FREDERICK STOCK and The Chicago Symphony, Volume 2 (1925-1929) - PASC684

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FREDERICK STOCK and The Chicago Symphony, Volume 2 (1925-1929) - PASC684

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BACH Orchestral Suite No. 2
DOHNÁNYI Suite in F-sharp minor
SCHUMANN Symphony No., "Spring"
TCHAIKOVSKY Symphony No. 5
music by Dvořák, Glazunov, Glinka, Smenata, Strauss, Suk, Wagner

Studio recordings, 1925-29
Total duration: 2hr 34:06

Chicago Symphony Orchestra
conducted by Frederick Stock

This set contains the following albums:

This release is the second in a series devoted to longtime Chicago Symphony Orchestra music director Frederick Stock, inaugurated to celebrate the 150th anniversary of his birth in 1872. All of Stock’s symphonic recordings will be featured in upcoming volumes (his four concerto recordings have already been well-covered on CD reissues), presented for the most part in the order in which they were recorded. Several items have not been available since the 78-rpm era (here, the Dvořák, Glinka, Glazunov and Smetana works). The Strauss waltz is making its CD/digital debut, while the 1925 recording of the Suk is being released for the first time.

We depart from our chronological presentation for our opening two selections. The Bach was recorded immediately after the Glinka; but as the only Baroque-era item on our program, it seemed to fit better as the opening number. Stock’s approach, though still using a large orchestra with modern instruments, anticipates later “HIP” trends toward swifter tempi, and diverges from the more monumental contemporaneous Bach recordings of Mengelberg in the same score (in Pristine PASC 595) and Stokowski in the Brandenburg Second (although the mad dash through the Bourées sounds as though it was at least partially dictated by side length restrictions).

Following this is a rarity: the first publication of an unissued recording by Stock and the CSO. During their December, 1925 sessions, this Intermezzo from Josef Suk’s Fairy Tale Suite was recorded on a 10-inch side with a reduced orchestra in a small venue. No coupling for it was taken down at the time, so it was not immediately released. A year to the day later, the piece was re-recorded in Symphony Hall with the full orchestra on a 12-inch side, and the earlier version was forgotten. It did not surface in time to be included in its proper place in our previous volume (but better 98 years late than never!) Hearing it next to its remake allows us to appreciate the advancement that electrical recording techniques had made in just one year.

Perhaps because of the over-reverberant acoustics of Orchestra Hall in the 1926 recordings, sessions for the following two years were moved to the smaller Goodman Theatre. The orchestra’s entire recording schedule for 1927 was devoted to a single work: the Tchaikovsky Fifth Symphony. The resulting album, though tonally full and detailed, was problematic, due to the frequent “gain-riding” of the recording engineer, which resulted in sudden volume changes throughout each side. (I have attempted to undo these manipulations in the present transfer.) Additionally, shortly after the album was released, the first side of the last movement was dubbed to avoid blasting when played using the heavy pickups of the day. An undubbed original Orthophonic pressing of this side was used here, while the rest of the sides came from quieter “Gold”-era pressings from the set’s reissue on Victor’s budget “Black Label” series (album G-4). (The Luftpause heard at 3:58 in the first movement is not a side-join error, but rather an interpretive mannerism Stock intended, as he repeats it in the middle of a side later on at 9:48.)

At a time when not all of the Beethoven and Brahms symphonies were yet represented in the Victor catalog, it was an adventurous choice to record Dohnányi’s 1909 Suite in F-sharp, a work whose wide range (from a Brahmsian set of variations to a bravura, castanet-accompanied finale) seems to fit Stock and his ensemble to a “T”. The Wagner arrangement was made by Theodore Thomas, the Chicago Symphony's founder and Stock's predecessor as principal conductor. The Schumann Symphony was the only Stock/Chicago recording here to gain an “official” CD release on RCA, although that was marred by a notably sharp transfer (A4=450). The corrected speed here allows us to appreciate the performance in a less-hectic aspect than previously presented.

