STRAVINSKY Rarities (1916-1938) - PASC496

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STRAVINSKY Rarities (1916-1938) - PASC496

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STRAVINSKY  The Firebird
STRAVINSKY  The Rite of Spring
MOZART  Fugue in C minor

Studio recordings, 1916-1938
Total duration: 77:57

Beecham Symphony Orchestra ∙ Sir Thomas Beecham
Royal Albert Hall Orchestra ∙ Sir Eugene Goossens
Berlin State Opera Orchestra ∙ Oskar Fried
The Philadelphia Orchestra ∙ Leopold Stokowski
Igor Stravinsky,
Soulima Stravinsky,

This set contains the following albums:

Rare and Previously Unissued recordings of and by Stravinsky
A remarkable archive of recordings in fabulous new transfers

The present program brings together several première recordings of works by Stravinsky as well as some first releases, including the composer’s earliest extant discs and the first attempt to record The Rite of Spring. Along with other recordings which have already appeared on Pristine, this release also completes the reissue of all acoustically-recorded Stravinsky orchestral works.

Early in his career, Sir Thomas Beecham was noted for his championing of such cutting-edge music as Strauss’ Salome. It is not surprising in this context that he recorded excerpts from Stravinsky’s Firebird a mere six years after its première. As in all of the acoustic recordings presented here, the reduced forces and balance dictated by distance from the recording horn allow us to hear, intentionally or not, inner voices that are not generally noticeable. The sound on the original disc has a remarkable amount of detail for a recording that is now over a century old.

At a time when even major symphonies were still being recorded in heavily cut versions, it is remarkable that Eugene Goossens was allowed to record Petrushka complete. The sequence of matrix numbers suggests that originally, only four sides comprising Tableaux 1 and 4, concluding with the concert ending, were contemplated, but that another four were added to complete the set a month after the initial session.

Further acoustic versions of the Firebird Suite followed Beecham’s – first, from Albert Coates (of the 1911 arrangement, on PASC 303), then from Leopold Stokowski (the familiar 1919 version, on PASC 192). Oskar Fried’s late acoustic version from 1925 differs from his electrical remake of three years later (PASC 392) by a much faster tempo taken in the Introduction – a choice not dictated by 78 rpm side timing limitations, as the final side, running over four and a half minutes, proves.

Philip Stuart’s Stravinsky discography mentions that the composer’s first recording was of his Octet, made privately in 1923; it was never released, an all test pressings are lost. His next attempt was made for the Brunswick company two years later during an American tour. Four sides were recorded of Stravinsky playing his solo piano works; but, coming at the very end of the acoustic era, they were never released.

Stravinsky kept his test pressings, and a tape copy of them has circulated which was the basis of this restoration. Some of the originals are in fairly good condition, but others are dire, indeed (particularly Side 3). The fourth side must have had a chip broken off affecting half of the disc; it fades up on the second of three selections. They are presented for the sake of archival completeness. Brunswick allotted a separate matrix number for each take; and since we do not know the take used for each transfer, all of them have been listed here.

Stokowski made the first attempt at recording The Rite of Spring in April, 1927. Three sides were taken down, and the recording ledgers indicate these were done for test purposes only and not intended to be released. The differences with his 1929/30 issued recording are striking, with much faster tempos being favored here.

The final selection shows Stravinsky in a rare role as interpreter of another composer’s music. This Mozart duet with his son, Soulima, the filler side to their set of Stravinsky’s Concerto for Two Solo Pianos, was recorded in 1938 but not released until 1951 and never “officially” reissued on CD.

Mark Obert-Thorn

The Firebird – Suite (1911 version – excerpts)

1 Dance of the Firebird (1:07)

2 Game of the Princesses with the Golden Apples (2:28)

3 Infernal Dance of all Kaschei’s Subjects (3:47)

Beecham Symphony Orchestra ∙ Sir Thomas Beecham

Recorded April or May, 1916 in the Columbia Petty France Studios, London

Matrix nos.: 6797-1 & 6799-1 (Columbia L 1040)


4 First Tableau: The Shrovetide Fair (8:18)

5 Second Tableau: Petrushka’s Room (3:30)

6 Third Tableau: The Moor’s Room (6:19)

7 Fourth Tableau: The Shrovetide Fair (Toward Evening) (12:10)

Royal Albert Hall Orchestra ∙ Sir Eugene Goossens

Recorded 21 December 1923 & 15 January 1924 in Rooms 1 & 2, HMV Studios, Hayes

Matrix nos.: Cc 4013-1, 4014-4, 4077-2, 4078-1, 4079-3, 4015-2, 4016-2 & 4080-2

(HMV D 853/6)

The Firebird – Suite (1919 version)

8 Introduction (2:07)

9 Dance of the Firebird (1:06)

10 Round Dance of the Princesses (4:09)

11 Infernal Dance of all Kaschei’s Subjects (3:45)

12 Lullaby of the Firebird (Berceuse) (2:34)

13 Finale (2:12)

Berlin State Opera Orchestra ∙ Oskar Fried

Recorded 1925 in Berlin

Matrix nos.: 1917 ½ as, 1930 ½ as, 1931 as & 1938 ½ as (Grammophon/Polydor 69776/7)

14 Andantino (No. 1 from Les cinq doigts) (0:52)

15 Moderato (No. 5 from Les cinq doigts) (0:44)

16 Allegro (No. 2 from Les cinq doigts) (1:14)

Recorded 11 March 1925 in Brunswick Studio No. 2, New York City

Matrix no.: 15131 or 15132 or 15133 (Previously unpublished)

17 Larghetto (No. 4 from Les cinq doigts) (1:25)

18 Lento (No. 6 from Les cinq doigts) (0:52)

19 Vivo (No. 7 from Les cinq doigts) (0:53)

Recorded 11 March 1925 in Brunswick Studio No. 2, New York City

Matrix no.: 15134 or 15135 or 15136 (Previously unpublished)

20 Pesante (No. 8 from Les cinq doigts) (1:13)

21 Valse (No. 2 from Three Easy Pieces) (1:44)

Recorded 12 March 1925 in Brunswick Studio No. 2, New York City

Matrix no.: 15137 or 15138 or 15139 (Previously unpublished)

22 Valse pour les enfants (fragment) (0:26)

23 Polka (No. 3 from Three Easy Pieces) (1:01)

Recorded 12 March 1925 in Brunswick Studio No. 2, New York City

Matrix no.: 15140 or 15141 or 15142 or 15143 (Previously unpublished)

Igor Stravinsky (piano)

The Rite of Spring

24 Part I: The Adoration of the Earth (beginning) (9:22)

The Philadelphia Orchestra ∙ Leopold Stokowski

Recorded 7 April 1927 in the Academy of Music, Philadelphia

Matrix nos.: CVE 37471-1, 37472-1 & 37473-1 (Previously unpublished)

25 MOZART: Fugue in C minor, K426 (4:39)

Igor Stravinsky and Soulima Stravinsky (pianos)

Recorded 16 February 1938 in the Pathé-Marconi Studios, Paris

Matrix no.: CLX 2043-1 (Columbia LFX 953)

Producer and Audio Restoration Engineer: Mark Obert-Thorn

Special thanks to Peter Bay, Michael Gartz, Edward Johnson, Richard Kaplan and David Schmutz for providing source material

Total Timing: 77:57