"The Birth and Rise of the Recording Industry in Canada" - From Berliner to RCA Victor

BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 1 in C, Op. 21. Symphony No. 2 in D, Op. 36. MOZART: Symphony No. 35 in D, K. 385 "Haffner."
Detroit Symphony Orch/Paul Paray, cond;

BEETHOVEN: Symphony No.6 in F, Op. 68 "Pastorale." Symphony No. 7 in A, Op. 92.
Detroit Symphony Orch/Paul Paray, cond.

STRAUSS: Der Rosenkavalier (excerpts)
Lotte Lehmann (Feldmarschallin); Richard Mayr (Badon Ochs); Maria Olszewska (Octavian); Elisabeth Schumann (Sophie); Victor Madin (Faninal); Änne Michalsky (Marianne); Bella Paalen (Anina); Vienna State Opera Chorus; Vienna Philharmonic Orch/Robert Heger, cond.
PRISTINE AUDIO PACO 036 (2 disks) TT: 59:48 & 38:42

In 2008, the Emile Berliner Museum of Montreal presented an exhibit called Montreal, Cradle of the Recording Industry. Gala's CD commemorates this exhibit about the history of sound recording in Canada. Berliner was the first Canadian recording company and also founded The Gramophone Company (later EMI) in England, Deutsche Grammophon in Germany, and Victor Talking Machine Company in the United States. This CD contains the voice of Berliner recorded in 1924, and many early recordings of the time, all pop and cabaret songs. Fascinating to hear these recordings, a few made more than a century ago, although most are much more recent. A handsome booklet with photographs accompanies the CD with notes in French and English as well as detailed information about all performers.

Paul Paray was conductor of the Detroit Symphony from 1951 to 1962 and built the orchestra into a superb ensemble. He made many recordings for Mercury, many of which are of highest merit, particularly in French repertory. His fame will not be helped by these Beethoven and Mozart performances, all made before Mercury began their stereo recordings in Detroit. Earliest is Symphony No. 7 (February 1953), followed by Symphony No. 6 (November 1954), Mozart 35 (October 1956), and Beethoven Nos. 1 & 2 (January 1959). There's nothing here of particular interest; these are lively performances, with a perfunctory reading of the Pastorale. The mono recordings are well-balanced but dry and lacking bass. For Paray admirers only.

Pristine has now issued one of the most famous opera recordings ever made, the 1933 abridged version of Der Rosenkavalier made in Vienna with some of the most famous interpreters of the leading roles as listed above. Strauss was to have conducted, but his high fee prohibited this, so Robert Hegar took over. This is an essential recording for lovers of the opera but this Pristine Audio issue offers only the abbreviated opera with a total playing time of about 100 minutes with no fillers. It is surprising that this new issue doesn't have them. Surely the CD of this recording to have is Marc Obert-Thorn's superb transfer issued in Europe some years ago in the Naxos Historical series (8.110191/92) which also contains more than 43 minutes of Rosenkavalier excerpts also performed by legendary singers.

All of the Pristine Audio CDs can be obtained from PRISTINE AUDIO

R.E.B. (January 2010)