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Hi Alex, 

Brahms later arranged the first 10 of these for solo piano. A bunch of them were orchestrated by various people, No. 5 by Albert Parlow. I don't think Stokowski did any retouching on his recording, at least the primitive sound doesn't reveal any to my ears. And, since they used the full Philadelphia Orchestra for these first sessions, they were not yet re-scoring things to accommodate the limitations of the acoustical recording process. The limitations of the acoustic phonographs of the day led Victor to believe that many of the instruments, particularly the low bass instruments - weren't captured by the process. As Robert Auld pointed out in an excellent presentation on Stokowski at AES in 2011, modern electrical playback with judicious equalization shows that the low bass instrument are, in fact, on the recording. They just couldn't hear them on 1917 playback equipment. 

I guess the Hungarian Dance No. 5 is no more hackneyed than Beethoven's 5th Symphony, which was captured on pioneering recordings by Friedrich Kark and the Grosses Odeon Streichorchester (oddly-named!) in 1910, and Artur Nikisch and the Berlin Philharmonic in 1913. It has never been clear just how many musicians were involved in these recordings. 

You're certainly right that the Rogers and Plancon recordings are most worthy of note. 

Best,
Gary

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Subject: [EXTERNAL] Re: [ARSCLIST] ARSC List of Notable pre-1923 recordings, just posted

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Nice comments Gary. Maybe others have mentioned that the Brahms Hungarian Dance No. 5 wasn’t even by Brahms. It was the work of the Hungarian composer Béla Kéler. I think Brahms thought he had a traditional folksong on his hands. The Brahms version was written for piano four hands, and god knows how much of his own orchestral thinking Stokowski put into the Victor version.

My main objection to its inclusion is that this work was endlessly programmed for concerts from its publication to the date of this Victor recording. An old chestnut if ever there was one. It represents lazy thinking in the classical music repertoire to choose it, if I might say so.

Far worthier would be the near complete version of Haydn’s Symphony No. 94, recorded in Victor’s Camden, New Jersey studio on the 11th and 12th of Nov. 1912. Yeah, I know it’s a chestnut now too, but a century ago Haydn was finally emerging from more than a century’s worth of neglect. He’s certainly a greater composer than Brahms and before someone gets angry,, consider that appraisal was by Brahms himself.

An even more noteworthy recording would be Victor’s release of Haydn’s Symphony No. 100, Walter B. Rogers (Victor’s house conductor) and the Victor Concert Orchestra. UCSB gives the dates as June 5, 1913 and Oct. 28, 1915. Both symphonies suffer abridgments and are the arrangements of Theodore Moses Tobani, done primarily for purposes related to the technical limitations of the acoustical recording process with full orchestral forces. So with Symphony 100, the slow introduction is jettisoned, but the rest of the first movement is complete. Twenty bars from the second movement are cut, but they are somewhat a repetition of the movement's first 20 bars, so the movement seems as if it is complete to most listeners. The third and fourth movements are both complete.

Back to the Brahms. I know it sounds really great, but so do these Haydn recordings and they were done years earlier than the Brahms. They are also of far greater significance in the early recordings of concert repertoire. I haven’t found sound files for No. 94, except for its second movement, which UCSB has. Neither UCSB or the National Jukebox has anything from No. 100, but the British Library has all of it and it sounds wonderful.

And if I may land one more punch for Haydn, Pol Plançon sounds a lot better in Air du laboureur ( trans. French) from Haydn’s Jahreszeiten: Schon eilet froh der Ackermann than he does on the ARSC acoustic list with Couplets du tambour-major. That’s just my opinion, but you can hear it for yourself on UCSB’s website <https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/index.php/matrix/detail/200003696/C-2321-Air_du_laboureur>

Pre-holiday cheers to all,
Alex

Alex McGehee
ARSC Membership Committee, chair



> On Nov 9, 2021, at 1:31 PM, Gary A. Galo <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
> I have a couple of comments about this compilation, and I'm sure other members will have some of their own.
>
> Stokowski's Brahms Hungarian Dance No. 5 was not the first recording of a full symphony orchestra, not even on Victor, and not even in the United States. Karl Muck and the Boston Symphony Orchestra made their first records for Victor 3 weeks before Stokowski, because Stokowski initially rejected Victor's offer to make records. The first was the 4th movement of Tchaikovsky's 4th Symphony, and utilized the entire Boston Symphony Orchestra. The dates can be confirmed on DAHR. And, Charles Prince conducted an orchestra of 90 players for Columbia performing Wagner's Rienzi Overture in February of 1917. Again, DAHR can confirm the date and the number of musicians involved (the number is also given on the record label).
>
> Also, though some might view it as a technicality, Vesti la Giubba is not a song, it's an opera aria.
>
> Best,
> Gar
>
>
> Gary Galo
> Audio Engineer Emeritus
> The Crane School of Music
> SUNY at Potsdam, NY 13676
>
> "Great art presupposes the alert mind of the educated listener."
> Arnold Schoenberg
>
> "A true artist doesn't want to be admired, he wants to be believed."
> Igor Markevitch