£16 post free World-wide

 


555 sonatas 9Cds mp3 files
Only £22


 


Benjamin: Written on Skin £16

Search
What's New
Previous CDs
Concerts
Jazz
Nostalgia
Composers
Resources
Announce
Labels index


Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    



Some items
to consider


Shostakovich 14 Petrenko


Rachmaninov #3
Prokofiev #2

 


Dunedin Consort

Peter Grimes

Hymn of Jesus: Sea Drift

Complete Mozart Edition
Mozart complete edition

Vaughan Williams Symphonies 5 & 8 £11

Weiner, Klepper, Bloch, Schulhoff £12 post free


Available again


REVIEW


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
CDAccord
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly newsletter
 

AVAILABILITY Pristine Audio
(as CD or FLAC or mp3 download)


Alfred Herz - The Complete San Francisco Recordings Volume 1
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Leonore Overture No. 3, Op. 72a. (1805) [13:11]
Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)
Rosamunde D.797 - Entr’acte No.3 in B flat (1823) [4:43]
Marche Militaire D.733 No.1 [4:45]
Carl Maria von WEBER (1786-1826)
Der Freischütz - overture (1817) [9:19]
Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847)
A Midsummer Night’s Dream - Overture, Op.21 (1829) [11:54] and Incidental Music, Op.61 (1843); Scherzo [4:40], Nocturne [6:02] and Wedding March [4:25]
San Francisco Symphony Orchestra/Alfred Herz
rec. 1927-28, San Francisco
PRISTINE AUDIO PASC163 [58:59]
Experience Classicsonline

From the nooks and crannies of early electric recording come these San Francisco discs, ones presided over by the irascible, controversial - and on this evidence highly accomplished - Alfred Herz (1872-1942). The conductor was born in Frankfurt am Main, conducted Wagner at the Met, in the process (1903) breaking the Bayreuth-imposed ban on staged Parsifal performances. Collectors will know of his Berlin recordings, but far fewer will have come across his American Victors, which were made between 1925 and 1928; as Mark Obert-Thorn relates they’ve never been transferred to LP or CD - with the sole exception of the Prelude to Tristan, which will also appear in a forthcoming volume.

Herz was appointed as the conductor of the San Francisco orchestra in 1915 and stayed for fifteen seasons after which he guest conducted the orchestra. He died in 1942.

I get the impression that people look down their noses at West coast recordings. Obviously its contribution was muted in comparison with the East, but a trawl of the personnel of the orchestra at the time leads one to the conclusion that Herz had developed a most impressive band. The concertmaster had been Louis Persinger, that great player and teacher, but for Herz was none other than Mischel Piastro, who joined in 1925 and was to stay until 1931 - and was later to lead for Toscanini in New York. Digging around further confirms that Dutchman Michel Penha led the cellos and Romain Verney, a suave Frenchman, the violas. In other words it was a typical American orchestra.

All this aside and even with the rather lightweight programme I can tell you that this is a real ear-opener of a disc. Herz’s San Francisco recordings have clearly been undervalued these many years, probably because they have the kind of status that Percy Pitt’s or Landon Ronald’s have in Britain - they’re taken for granted and therefore not listened to and therefore not admired. Big mistake.

There’s minimal surface noise throughout and the transfers have been effected with Obert-Thornian hyper-intelligence. The excellent frequency response is another bonus. Leonore No.3 is trenchant, powerful, tautly architectural, sporting strong chording and a sure sense of projection and trajectory. The SF band plays as well as you’d hope - and then some. Portamenti were a part of the expressive arsenal of course and some make themselves heard in Rosamunde, though not nearly as many as fleck, say, Hamilton Harty’s contemporaneous recordings of the orchestral repertoire. There’s a tad more hiss in the Marche Militaire side but nothing to worry horses or any other livestock. The overture to Der Freischütz is baleful when need be and its cantilever is curvaceously aided by rich slides; the horns too are first class. An excellently managed side join ends the litany of praise. The major portion of the running time is taken up with the music for A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Portamento is strong but effective, not at all gauche; the orchestra has been well drilled; nuance is in rich supply, the performance is sensitive and natty, and very well worth hearing. We are too easily hoodwinked into thinking that all classical recordings were made on the East Coast at this time; here’s evidence of high standards on the western seaboard - and after all, why not?

Revelatory, really, in a way, and much more to come in this series.

Jonathan Woolf  
 
 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
.
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Comment
Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips


Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools




Return to Review Index

Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.