PRITCHARD in Edinburgh: Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Nono, Debussy (1962) - PASC499

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PRITCHARD in Edinburgh: Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Nono, Debussy (1962) - PASC499

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MOZART  Symphony No. 31, "Paris"
TCHAIKOVSKY Romeo and Juliet Love Duet (in English)
NONO  Canti di vita e d’amore: Sul ponte di Hiroshima
DEBUSSY  Nocturnes

Live stereo concert recording, 1962
Total duration: 78:30

Marie Collier, soprano
Dorothy Dorow,
Richard Lewis,
London Symphony Orchestra

John Pritchard
, conductor

This set contains the following albums:

This final of three visits to the 1962 Edinburgh Festival brings yet another "new" conductor to the Pristine catalogue, John Pritchard. Wikipedia tells us he was "known for his interpretations of Mozart operas and for his support of contemporary music", and whilst he was instrumental at the Glyndebourne Festival Opera for much of his life he did also take up posts as musical director of the London Philharmonic in the 1960s and later as chief conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra.

Here we find him with the London Symphony Orchestra, and perhaps appropriately enough, conducting both Mozart and a contemporary work by Luigi Nono. In fact it is perhaps the latter for which this release is the most important - Nono's "Canti di vita e d’amore: Sul ponte di Hiroshima" was commissioned for the Edinburgh Festival and this excellent stereo recording of its world première performance may also be the first full commercial release of the work. (I've not been able to confirm this but I believe the central unaccompanied soprano solo section has been previously issued.)

The recording was made by the BBC Transcription Service most probably for distribution to American broadcasters rather than domestic transmission; announcements suggest two "programmes" were prepared, with the Debussy Nocturnes separate from the rest of the concert. I've retained most of the original announcements, though some trimming of these and lengthy audience applause was necessary to ensure the full recording could be accommodated on a single CD.     

Andrew Rose

BBC Radio Introduction  (0:48)

MOZART  Symphony No. 31 in D, K.297/300a, "Paris"
1st mvt. - Allegro assai  (7:51)
2nd mvt. - Andante  (6:47)
3rd mvt. - Allegro  (4:29)

TCHAIKOVSKY Romeo and Juliet - Love Duet  (15:25)
Marie Collier, soprano
Richard Lewis, tenor

NONO  Canti di vita e d’amore: Sul ponte di Hiroshima

1. Sul ponte di Hiroshima  (8:21)
2. Djamila Boupachà  (3:48)
3. Tu  (8:01)
Dorothy Dorow, soprano
Richard Lewis, tenor

DEBUSSY  Nocturnes
1. Nuages  (6:56)
2. Fêtes  (6:22)
3. Sirènes  (9:42)
Edinburgh Royal Choral Union

London Symphony Orchestra
John Pritchard,

XR remastering by Andrew Rose
Cover artwork based on a photograph of Edinburgh Castle
Live concert recording: Edinburgh Festival. Usher Hall, Edinburgh, August 22, 1962
Recorded by BBC Transcription Services

Total duration:  78:30

On Wednesday the LSO, conducted by John Pritchard, performed for the first time a cantata by Luigi Nono called “Sul Ponte di Hiroshima.” It is composed for soprano, tenor, and orchestra, and is a setting of the German Gunther Anders’s “The Man on the Bridge,” translated into Italian, with an interpolation for soprano solo in Spanish. The poem tells us that “they must not just lie around, their death is not death in the usual sense but a warning to be passed on.” It ends with “A door will open. The tumult of the streets will be the tumult in my heart in the light of the morning. . . .” There was certainly tumult in the orchestra. But Nono has undoubtedly set his serious text seriously. He aims at finding an expression of pity, horror, awakening dawn and hope, by a sort of instrumental onomatopoeia. The violins pressed down their strings and hit them with their hands. There is a clever amalgam of slitherings and harmonics. The brass trumpets like wounded elephants. There are pretty tinklings of bells. Occasionally there are sounds of a furniture removal. The solo voices wail, sometimes with an indefinable pathos. But frankly I don’t pretend to understand this score as music. Not as music of the kind on which I can speak with some authority.

It may have genius, potential or actual, though I suspect it is not more than a matter of an ingenius ear, plus naïve imagination. Richard Lewis, at this performance, did his best in the circumstances to make good the deficiency. And Dorothy Dow coped with her soprano parts successfully I imagine. But only Mr Pritchard is in a position to state with certainty how many of the notes written down on paper were reproduced in this performance in their right places, and order. And, probably, the composer himself.

Neville Cardus, The Guardian, 24 August 1962 (excerpt)

I Sul Ponte di Hiroshima [da Günther Anders, Essere o non essere Diario di Hiroshima e Nagasaki]

per soprano e tenore – orchestra

Essi non devono giacere
e basta.
la loro
non è una morte abituale
un monito,
un avvertimento.
su un ponte di Hiroshima
un uomo
pizzica le corde di uno strumento
e canta.
dove vi aspettate di trovare il volto,
non troverete un volto,
ma una cortina:
perché non ha più volto.
dove vi aspettate di trovare la mano,
non troverete una mano,
ma un artigilio d’acciaio:
perché non ha più mano.
finché non avremo esorcizzato il pericolo,
che alla sua prima manifestazione
portò via 200.000 uomini,
sarà su quel ponte
canterà la sua canzone.
sarà su tutti i ponti
che conducono al nostro futuro comune
come atto di accusa
come messaggero.
facciamo quanto occorre
per potergli dire:
non sei più necessario;
puoi lasciare il tuo posto.

II Djamila Boupachà [Canto di J. L. Pacheco, Esta Noche]

per soprano solo

Quitadme de los ojos esta niebla de siglos.
Quiero mirar las cosas
como un niño.
Es triste amanecer
y ver todo lo mismo.
Esta noche de sangre,
este fango infinito.
Ha de venir un día,
Ha de venir la luz,
creedme lo que os digo.

III Tu [Canto di Cesare Pavese, Passerò per Piazza di Spagna]

Sarà un cielo chiaro. S’apriranno le strade
sul colle di pini e di pietra.
Il tumulto delle strade
non muterà quell’aria ferma.
[I fiori spruzzati
di colore alle fontane
occhieggeranno come donne
divertite.] Le scale
le terrazze le rondini
canteranno nel sole.
S’aprirà quella strada,
le pietre canteranno,
il cuore batterà sussultando
come l’acqua nelle fontane—
sarà questa la voce
che salirà le tue scale.
[Le finestre sapranno
l’odore della pietra e dell’aria
mattutina.] S’aprirà una porta.
Il tumulto delle strade
sarà il tumulto del cuore
nella luce smarrita.

Sarai tu—ferma e chiara.