety of colour and a wealth of melodic invention, in no way compromised by the use of a twelve-note serial theme. Side B of the L’Oiseau-Lyre album reinforced Britten’s remarkable skill as a writer for unaccompanied chorus, with the Hymns to the Virgin and to St Cecilia, smaller-scale works but even more perfect in their way, and then the more recent Choral Dances in Elizabethan style from his Coronation opera Gloriana; Britten shared with Stravinsky an ability to recreate the past in terms of the present without any sense of pastiche or loss of individuality. (© Decca Music Group Limited / Universal Music Australia Pty Ltd.)
CD$63.99

Symphonic Music - Released October 18, 2019 | Decca

A feast of Haydn and Mozart under the sure and stylish baton of Karl Münchinger, including several recordings making their first international appearance on CD.This box of Münchinger’s legacy in Classical-era repertoire picks up where the Eloquence set of his Baroque recordings (484 0160) left off, with six symphonies of Haydn. He had founded the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra in 1946, and Decca began making records with them three years later. The excellence and commercial success of these albums caused the label to invite him to work with orchestras other than his own, in Paris (the Conservatoire Orchestra) and, more prestigiously still, the Vienna Philharmonic. The first fruits of this new relationship were issued in May 1955: an LP of No.88 and No.101, the ‘Clock’. Reviewers looked to the likes of Furtwangler and Toscanini for comparison respectively, and did not find Münchinger wanting for either grandeur or pathos in this music. The sequels took in Nos 96 and 104 (recorded in May 1957) and Nos. 83 and 100 (from April 1961): superbly open and spacious Sofiensaal recordings engineered in classic Decca sound by John Culshaw and Christopher Raeburn. By then Münchinger was also recording Mozart for Decca, both with an enlarged cohort of his Stuttgart ensemble and with the Vienna Philharmonic. The repertoire included not only mature symphonies but also concertos (with the Viennese principals Werner Tripp and Alfred Prinz on flute and clarinet respectively), serenades (featuring the inimitably luscious tone of Willi Boskovsky’s violin) and rarities such as the ballet Les Petits Riens, recorded back in Stuttgart. The set concludes with two discs of concertos: Haydn and Boccherini with the cellist Pierre Fournier, Mozart with both Christian Ferras – including the apocryphal ‘Adelaide’ concerto once championed by Menuhin – and Wilhelm Kempff, in a pairing of the Piano Concertos Nos. 9 and 15 that had critics reaching for superlatives in an era when these works had barely entered the record catalogues. (© Decca Music Group Limited / Universal Music Australia Pty Ltd.)
CD$18.99

Chamber Music - Released October 18, 2019 | Decca

Two Decca LP albums of orchestral miniatures, newly remastered and issued complete for the first time on CD, with a substantial bonus from Karl Münchinger’s varied discography.Karl Münchinger (1915-1990) was remembered for decades as a solid conductor of Baroque music, but previous reissues on Eloquence have served to broaden our view of a consummate musician. Recent issues of Haydn and Mozart and Liszt and Wagner demonstrate that he also had the Classical and Romantic repertoire at his fingertips. Here is the complement to those issues, an invaluable continuation of the Münchinger story: a genial disc of encore-like gems from Bach to Grieg, recorded by Decca in September 1966 and first issued the following summer. It includes the conductor’s own, straightforward but sensitive orchestrations of two Bach fugues and a movement from Schumann’s Op.66 piano cycle, Bilder aus Osten. Alongside them are Baroque classics for which the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra was famed, such as the ‘Air on a G string’, two movements from Vivaldi’s ‘Alla Rustica’ Concerto and the Musette from Handel’s G minor Concerto grosso Op.6. On CD2, ‘Contemporary Music for String Orchestra’ ventures beyond the well-trodden path of Barber’s Adagio to include a set of Hindemith’s pedagogical music, a delicately refined Serenade by Lennox Berkeley, and Frank Martin’s arrangement of his own organ Passacaille, made for Münchinger ‘and his wonderful Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra’. Dating from October 1950, the album was recorded in Decca’s crystal-clear mono sound, as were two bonus items on this new compilation: the sombre, graceful Chaconne from Gluck’s Paride ed Elena, in 1960, and from a decade earlier, the Third Suite of Respighi’s Ancient Airs and Dances, with its haunting Siciliano and imposing final Passacaglia. (© Decca Music Group Limited / Universal Music Australia Pty Ltd.)
CD$12.99

