À propos the above comments, it was Doráti who conducted the MSO in the
local premiere of Mahler's Third (I believe the year was 1953), but
Mitropoulos had earlier recorded the First and Ormandy did an important
"Resurrection" there, recorded in concert by Victor in 1935. Steve
Smolian's recollection of academic opposition to Mahler is important to
note; however, Mahler was played by the larger U.S. orchestras,
sporadically but regularly from the teens on. Ernst Kunwald led a
performance of the Third in Cincinnati (May Festival) in 1913.
Unquestionably, Mahler was a beneficiary of the long-playing record, even
before stereo, with important recordings by Scherchen, Adler, Rosbaud, etc.


On Mon, Sep 22, 2014 at 2:24 PM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>

> Hi Don:
> Mercury didn't adhere to any "standard canon of classical music" except in
> that Paray and Dorati both liked Beethoven and Dorati liked Brahms and
> Tchaikovsky so those composers were well represented. Otherwise, Dorati
> made plenty of records of Hungarian, Russian, Czech and other Eastern
> European composers, plus an on-going series of well-received American and
> European modern-classical composers. Paray usually stuck to French music
> and Romantic era classical. Hanson was all about modern American music, for
> the most part. Fennell was into a variety of things from marches to "pops"
> to wind arrangements of symphonic music. None of this was "standard canon,"
> and it was Mercury's main point of difference (note that there is not a
> complete Beethoven cycle on Mercury Living Presence, never a 9th recorded
> and no released stereo 4th or 8th; if I recall correctly one of Dorati's
> Brahms symphonies was mono-only too). I would say the reason no Mahler was
> recorded was that none of Mercury's conductors or orchestras performed or
> advocated Mahler, the exception being Barbirolli (who was actually under
> contract with Pye). It's also worth noting that Walter and Bernstein
> started making well-received Mahler recordings in the "golden era" (late
> mono/early stereo LP era). No sane record producer would spend very many
> resources competing with Columbia's Bernstein publicity machine. Columbia
> and RCA were much more obsessed with recording every note of every piece
> from Beethoven to the 20th century, "standard canon" material, usually by
> multiple conductors and orchestras. Finally, it's worth noting that Dorati
> brought forth a lot of new-to-recordings material from Tchaikovsky like
> original scoring for the ballets, first recording of "1812" as it was
> originally conceived, first recording of the complete Suites. Dorati also
> premiere-recorded several modern pieces. Hanson's recording tally is full
> of premieres by the very nature of his American Music Festivals. Fennell
> hunted down original band music never recorded and not heard since the
> original bands, including Confederate sheet music found in attics for "The
> Civil War" albums. None of this is "standard canon of classical music" by
> any stretch. Mercury buyers were not wanting the Reader's Digest Guide To
> Great Music, but Mercury made sure not to get so out there on every release
> that they couldn't sell records. This was part of what doomed Everest --
> too much stuff that no one had heard of, no matter how well recorded. The
> last thing they did, as they were in the midst of shutting down, was a
> mediocre Beethoven cycle with Krips.
> To part of your point, it's doubtful that Mahler symphonies were being
> performed out in places like Minneapolis or Detroit in that period, or that
> audiences were demanding it. But, I think if you checked concert repertoire
> around the US, they were being performed here and there through the years.
> -- Tom Fine
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Don Cox" <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Monday, September 22, 2014 2:47 PM
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Records Ruin the Landscape
> <snip>
>  There are no Mercury recordings of any of these (or of Mahler), which
>> shows they were not in the standard canon of classical music in the
>> 1950s.
>> Regards
>> --
>> Don Cox
>> [log in to unmask]

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