Monday, April 21, 2014

Mozart: Jupiter Symphony (Coates)

Last week we had Leopold Stokowski's 132nd birthday, and this week (April 23) we have the same for Albert Coates, that great gramophonic pioneer. And so I offer his first recording of Mozart's "Jupiter" Symphony (an electrically-recorded replacement succeeded it three years later). It isn't known whether it's the first complete recording of the work (an abridged one by the Victor Concert Orchestra had preceded it); the other contender would be a Deutsche Grammophon set conducted by Johannes Heidenreich, and since Deutsche Grammophon's recording ledgers were lost in the Second World War, we don't know when that recording was made. We do know that it was released in March, 1924, five months after the Coates version had been completed, but ten months before it actually appeared, having been held up by the need to record a suitable filler. (DG didn't bother about such niceties as suitable fillers - theirs was Richard Strauss conducting two movements from his "Bourgeois Gentilhomme" Suite!) What can be said about Coates' version is that it's probably the fastest on record - 28 minutes total, and that's with exposition repeats not only in the first movement and finale, but the slow movement as well, probably for the only time on 78-rpm discs for this particular symphony. (Had the repeats not been observed, the total timing would have amounted to only about 21 minutes.  Coates was well known for his speedy tempos.)

Mozart: Symphony No. 41 in C Major, K. 551 ("Jupiter")
Recorded August 27 and October 16, 1923
Mozart: Overture to "Der Schauspieldirektor" (The Impresario), K. 486
Recorded October 22, 1924
Symphony Orchestra conducted by Albert Coates
HMV D 942 through D 945, four 78-rpm records
Link (FLAC files, 102.47 MB)
Link (MP3 files, 57.25 MB)


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  2. Thanks so much for transferring this. I myself made a tape of the Victor 78s back in 1970, which I occasionally played on my radio programs; but I no longer have any of my ancient open reels. So I made the mistake of purchasing a commercial CD transfer (on a very obscure label) and was horrified to discover that it was in grotesque fake stereo, with awful equalization, and from a hideously noisy copy: with the most incompetent side joins imaginable! So I've been without a means of hearing this eccentric and ligntning fast performance for many years; looking forward to once again enjoying it in AUTHENTIC sound quality.
    Best, as always...

  3. Correction! I misread--you have uploaded an even more interesting and useful item--the ACOUSTIC recording! I thought you'd done the electrical one. The acoustic is something I've never heard and as a (non-Wagner) Coates completist, it's most interesting...though similar to the equally breathless pacing of the later one.

    Yours, ashamed of not reading CAREFULLY enough!