Hertz in San Francisco, final volume in a Russian vein
Plus the complete recordings of Gabrilowitsch and the Detroit Symphony
"...these 1925-1928 Hertz inscriptions testify to a fierce orchestral discipline and vivid sonority in each of the selections..." - Gary Lemco, Audiophile Audition, review of Hertz Volume 2
1 RIMSKY-KORSAKOV: Capriccio Espagnole, Op. 34 (13:50)
Recorded 21st and 23rd April, 1926 in Oakland Matrix nos.: PCVE 177-4 and 178-3, and PBVE 172-4 and 179-3
First issued on Victor 6603 and 1185
2 KREISLER: Caprice Viennois, Op. 2 (4:46)
Recorded 24th April, 1926 in Oakland Matrix no.: PCVE 180-2
First issued on Victor 6586
3 KREISLER (orch. Hertz): Liebesleid (3:37)
Recorded 15th April, 1927 in the Columbia Theatre, San Francisco Matrix no.: PCVE 251-2
First issued on Victor 6802
4 MOSZKOWSKI (orch. Rehfeld): Serenata, Op. 15, No. 1 (2:06)
5 LUIGINI: Aubade (2:48)
Recorded 15th April, 1927 in the Columbia Theatre, San Francisco Matrix no.: PCVE 252-1
First issued on Victor 6802
6 GLAZUNOV: Valse de Concert, Op. 47 (7:36)
Recorded 28th February, 1928 in the Scottish Rite Temple, Oakland Matrix nos.: PCVE 42039-2 and 42040-2
First issued on Victor 6826
San Francisco Symphony Orchestra conductor Alfred Hertz
7 BRAHMS: Academic Festival Overture, Op. 80 (8:16) Recorded 16th April, 1928 in Orchestra Hall, Detroit Matrix nos.: CVE 41972-4 and 41973-2
First issued on Victor 6833
8 BRAHMS: Menuetto I & II (from Serenade No. 1 in D Major, Op. 11) (4:02)
Recorded 18th April, 1928 in Orchestra Hall, Detroit Matrix no.: CVE 41978-1
First issued on Victor 6834
9 GLUCK (arr. Mottl): Dance of the Blessed Spirits (from Orfeo ed Euridice) (4:15) John Wummer, solo flute
Recorded 17th April, 1928 in Orchestra Hall, Detroit Matrix no.: CVE 41977-1
First issued on Victor 6834
10 ALTSCHULER: Russian Soldier’s Song (1:09)
11 TCHAIKOVSKY: Marche Miniature (from Suite No. 1 in D Minor, Op. 43) (2:10)
Recorded 18th April, 1928 in Orchestra Hall, Detroit Matrix no.: CVE 41979-2
First issued on Victor 6835
12 TCHAIKOVSKY: Waltz (from Serenade for Strings in C Major Op. 48) (4:19)
Recorded 17th April, 1928 in Orchestra Hall, Detroit Matrix no.: CVE 41976-1
First issued on Victor 6835
13 CHABRIER: España – Rapsodie (6:13)
Recorded 16th April, 1928 in Orchestra Hall, Detroit Matrix nos.: BVE 41974-3 and 41975-3
First issued on Victor 1337
Detroit Symphony Orchestra conductor Ossip Gabrilowitsch
Producer and Audio Restoration Engineer: Mark Obert-Thorn Special thanks to Don Tait for the loan of some source material
This final volume of Alfred Hertz’s San Francisco recordings features sides taken down in each of the three years they were recorded using the electrical process. The 1926 sides were made using the same kind of setup as the ensemble’s acoustic recordings of the prior year – a reduced orchestra in a small studio, probably with tuba reinforcement of the bass line. The following year saw a move into larger halls, resulting in a more natural concert sound. Even though he was to live for another 14 years, the Glazunov waltz was the final recording Hertz made.
During the 1920s, the Victor Talking Machine Company cast its nets far and wide to sign up American ensembles to record. In addition to the San Francisco Symphony, the label recorded the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra under Eugene Goossens and the St. Louis Symphony under Rudolf Ganz. To those were added, for one group of sessions only, the Detroit Symphony under its music director, Ossip Gabrilowitsch. The Russian-born pianist, who had settled in America and married Mark Twain’s daughter, led the Detroit orchestra from 1918 until his death in 1936. Due to the relatively short running time of the Hertz recordings, I have added the complete Gabrilowitsch/Detroit recordings to this program. They display the same kind of dynamic energy, interpretational flair and solid ensemble that distinguished the Hertz/San Francisco sides.