Symphonic Poems - Released October 18, 2019 | Decca

A quartet of Liszt tone-poem recordings, new to CD, plus a cherishable recording of Wagner’s musical birthday card to his wife.Karl Münchinger founded the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra in 1946, and Decca began making records with them three years later. The polish and vigour of his work in Baroque repertoire is comprehensively documented by a recent 8CD Eloquence box, but Münchinger’s repertoire was broader than might be assumed. In addition to their sensitive and stylish interpretation of Haydn and Mozart brought together on another Eloquence box, the conductor and his Stuttgart ensemble took on Romantic repertoire such as the Siegfried-Idyll of Wagner – a 1951 recording made in Geneva with Munich strings and the winds of the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande. More adventurously, Decca sent Münchinger to Paris, to conduct the Conservatoire Orchestra. A 10-inch EP of the Mephisto Waltz and Prometheus duly appeared, followed by a full LP which coupled the EP with two more tone-poems, Mazeppa and Hamlet. Although Liszt’s orchestral music was more familiar to audiences in the concert hall than it is now, there were comparatively few recordings: this one of Hamlet appears to be the first, but it effectively conveys both the nervous tension of the story and its gloomy setting of Elsinore. Münchinger secures fiery playing from the Paris orchestra and holds a firm grasp on Liszt’s unorthodox structures. Captured in Decca’s dynamic mono sound, the Conservatoire brass make thrilling contributions to the Mephisto Waltz and the climactic celebrations of Mazeppa, while the winds contribute much distinctively French timbre to the more poignant evocations of the sufferings of Prometheus. (© Decca Music Group Limited / Universal Music Australia Pty Ltd.)
CD$44.99

Solo Piano - Released September 13, 2019 | Decca

Distinctions 5 de Diapason
The early recordings of a keyboard lioness, long unavailable and new to CDNot generally given to extravagant effusions, William Glock (Controller of Radio 3 and the BBC Proms in the 1970s) had no doubt: ‘There is no one who plays the piano better in the world than she does. There is no one with a more fantastic command of the piano … not over felt, not under-felt, nothing rushed just to show off and yet the greatest playing I’ve heard for years’. He was referring to the French pianist Cécile Ousset, whose career had belatedly sparked to life and international recognition with appearances across the UK and US and a new contract with EMI Records. Yet prior to this Ousset had made several recordings since her success in the late 1950s at several major European competitions. She accumulated a considerable catalogue on Eterna, the East German label, but then Ousset signed to make recordings with Sofrason, the Société Française du Son. These were licensed for wider release by the French arm of Decca, but Sofrason went out of business in 1981 and the recordings have never been reissued – until now. This new Eloquence set includes an appreciation of Ousset’s art by the French pianophile Jean-Charles Hoffélé. These ‘French Decca’ recordings all date from 1971–76, and they include much solo repertoire that Ousset never recorded again, though they share similar qualities with the much-acclaimed concerto recordings that she made in the 1980s: an unsentimental palette of rubato and tone-colour, a fearless and brilliant command of articulation, and a uniquely French mastery of jeu perlé. The first album made an imaginative and attractive compilation of fin-de-siècle Parisians from Saint-Saëns to Satie. The second displayed her particular affinity with the Russian post-Romantics, Rachmaninov and Prokofiev; and the third coupled two landmarks of German-Romantic piano literature, by Brahms and Schumann. These all received a later international LP issue on the ‘Ace of Diamonds’ imprint and to very warm reviews. However, Ousset’s last recordings from this period encompassed the complete variations of Beethoven, issued by French Decca in two volumes (a 3LP and a 2LP box). Its disappearance particularly dismayed Ousset herself: ‘I made a big effort on that one,’ she remarked in a 1984 interview, ‘and it came off beautifully’. (© Decca Music Group Limited / Universal Music Australia Pty Ltd.)
CD$12.99

