For the month of October, the Classics a Day team turned nostalgic. Classical musicians have been making recordings since the 1890s. So we all have over 130 years of documented performance practices. And we can judge first-hand the artistry of legendary performers.
The challenge is to post classical recordings made before 1949 (pre-LP era). Here are my posts for the first ten days of the #ClassicsaDay theme #ClassicalTimeMachine.
10/01/20 Claude Debussy: Claire de Lune (rec. 1913)
This is one of 14 pieces Debussy recorded on a Welte-Mignon reproducing piano. The machine encoded pedaling, dynamics and phrasing for piano roll reproduction.
10/02/20 Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 2 (rec. 1924)
In January 1924 Sergei Rachmaninoff recorded his concerto with Leopold Stokowski. Because of recording limitations, a reduced orchestra was used, with bass sax replacing contrabasses, and contra-bassoon replacing timpani.
10/05/20 Ludwig van Beethoven – Piano Concerto No. 5 (1944)
This recording was made in 1944 Berlin while the city was being bombed around the clock. Walter Gieseking is the soloist, and the Grosses Berliner Rundfunkorchester is conducted by Arthur Rother. At about 2:30 and 5:40 the sound of antiaircraft guns can be heard in the background.
10/06/20 Josef Suk – String Quartet Op. 11 (1928)
The Bohemian String Quartet (previously the Czech String Quartet) was founded in 1891. These 78 RPMs preserve the late-Romantic style of string playing that composers like Suk and Dvorak had in mind when they composed for quartets.
10/07/20 Mozart “Der Holle Rache” from The Magic Flute (1937-38)
Sir Thomas Beecham recorded the complete music to the Magic Flute with Berlin Philharmonic. The set consisted of 19 78-rpm discs. Erna Berger was the Queen of the Night, with Helge Roswaenge, Tiana Lemnitz, Gerhard Hursh, and Irma Beilka rounding out the cast.
10/08/20 Massenet: Meditation from Thais (1910)
Fritz Kreisler recorded several sides for Victor in 1910. These were acoustic recordings, with Kreisler standing very close to a large horn that funneled the sound down to the cutter that inscribed it on the platter.
10/09/20 Mozart: Marriage of Figaro Overture (1913)
Arthur Nikisch was the first conductor to record a complete symphony. This overture was recorded in 1913 fro HMV with a stripped down London Symphony Orchestra.