The sources for the transfers were prewar Victor “Z” or “Gold” label pressings for all items except the Rimsky-Korsakov work, which I was only able to locate in an Orthophonic edition. Nearly all of the recordings presented here were plagued by severe pitch problems which I have endeavored to correct in these transfers.
Alfred Hertz (July 15, 1872– April 17, 1942), a German conductor born in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
Hertz first came to prominence conducting Wagner at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Some of the performances he conducted were experimentally recorded by the Met's librarian Lionel Mapleson on what are now known as the Mapleson Cylinders and later issued on LP. He later became music director of the San Francisco Symphony, from 1915 to 1930 receiving praise and a cover story in Time for his leadership and accomplishments.
Hertz led the San Francisco Symphony's first recordings, for the Victor Talking Machine Company, from 1925 to 1928. He also conduced the orchestra in its first radio broadcasts, beginning in 1926. After 1930, Hertz guest conducted the orchestra. Hertz spent much of later years in Berkeley, California, but died in San Francisco, California at age 69.
The San Francisco Symphony (SFS) is an orchestra based in San Francisco, California. The current music director is Michael Tilson Thomas, who has held the position since September 1995.
The orchestra has long been an integral part of city life and culture in San Francisco. Its first concerts were led by conductor composer Henry Hadley, who led the Seattle Symphony Orchestra from 1909 to 1911. There were sixty musicians in the orchestra at the beginning of their first season. The first concert included music by Wagner, Tchaikovsky, Haydn, and Liszt. There were thirteen concerts in the 1911-1912 season, five of which were popular music.
Hadley was followed in 1915 by Alfred Hertz, who had conducted for many years at the Metropolitan Opera and had appeared with the company during their historic performances in San Francisco in April 1906, just prior to the earthquake and fire. Hertz helped to refine the orchestra and convinced the Victor Talking Machine Company to record it in Oakland in early 1925. Hertz also led the orchestra on a number of radio broadcasts.
The orchestra has a long history of recordings, most notably those made with Pierre Monteux for RCA Victor, Herbert Blomstedt for Decca, and Michael Tilson Thomas for BMG and the orchestra's own label, SFS Media.
The first recording, an acoustical disc of Auber's overture to Fra Diavolo, was made for Victor on January 19, 1925 under Hertz's direction. The
orchestra soon switched to electrical recordings, which continued until 1928. These recordings were produced by Victor's Oakland plant, which had
opened in 1924. During these sessions, Hertz conducted works by Ludwig van Beethoven, Johannes Brahms, Léo Delibes, Alexander Glazunov, Charles Gounod, Fritz Kreisler, Franz Liszt, Alexandre Luigini, Jules Massenet, Felix Mendelssohn, Moritz Moszkowski, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Franz Schubert and Carl Maria von Weber. All of these recordings had only been issued on 78 rpm discs until now, and are prized by collectors.
Ossip Gabrilowitsch (Осип Сaломонович Габрилович, Osip Salomonovich Gabrilovich; he used the German transliteration Gabrilowitsch in the West) (7 February [O.S. 26 January] 1878 – 14 September 1936) was a Russian-born American pianist, conductor and composer.
From 1910 to 1914, he was conductor of the Munich Konzertverein (later known as the Munich Philharmonic). He was still in Munich in 1917 and was put in jail following a pogrom. Through the intervention of the papal nuncio to Bavaria, Archbishop Eugenio Pacelli (later Pope Pius XII), Gabrilowitsch was freed from jail, and then he headed to Zürich and the United States.
He settled in the US, and in 1918 was appointed the founding director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, while still maintaining his life as a concert pianist. Before accepting the conductor's position, he demanded a new auditorium be built, and this was the impetus for the building of Orchestra Hall.
On 6 October 1909, he married Mark Twain's daughter Clara Clemens, a singer who appeared with him in recital. On 18 August 1910, their only child, Nina, was born at Mark Twain's home Stormfield, in Connecticut. Nina, the last known lineal descendent of Mark Twain, died on 19 January 1966 in a Los Angeles hotel. She had been a heavy drinker, and bottles of pills and alcohol were found in her room.
He composed a few works, primarily short piano pieces for his own use. He was a National Patron of Delta Omicron, an international professional music fraternity. He died from stomach cancer in Detroit in 1936 and, along with Clara and her father, is buried in the Langdon plot of the Woodlawn Cemetery in Elmira, New York.