Great Historical Musicians
I have been absorbed in classical music for
thirty years and have a major interest in historical conductors. I am
especially interested in the conductors Willem
Mengelberg, Sir Thomas
Beecham, Eduard van Beinum
(link to Classical CD-Review Page), Eugene Ormandy,
Hans Knappertsbusch, Clemens Krauss, Richard
Strauss, Karl Boehm, Wilhelm
Furtwaengler, Karel Sejna,
Herreweghe. Above all, Willem Mengelberg is the
winner. What is more, his orchestra, the Concertgebouw Orchestra,
Mr.Brendan Wehrung also compiles his unique Megelberg's discography that is now available here.
(If you are interested in Carl Schuricht, I recommend a visit to a page by Dr. Kobayashi.
When I was a junior high school student, I came across his name and some of his recordings. At that time, I was already familiar with Furtwaengler, Knappertsbusch, and Walter, who all have unique personalities. But Mengelberg overwhelmed me completely. I was very much amazed at his sense for harmony, dynamics, and his strong personality. I have been absorbed in his art ever since. It is my pleasure to introduce some of his recordings.
These are among Mengelberg's most
popular recordings. However, Mr. Haruhiko Kohri, a
Japanese historian of recorded music, set forth in an article in the record magazine,
Record Geijutsu, in July, 1993, some startling
findings. According to him, all CD transfers of the Pathetique
were conflations of the two versions. The latter half of the first movement and
the whole of the third movement came from the 1941 recording sessions, while
the rest came from the 1937 sessions. (By contrast, the early Capitol LP issued
in the United States (P 8103) came entirely from the 1941 sessions, while all
other LPs used the 1937 sessions.) Mr. Kohri is also
a superb transfer engineer of 78s and has issued the genuine both versions
through Warner Japan in 1994. They are now available in
Warner Japan : WPCS-4327~30
Pearl Records in
Pearl Records : GEMM CDS 9018, 9019
Mengelberg gave over three hundred world premier performances. Recordings of
some of these survive, such as Kodaly's Peacock Variations and Hindemith's
Violin Concerto, both of which are available on CD and are very fine. But the
Bartok Violin Concerto is even more special. The soloist, Zoltan
Szekely, was a friend of Bartok. In this case, the
first performance of a masterpiece is also the best recording of all time!
Hungaroton' LP was very wonderful. Philips: 426104-2PLC
I must single out this item. Mengelberg
was a boy singer in his childhood and had beautiful voice. He was familiar with
choral music in church, including that composed by Palestrina and Bach. When he
was appointed to be director of the Concertgebouw Orchestra, he insisted on
performing the Bach St. Matthew Passion and assembled the Toonkunst
Choir. He performed this work every year for over 40 years, beginning in 1899.
The 1939 performance was recorded on sound track film and is currently
Philips: I don't have the catalog number handy.