Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Bloch and Gould on Mercury Wing

This one's in response to a request.  One of my correspondents had expressed a desire to hear again Antal Dorati's performance, with the Minneapolis Symphony, of Morton Gould's "Spirituals for Orchestra," saying that this recording is superior not only to Walter Susskind's 1958 Everest recording (with the London Symphony, which can be heard on Youtube here and here) but even to Gould's own (with the Chicago Symphony)!  I don't know about the latter claim, since I don't know that recording, but it does seem to me that Dorati gets it right (and I would also add that he beats Rodzinski, who was one of the first to conduct the piece, and whose Columbia 78 set with the New York Philharmonic I used to have):

Morton Gould: Spirituals for Orchestra (1941)
Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra conducted by Antal Dorati
Recorded February 5-7, 1953
Side 2 of Mercury Wing MGW-14034, one LP record
Link (FLAC files, 51.65 MB)
Link (MP3 files, 29.61 MB)

This LP, which I found in my father's record collection, is a reissue, and the coupling is, it seems to me, a bit incongruous.  But it is the finest, most dynamic performance I think I have ever heard of Bloch's First (and, at the time this recording was made, only) Concerto Grosso:

Bloch: Concerto Grosso No. 1, for string orchestra with piano obbligato (1925)
Chicago Symphony Orchestra conducted by Rafael Kubelik
with George Schick (piano)
Recorded April 23-24, 1951
Side 1 of Mercury Wing MGW-14034, one LP record
Link (FLAC files, 69.33 MB)
Link (FLAC files, 32.21 MB)


  1. Looking forward to this. Many thanks, Bryan.

  2. Bryan...seeing that we're close to July 4th, can you check your father's collection to see if he has "The Testament of Freedom", by Randall Thompson...the one with Hanson, Eastman-Rochester Orchestra, on Mercury? If so, perhaps you could post it?



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    1. Ashot - Sorry to hear of your trouble and hope it resolves itself soon. I have added you to my links at the right.

  4. Dear Bryan:

    What a surprise, and treat, to see the Bloch/Gould record--as I am the requester of Spirituals! Why, one would say, do you want THAT when the other side is the great Kubelik Bloch performance?! Well--it so happens that I have a mint copy of MG 50001, which was the first issue of the Bloch, coupled with Bartok MFSPC, which was released on a MLP CD, restored and transferred by Wilma Fine. To tell the truth, the sound on that Olympian pressing was JUST a tiny bit better than the Wing reissue, so I am covered there; but the Gould on the other side had much more vivid sound and was quite superb. I confess, blushing and looking down at the floor, that I *love* this Gould piece (he couldn't keep up the inspiration, as some of his last works sadly demonstrate.)

    I was equally fulfilled when you transferred Schelomo with Feuermann, another of my requests.

    Now, here is ANOTHER REQUEST.

    READERS OF THIS BLOG who are also bloggers who transfer records. PLEASE, oh, PLEASE do as well as Bryan does! I can't begin to explain the many differences in his results, but they are shocking to me when I listen to other bloggers' uploads. Bryan's files have NO BUZZING. They have no TURNTABLE RUMBLE; no HUM; no bad skips; no cut off track starts/stops; no intrusive noise reduction; no clipped levels; no weak level (barely rising above a whisper); no gurgling from over-compression...(inhale--deep breath)...no tiny cover pictures which are 150x150 pixels and no other documentation; no bizarre midrange suckout at 900 Hz; no trashed disks that should have been left at the Goodwill store. In other words, Bryan is a master at this--if any editing is necessary, such as a fanatic's need to tweak the hiss level of old records, HE leaves it up to the listeners, probably each one of which will have an ENTIRELY DIFFERENT point of view!

    All those things he DOES NOT DO are indeed done by other bloggers, bless their souls (not all at once, of course, or I would go mad.)

    Keep it up, Bryan. And other friends: for pity's sake, use Bryan as a model of how to present archival material in a respectful, clean, documentary fashion that will be of use FOREVER.

    Steve-retired engineer, SJ

  5. Oh...another thing Bryan doesn't do. He does NOT transfer records with off-center holes (unlike the fellow who, ahem, uploaded the old mid-50s Ormandy performance of the K.550 G minor/G major/G# Symphony of Mozart...

    Steve--appreciative retired engineer

  6. I've hit a problem trying to download the MP3 version of the Bloch Concerto Grosso, filefactory keeps going back to it's start page every time I choose download.