Symphonic Music - Released September 13, 2019 | Decca

Strauss waltzes and polkas in classic Decca 1950s recordings, led to the manner born by the Viennese conductor Josef Krips.Newly remastered from the original tapes – and in the case of two works the shellac discs – this compilation presents recordings made in London and Vienna by a conductor born and bred to the rhythms of the Strauss family. Josef Krips cut his teeth as a repetiteur at the Volksoper in Vienna, making his debut there in 1921, before graduating to the more prestigious Staatsoper in 1933. Mozart was forever Krips’s musical god: ‘My maxim is that everything has to sound as though it were by Mozart, or it will be a bad performance. When you perform Mozart, everything has to be crystal clear, everything has to be in balance and everything has to have a relaxed sound.’ These are the qualities that mark out his conducting of these waltzes and polkas, which he continued to conduct wherever his career took him: to London in the late 1940s, becoming principal conductor of the LSO for three years in the early 50s, and thence to the US, such as a late-in-life post as musical director of the Buffalo Philharmonic, returning often however, to his spiritual home of Vienna. The recordings here were made first of all with the ‘New’ Symphony Orchestra of London musicians in April 1948, then with the LSO in April 1950. The legendary Decca producer John Culshaw was behind the glass at the Sofiensaal for Vienna Philharmonic sessions in October 1956 and September 1957 that yielded the ‘Memories of Vienna’ LP which gives this album its title. He was joined by the soprano Hilde Gueden for the obbligato soprano parts in waltzes such as Voices of Spring; Gueden had been one of the most prominent members of the Vienna State Opera immediately after the war while Krips rebuilt and nurtured it from the ground up, and she too was blessed with an instinctive understanding of Viennese style as well as the kind of light lyric soprano voice that made her ideal for Josef Strauss’s Village Swallows waltz. (© Decca Music Group Limited / Universal Music Australia Pty Ltd.)
CD$31.99

Sacred Oratorios - Released September 13, 2019 | Decca

Sir Adrian Boult’s first Messiah for Decca, newly remastered and coupled with a rare L’Oiseau-Lyre recording of the Bach Magnificat, new to CDWhen this Messiah was released in 1954, critics were quick to recognise it as exemplifying the English oratorio tradition at its finest. Boult used a large chorus – the London Philharmonic Choir, singing with superb discipline and clarity of articulation – but he rejected both the monumental style of performance cultivated by Sir Malcolm Sargent and the anachronistic trappings of Sir Thomas Beecham’s Handel. Boult slimmed down the LPO to chamber-orchestra dimensions, though he did not neglect the oratorio’s moments of grandeur, pathos and splendour. Almost everywhere, the recorded sound belies its age. With mono this vivid and with bass frequencies this powerful, few will pine for stereo. Each orchestral section is sharply delineated: a glint of oboe timbre here, a welcome emphasis on the bottom line’s crunchy bassoon timbre there. In fact his stereo remake from seven years later (with the London Symphony Orchestra) has a more old-fashioned feel, due at least in part to a more operatically scaled team of soloists. In 1954 Boult’s cast was led by the elegant and imperious soprano of Jennifer Vyvyan. The male soloists, too, found favour with Benjamin Britten when casting his operas; the recording is particularly valuable as a rare example on records of the artistry of the American tenor George Maran: always well-focused, assured from top to bottom of the register. More British singers on top form may be enjoyed in the coupling, a recording of Bach’s Magnificat made in 1955 for L’Oiseau-Lyre by the London-based Kalmar Chamber Orchestra and St Anthony Singers. The Swiss conductor Pierre Colombo, little known now, presides over a rhythmically vital account, lent a further ‘period’ feel by the stylish contributions of both the countertenor Alfred Deller and the slender, pure-toned soprano member of the Deller Consort, Eileen McLoughlin. This reissue is further enhanced by a new essay by R.J. Stove, contextualising both the works and these marvellous performances. (© Decca Music Group Limited / Universal Music Australia Pty Ltd.)
CD$21.49

