WEBER: Der Freischütz
Elisabeth Grümmer (Agathe). Rita Streigh (Aennchen). Hans Hopf (Max). Alfred Poell (Ottokar). Karl Dönsch (Kilian). Oskar Czerwenka (Kuno). Kurt Bohme (Kaspar). Claus Clause (Samiel). Otto Edelmann (A Hermit). Vienna State Opera Chorus/Vienna Philharmonic Orch/Wilhelm Furtwängler, cond.
PRISTINE AUDIO PACO 122 (2 disks) T: 2:30:58

Renata Tebaldi (Tosca). Ferruccio Tagliavini (Cavardossi). TitoGobbi (Scarpia). Michael Langdon (Angelotti). HOwell Glynne (Sacristan). David Tree (Spoletta). Ronald Lewis (Scarrone). Royal Opera House Chorus and Orch/Francesco-Molinary Pradelli, cond.
PRISTINE AUDIO PACO 121 (2 disks) TT: 1:50:15

ENESCU: Rumanian Rhapsody No. 1. BORODIN: Polovtsian Dances from Prince Igor. DEBUSSY The Engulfed Cathedral. BAUER: Sun Splendor Op. 19C. BRITTEN: Piano Concerto. Op. 13.
Jacques Abraham, piano/New York Philharmonic/Leopold Stokowski, cond.
GUILD GHCD 2419 TT: 70:27

BACH-CAILLIET: Prelude and Fugue in F minor, BWV 535. Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring. Prelude from Partita No. 3 for Violin. "Little" Fugue in G minor BWV 578. PURCELL-\ (arr. Caillliet): Suite from Dido and Aeneas. TURINA-CAILLIET: Sacro-Monte from Give Gypsy Dances. MUSSORGSKY-CAILLIET: Pictures at an Exhibition .CAILLIET: Variations on "Pop! Goes the Weasel."
Philadelpha Orch/Eugene Ormandy (Bach/Mussorgsky). Leopold Stokowski ((Turina). Pittsburgh Symphony Orch/Friz Reiner (Bach "Little" Fugue). Boston "Pops" Orch/Arthur Fiedler (Cailliet).

Der Freischütz ("The Marksman") with a libretto by Friedrich Kingis is based on a German folk legend, and considered to the first major truly "German opera." It deals with the mystic and supernatural in a most descriptive way, with menacing hunting horns, visions of specters and ominous orchestral sounds.The convoluted plot focus on the insecure huntsman Max who makes a pact with the devil to obtain magic bullets that will always hit their target. This is vividly depicted in the famous Wolf's Glen Scene. His goal is to win the hand of Agathe, daughter of a forester named Cuno. The opera ends happily as Max and Agathe are to be married. This live performance is from the 1954 Salzburg Festival, a very special night indeed. The cast is uniformly strong, and the Vienna Philharmonic produces magnificent sounds and sonorities under Furtwängler's direction.17 tracks are identified, but there is no libretto. Pristine's remastering has worked wonders with the original recording.

This Tosca will delight the legion of admirers of Renata Tebaldi We hear a BBC broadcast of the second of two performances from the Royal Opera House, June 30. 1955. The soprano was at the height of her career. Two years earlier she had recorded the opera for Decca with Alberto Erede conducting, and in 1959 she would again record it for the same label, with Molinari-Pradelli on the podium. Also available are a number of live performances from various sources, and several videos including a 1961 German production (REVIEW). Tebaldi is in top form in this BBC broadcast, secure on all of those treacherous top notes (although sometimes a touch off patch). She is, indeed, an imperious heroine. Tagliavini's Cavaradossi is all stops out and quite thrilling, and of course r Tito Gobbi is the perfect Baron; two years earlier he had made his famous recording with Maria Callas. Audio is excellent. There are track listings, but no libretto.

Guild continues their memorable reissues of important live recordings by Leopold Stokowski with the New York Philharmonic and other orchestras, some never before issued. From a concert February 20, 1947 we hear a highly erratic reading of Enescu's Rumanian Rhapsody No. 1 in which he makes small cuts including omitting the final note (as he did in his RCA recording). From a concert November 27, 1949 we hear a group of dances from Prince Igor, tremendously exciting indeed. Then, from February 13, 1947 we hear the Maestro's transcription of Debussy's The Engulfed Cathedral, with rich sonorities well captured in the broadcast. Stokowski always championed new music and one of his efforts is evidenced in this performance of music of American composer Marion Bauer. (1882-1955). Bauer was a highly respected composer and teacher and wrote profusely primarily chamber music but orchestral works as well.Sun Splendor, in its orchestral version (completed by the conductor) had its world premiere at this concert. A rather brief work (9:40), it is of limited interest, but at least we have the opportunity to heart it. The major work on this disk is the first U.S. broadcast of Britten's remarkable piano concerto from a concert November 27, 1949 with Jacques Abram as soloist—an exciting performance. Audio throughout is remarkably good for the era; this is an important addition to the Stokowski discography.

French-American Lucian Cailliet (1891 - 1993) was a clarinetist, conductor and arranger who came to the U,S, in 1918l. He became staff arrange4r and a clarinetist with the Philadelphia Orchestra. He also conducted several bands and became known for his orchestral arrangements. In 1937 he arranged Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition, recorded by the Philadelphia Orchestra and Eugene Ormandy who had commissioned it., We also have four works of Bach and Purcell, as well as his famous arrangement of Variations on Pop! Goe3s the Weasel, which also is on this CD, with Arthur Fiedler and the Boston "Pops." It It has been suggested that Cailliet might have been involved in some of Stokowski's countless transcriptions. At any rate, Cailliet was a major figure on the early 20th Century music scene, and it is good to have some of his work available in these superb transfers.

R.E.B. (Julyh 2015)