Telemann: Suite in A minor, TWV 55:a2
William Kincaid, flute
The Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Eugene Ormandy
Recorded March 15, 1941
Victor set DM-890, two 78-rpm records
Link (FLAC file, 60.06 MB)
Link (MP3 file, 41.15 MB)
I am indebted to Christopher Steward, who maintains this wonderful page devoted to early flute recordings, not only for making the transfer but for sending it to me with permission to use it on this blog.
Telemann was an almost unknown composer at the time this recording was made; in fact this Suite was, I believe, the first work of his to be offered in the Victor catalogue - the Fiedler Sinfonietta's recording of the Don Quichotte Suite was the second (actually the first to be recorded, but the second to be released), and for most of the decade of the 1940s these two sets constituted all the music of Telemann available to the American record buyer.
The playing by Kincaid and by Ormandy's string section is stylish and delightful, but be prepared to be shocked about 4 minutes into the recording by the sound of a piano, with its action altered so as to sound like a harpsichord, playing in the continuo passages! This was the best the Philadelphia Orchestra could do in 1941. Mengelberg had a similar instrument in Amsterdam when the Concertgebouw Orchestra recorded Vivaldi for Telefunken, and Mahler is said to have used a similar hybrid when presenting his arrangement of a Bach orchestral suite in New York in 1910. By the time Ormandy recorded Telemann again, in 1968 when four concertos were recorded by various Philadelphia first-chair soloists, the orchestra had acquired a real harpsichord.