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As I understand it, Mercury's recording of any Szigeti was out of respect for Antal Dorati and for 
the long and warm relationship between Mercury and Dorati. Those recordings (and especially the 
editing sessions) were not remembered fondly by the Mercury team. Harold Lawrence gets the "take one 
for the team" star on that for doing the hundreds of required edits with a blade and tape and still 
ending up with a playable master.

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "John Haley" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Monday, February 11, 2013 1:14 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Mercury question for Tom Fine


>I have the 1959 Szigeti Brahms VC on a Japanese Philips CD (which I bought
> some years ago in Tokyo) and it is a painful recording that should never
> have been issued.  I am an unabashed Szigeti fan who will tolerate a
> certain amount of frailty and faltering in his later recordings, but this
> one is way over the line.  It is not listenable and does no credit to a
> great artist's career.  As a performance, it is not at all plausible; the
> concerto was simply beyond him at this point, no matter how many splices
> are there.
>
> There are a number of live Brahms Concerto recordings of Szigeti on CD,
> including those conducted by Ormandy, Mitropoulos and Munch, all far better
> than this.  The best, in my view, is the 1948 one conducted by Mitropoulos,
> which caught Szigeti in fine form, playing with power and beauty, and
> demonstrating in good measure his particular interpretive genius.  And his
> earlier commercial recording of the Brahms Concerto on 78's conducted by
> Hamilton Harty, is very fine, before his playing suffered any kind of
> decline.  In my experience, collectors who play the violin have little
> interest in Szigeti, while those of us who do not can appreciate his unique
> musical artistry without hesitation.  But not every recording by him is a
> treasure.
>
> Best,
> John Haley
>
>
> On Sun, Feb 10, 2013 at 11:01 PM, Randy Lane <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
>> I read a few comments on other forums that confirm your assessment about
>> Szigeti's technique. Also saw a few comments that WCF was very unhappy that
>> the Japanese reissued it and other ALP Szigeti recordings without her
>> involvement.
>> On Feb 10, 2013 7:39 PM, "Gray, Mike" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>
>> > I shouldn't reply before Tom, but I'm on a roll tonight ...
>> >
>> >
>> > Because Szigeti's technique by the late 50s was quite shaky, it took
>> > dozens of edits, sometimes within a run, to keep his violin part 'in
>> tune'.
>> > So far as I know, the Brahms was never issued on Golden Imports, and
>> > perhaps for that same reason, on Mercury American CD. The only LP/CD
>> issues
>> > are the Japanese ones taken from two-track mix-down tape.
>> >
>> >
>> > Mike G.
>> >
>>
>