MENGELBERG The Concertgebouw Telefunken Recordings, Vol. 3 (1938-40) - PASC686

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MENGELBERG The Concertgebouw Telefunken Recordings, Vol. 3 (1938-40) - PASC686

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BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 4
BRAHMS Symphony No. 2
TCHAIKOVSKY 1812 Overture
music by Valerius, Dopper, R. Mengelberg, Andriessen

Studio recordings, 1938-1940
Total duration: 2hr 4:49

Jo Vincent, soprano
Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam
conducted by Willem Mengelberg

This set contains the following albums:

In celebration of the 150th anniversary of the birth of Willem Mengelberg (28 March 1871), Pristine continues its series of releases surveying the conductor’s recordings with the Concertgebouw Orchestra for Telefunken, the label for which he made the bulk of his commercial discs. They are being presented in roughly chronological order, with this third volume featuring recordings Mengelberg made in 1938 and 1940.

On 1 December 1938, immediately following the Debussy Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun which concluded our previous set, Mengelberg recorded the two works which begin the present program. Somewhat surprisingly, it was the first time he had recorded any Dutch music with the Concertgebouw Orchestra, and the only occasion on which he made a 10-inch disc with that ensemble. The first track features the Dutch national anthem in an arrangement by the conductor, followed by Valerius’ “Dutch Prayer of Thanksgiving” (best known outside of the Netherlands as the hymn “We Gather Together”) orchestrated by Wagenaar.

Finishing out the session, Mengelberg began recording the Beethoven Fourth Symphony, concluding it the following day. It was a new addition to his discography of the composer, and differs from the broadcast of 25 April 1940 (on Pristine PASC 236) mainly in its lack of repeats in the third movement in order to fit it on a single side.

Mengelberg and his orchestra would not stand before Telefunken’s microphones again for another 16 months. He returned for four days of sessions in April, 1940, the first three of which were mainly taken up with the Brahms Second. It was the last of the composer’s symphonies that he would record, after the Third (for Columbia, now on PASC 616) in 1932 and the Fourth in 1938 (PASC 664). The First would only be preserved via a live radio performance from 1940 (PASC 221).

The three Dutch compositions which begin the second disc here were recorded the day after the Brahms sessions were completed. In addition to the well over a hundred works he composed, Cornelius Dopper was also assistant conductor of the Concertgebouw Orchestra from 1908 to 1931. His Ciaconna Gotica, considered by many to be his masterpiece, was premièred in 1920, and attracted the interest of Leopold Stokowski, who gave its first American performance in Philadelphia six years later. Mengelberg’s recording was made just seven months after Dopper’s death, probably as a tribute to the composer.

Rudolf Mengelberg was Willem’s nephew, and studied composition under him and Dopper. His setting of Salve Regina and the Hendrik Andreissen song which was the recording’s “filler” side were the only issued studio recordings Mengelberg and the Concertgebouw made with a soloist. (His set of the Tchaikovsky First Piano Concerto with Hansen was done with the Berlin Philharmonic, and all other Mengelberg recordings with soloists stem from broadcasts.) Jo Vincent was a frequent partner in the conductor’s performances, singing a wide range of works from Bach ( St. Matthew Passion) to Brahms (A German Requiem, on PACO 012) to Mahler (Symphony No. 4, PASC 055).

The Tchaikovsky “1812” Overture which concludes our program was actually recorded at the tail end of the Brahms Second sessions. Even without a chorus or cannons, it remains one of the most exciting – and musical – performances of the work ever made, and has been placed here to provide a rousing conclusion to our program.

The sources for the transfers were German and French Telefunken 78 rpm shellac pressings from the original masters.

Mark Obert-Thorn

MENGELBERG The Concertgebouw Telefunken Recordings, Vol. 3 (1938-40)

CD 1 (74:27)

1. TRADITIONAL Wilhelmus van Nassouwe (orch. Mengelberg) (2:20)
Recorded 1 December 1938 ∙ Matrix: 023717-I ∙ First issued on Telefunken NK 1965

2. VALERIUS Niederländisches Dankgebet (orch. Wagenaar) (1:58)
Recorded 1 December 1938 ∙ Matrix: 023718 ∙ First issued on Telefunken NK 1965

BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 4 in B flat major, Op. 60
3. 1st Mvt.: Adagio – Allegro vivace (9:10)
4. 2nd Mvt.: Adagio (11:29)
5. 3rd Mvt.: Allegro vivace (4:52)
6. 4th Mvt.: Allegro ma non troppo (7:32)
Recorded 1-2 December 1938 ∙ Matrices: 023719/26 ∙ First issued on Telefunken SK 2794/7

BRAHMS Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 73
7. 1st Mvt.: Allegro non troppo (13:11)
8. 2nd Mvt.: Adagio non troppo (9:31)
9. 3rd Mvt.: Allegretto grazioso (5:08)
10. 4th Mvt.: Allegro con spirito (9:11)
Recorded 9-11 April 1940 ∙ Matrices: 024858/67 ∙ First issued on Telefunken SK 3075/9

CD 2 (50:21)

1. DOPPER Ciaconna gotica (19:34)
Recorded 12 April 1940 ∙ Matrices: 024876, 024877, 024878-II, 024879 & 024880 ∙ First issued on Telefunken SK 3155/7

2. R. MENGELBERG Salve Regina (11:03)
Jo Vincent (soprano)
Recorded 12 April 1940 · Matrices: 024882/4 · First issued on Telefunken SK 3084/5

3. ANDRIESSEN Magna res est amor (4:11)
Jo Vincent (soprano)
Recorded 12 April 1940 · Matrix: 024885 · First issued on Telefunken SK 3085

4. TCHAIKOVSKY Ouverture solennelle ‘1812’ (15:32)
Recorded 11 April 1940 ∙ Matrices: 024872/5 ∙ First issued on Telefunken SK 3080/1

Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam
conducted by Willem Mengelberg

Producer and Audio Restoration Engineer: Mark Obert-Thorn
Special thanks to Nathan Brown and Charles Niss for providing source material
All recordings made in the Grote Zaal, Concertgebouw, Amsterdam

Total duration: 2hr 4:49