Mark Obert-Thorn

FREDERICK STOCK and The Chicago Symphony, Volume 2

CD 1 (76:59)

J. S. BACH Suite No. 2 in B minor, BWV 1067
1. Ouverture: Grave; Allegro (7:32)
2. Rondeau: Allegro (1:40)
3. Sarabande: Andante (1:27)
4. Bourées I and II (1:29)
5. Polonaise: Moderato(2:33)
6. Menuet: Allegretto (0:37)
7. Badinerie: Allegro (1:27)
Ernest Liegl (flute)

Recorded 17 December 1928 ∙ Matrices: CVE 48765-2, 48766-2, 48767-3 & 48768-2 ∙ First issued on Victor 6914/5

8. SUK Intermezzo: Playing at Swans and Peacocks (No. 2 from Fairy Tale Suite, Op. 16) (first recording) (3:37)
Recorded 22 December 1925 ∙ Matrix: BVE 34069-1 ∙ Previously unpublished

9. SUK Intermezzo: Playing at Swans and Peacocks (No. 2 from Fairy Tale Suite, Op. 16) (second recording) (3:42)
Recorded 22 December 1926 ∙ Matrix: CVE 34069-2 ∙ First issued on Victor 6649

10. DVOŘÁK Slavonic Dance No. 8 in G minor, Op. 46 (4:05)
Recorded 22 December 1926 ∙ Matrix: CVE 37284-2 ∙ First issued on Victor 6649

TCHAIKOVSKY Symphony No. 5 in E minor
11. 1st Mvt. – Andante – Allegro con anima (14:03)
12. 2nd Mvt. – Andante cantabile, con alcuna licenza (13:27)
13. 3rd Mvt. – Valse: Allegro Moderato (6:29)
14. 4th Mvt. – Andante maestoso – Allegro vivace (9:59)
Recorded 19-20 December 1927 ∙ Matrices: CVE 41382-5, 41383-4, 41384-2, 41385-2, 41386-2, 41387-1, 41388-2, 41389-2, 41390-3, 41391-1, 41392-3 & 41393-3 ∙ First issued on Victor 6777/82 in album M-25

15. GLINKA Russlan and Ludmilla – Overture (4:44)
Recorded 17 December 1928 ∙ Matrix: CVE 48764-2 ∙ First issued on Victor 7123

CD 2 (77:07)

DOHNÁNYI Suite in F-sharp minor, Op. 19

1. 1st Mvt. – Andante con variazioni (9:29)
2. 2nd Mvt. – Scherzo: Allegretto vivace (4:16)
3. 3rd Mvt. – Romanza: Andante poco mosso – Poco più mosso – Tempo I (4:38)
4. 4th Mvt. – Rondo: Allegro vivace – Andante – Tempo I (7:21)
Recorded 18-19 December 1928 ∙ Matrices: CVE 48769-2, 48770-1, 48771-2, 48772-3, 48773-2 & 48774-2 ∙ First issued on Victor 6991/3 in album M-47

5. GLAZUNOV Pas d’action (from Scènes de ballet, Op. 52) (4:29)
Recorded 19 December 1928 ∙ Matrix: CVE 48775-1 ∙ First issued on Victor 7309 in album M-86

6. WAGNER (arr. T. Thomas) Träume (No. 5 from Wesendonck Lieder (4:16)
Recorded 19 December 1928 ∙ Matrix: CVE 48776-1 ∙ First issued on Victor 7123

7. J. STRAUSS II Du und du (Waltzes from Die Fledermaus) (6:16)
Recorded 17 December 1929 ∙ Matrices: BVE 57266-4 & 57267-3 ∙ First issued on Victor 1481

8. SMETANA The Bartered Bride - Overture (6:40)
Recorded 17 December 1929 ∙ Matrices: BVE 57268-3 & 57269-3 ∙ First issued on Victor 1555

SCHUMANN Symphony No. 1 in B-flat major, Op. 38, “Spring”
9. 1st Mvt. – Andante un poco maestoso (9:57)
10. 2nd Mvt. – Larghetto (5:58)
11. 3rd Mvt. – Scherzo (5:11)
12. 4th Mvt. – Allegro animato e grazioso (8:29)
Recorded 17-18 December 1929 ∙ Matrices: CVE 57270-3, 57271-1, 57272-2, 57273-2, 57274-3, 57275-2 & 57276-1 ∙ First issued on Victor 7306/9 in album M-86

Frederick Stock ∙ Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Producer and Audio Restoration Engineer: Mark Obert-Thorn

Recording locations:
Webster Hotel Ballroom, Chicago (1925)
Orchestra Hall, Chicago (1926, 1929)
Goodman Theatre, Chicago (1927, 1928)

Total duration: 2hr 34:06