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Pristine Classical:  the finest historic recorded music, remastered to award-winning acclaim

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Fabien Sevitzky and the Indianapolis Symphony

"Fabien Sevitzky and the 14-year- old Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra paid their first visit to New York and Carnegie Hall last night. A big audience heard them in an effective program. This orchestra is a well disciplined and able body of men. It numbers eighty-five ... The orchestra is well balanced and coordinated in its elements and it is capable of highly dramatic interpretation"
- New York Times, 1944

Fabien Sevitzky was born in Vishny Volochyok, Russia on 29 September 1891 (not 1893, as other sources list).  A nephew of Serge Koussevitzky’s, his original last name was the same, but later shortened at his uncle’s request to avoid confusion.  Like him, Sevitzky took up the double bass in order to win a conservatory scholarship.  After playing in orchestras in Russia and Poland, Sevitzky joined Stokowski’s Philadelphia Orchestra in 1923.  Two years later, he organized members of the ensemble’s string section into the Philadelphia Chamber String Simfonietta.  (Their complete recordings have been reissued on Pristine PASC 375.)  He left the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1930, although he continued to conduct the chamber ensemble until 1941.

Sevitzky was appointed conductor of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra in 1937, a post he held until 1955. Between 1941 and 1946, Sevitzky and the Indianapolis Symphony made a series of 78 rpm recordings for RCA Victor.  His final recordings were made for Capitol LPs in 1953.  The present program is the first in a series which aims to reissue them all, some for the first time since their initial release.  None of them have ever received an “official” CD reissue. 

TCHAIKOVSKY Manfred Symphony
TCHAIKOVSKY Eugene Onegin - Waltz
GLINKA Russlan and Ludmilla - Overture
LIADOV Baba Yaga

Fabien Sevitzky conductor
Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra

Studio recordings, 1941-46
PASC479 (79:00 - 1CD)


Jussi Björling is Il Trovatore in this "sensational" 1941 performance of Verdi's classic opera

"Wow! This is a side of Jussi Björling that we don’t often encounter, and it is sensational. Björling on this afternoon in New York was unbuttoned, alive to nuance, and fully involved in the drama, all without sacrificing his wonderful legato and sense of phrasing. Björling’s explosion after the conclusion of “Ai nostri monti” is also quite unlike what we get on his studio recordings, and exceeds his other live performances to. These are not the kind of flamboyant gestures one associates with this tenor, and they add a wonderful frisson. This is a vital, red-blooded Manrico, one who engages us fully in the drama."
- Fanfare, 2015

This live recording is regarded by many who've heard it as perhaps the closest we'll ever come to hearing an ideal performance of Il Trovatore, perfectly cast with legendary singers who seem to top even their very best performances during this matinee broadcast live from the Metropolitan Opera. This release, drawn from our small cache of amazing high-quality Met Opera source discs will exceed your highest expectations from any operatic recording of this era. Sensational singing, sensational sound quality, and a sensational overall performance of an all-time classic. Unbeatable!

"An A-B comparison of this with the Sony set is shocking. The difference is not subtle. The Sony set sounds like a 1940 AM broadcast. This sounds like a professional studio commercial recording from 1940, and a good one at that. Pristine’s XR stereo remastering gives a sense of the space of the Met, and the result is thrilling in a way one never thought this performance would be."
- Fanfare on a previous Pristine issue from similar source material (PACO125

Manrico - Jussi Björling
Leonora - Norina Greco
Count Di Luna - Frank Valentino
Azucena - Bruna Castagna
Ferrando - Nicola Moscona

Orchestra & Chorus of the Metropolitan Opera
Ferruccio Calusio, conductor

Live broadcast recording, 1941
PACO134 (2hr 16:13 - 2CDs)


Birgit Nilsson's triumphant New York debut with Karl Böhm conducting Tristan and Isolde

"Birgit Nilsson filled the Metropolitan Opera House last night with the glory of the finest Isolde since the unforgettable days of Kirsten Flagstad two decades ago. In her New York debut the Swedish soprano assumed one of the most demanding roles in the repertory and charged it with power and exaltation. With a voice of extraordinary size, suppleness and brilliance, she dominated the stage and the performance. Isolde's fury and Isolde's passion were as consuming as cataclysms of nature."
- New York Times, front page, 19 December 1959

STOP PRESS! Birgit Nilsson's all-conquering New York debut on 18 December 1959 in the role of Isolde literally made front page news, so great was the response to her stellar performance. It was a role she would come to call her own. Three weeks later that same production, conducted by Karl Böhm - also indelibly linked to Wagner's Tristan und Isolde - featured in a live matinee broadcast performance from the Metropolitan Opera.

"Her soprano has apparently limitless reserves of tone. In a range well over two octaves, no note loses its quality, and high C's emerge with stunning impact."
- New York Times 

This release, drawn from two excellent source recordings and XR remastered for Pristine by Andrew Rose, brings you the full impact of Wagner's drama and Nilsson's game-changing performance in superb sound quality.

"In recent years Wagner's music-dramas have had few performances at the Met. Cassandras declared that Wagner was finished. He is far from finished. There is nothing wrong with him that a sovereign singer like Miss Nilsson will not help to cure."
- New York Times

WAGNER Tristan und Isolde

Tristan - Ramon Vinay
Isolde - Birgit Nilsson

Orchestra & Chorus of the Metropolitan Opera
Karl Böhm, conductor

Live broadcast recording, 1960
PACO135 (3hr 22:30 - 3 CDs)

Pristine Classical - what the reviewers say:

These transfers represent such clean, careful, and intelligent work that they still demand to be heard" - Fanfare
"Pristine Audio is to be commended for their stunning remastering" - Classical CD Review
"Recording quality such as could only be dreamed of back then..." - MusicWeb International
"The Pristine sound has a clarity, body, presence and focus..." - International Record Review
"Quite a revelation - they've done an amazing job!" - CD Review, BBC Radio Three
"Studio 8-H is transformed into a free, open space, as beautifully atmospheric as the originals were dead" - Classical Recordings Quarterly
"The SACD was nice, but next to the Pristine remasterings, the piano was rather wooden-sounding and somewhat opaque..." - Audiophile Audition

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