Chamber Music - Released September 13, 2019 | Decca

Three L’Oiseau-Lyre albums of chamber music by Couperin, newly remastered and compiled together for the first time, including material new to CD.During the past half-century, Francois Couperin ‘the Great’ has indeed come to be regarded among the great European composers. Where once he was dismissed with faint praise as the confector of trifles to amuse the Sun-King and his court, we now see him more in the round, balancing devotional psalms with bitingly observant galleries of men and women from high and low stations, as keenly interested in the view from his Parisian window as the glitter of Versailles. Dart and his colleagues recorded the pair of ‘Suites de violes’ in 1957, the scores having only been rediscovered around 40 years previously, but they were enthusiastically promoted by the musicologist Wilfred Mellers, who declared them to stand as a highlight of Couperin’s chamber music. This album supports the contention of H. C. Robbins Landon, writing about Les Nations in 1973: ‘Unlike many musicologists, who are poor performers, Dart was a wizard at any keyboard. He was also an excellent director, as the present records attest’. Landon singles out his immaculately crisp rhythmic sense for special praise, as well as his scholarly attention to ornamentation, without which the French Baroque idiom soon dies. Couperin’s cosmopolitan nature is nowhere more evident than in the four-volume collection of Les Nations, published in 1726 but composed during the previous 35 years. French and Italian styles mingle freely in these suites for trio-sonata ensemble. Made in London and 1958 and 1962, this was their first complete recording, and it was welcomed by critics as displaying all the facets of Couperin’s masterly contrapuntal writing with easy authority, and in an ensemble of two violins accompanied by a continuo of harpsichord and viola da gamba that would have been familiar to Couperin himself. In a 1965 interview, the director of L’Oiseau-Lyre was proud to point out that Dart and Marriner had spent two years editing the score of Les Nations for this recording. (© Decca Music Group Limited / Universal Music Australia Pty Ltd.)
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Chamber Music - Released August 16, 2019 | Decca

Two L’Oiseau-Lyre albums of English brass music from the 17th and 18th centuries – The Royal Brass Music of King James I and English Baroque Trumpet Concertos – newly compiled and remastered and issued on CD for the first time. With this and several other albums issued in 2019, Eloquence celebrates the art of Thurston Dart, the harpsichordist, conductor and editor who played a leading role in the early-music revival in postwar Britain. After his death in 1971 at the age of just 49, his fellow harpsichordist Igor Kipnis paid fulsome tribute to ‘a man of many parts’, whose 1954 volume on The Interpretation of Music had attained testamentary authority among his fellow musicians, matched by the skill, style and flourish of his many recordings: ‘He was the ideal musicologist-performer.’ In 1960 Dart convened and directed a six-strong ensemble of trumpets and trombones to record a sequence of music written for performance at the court of King James I by a twenty-piece band of sackbuts and cornetts known as the Royal Wind Music. Part-books of their repertoire were edited and in some cases reconstructed by Dart and his colleague Trevor Jones, and the result is a splendid compilation of dances and fanfares by members of the king’s musical retinue including the violist and lutenist ‘Giovanni Coprario’ who, born in London in 1570 as John Cooper, changed his name in the early seventeenth century, doubtless to add foreign lustre to his reputation. Dart’s ad hoc ensemble was led by the legendary French trumpeter Maurice André who, four years previously, had taken centre-stage to record one of the first concerto albums in his long and distinguished career. The headline name in this trio of ‘English Baroque Trumpet Concertos’ is Jeremiah Clarke, whose successful career came to an abrupt and tragic end in his early 30s with his suicide in 1707. The nine movements of his Suite in D major for trumpet, strings and winds were also reconstructed for this recording, and they include the Trumpet Voluntary (sometimes known as the Prince of Denmark’s March) to which countless brides have walked down the aisle. The names of Richard Mudge and Capel Bond are far less known than they deserve to be: musicians of the English Midlands, they each left hardly more than a single collection of six concertos. In these examples edited by Gerald Finzi, they nonetheless demonstrate high craftsmanship in the Italian style and a fine awareness of the then-modern, ‘galant’ mode. (© Decca Music Group Limited / Universal Music Australia Pty Ltd.)