Tuesday, March 17, 2015

William Boyce: 8 Symphonies (Max Goberman)

Max Goberman
The Philadelphia-born violinist and conductor Max Goberman (1911-1962) was a true recording pioneer. He will probably always best be remembered for being the first to attempt to record all the Haydn symphonies, a project cut short less than halfway through by his untimely death from a heart attack, a month shy of his 52nd birthday. (My first-ever exposure to the Toy Symphony that we used to believe was by Haydn was through Goberman's recording of the piece for Young Peoples Records, a company for which he made important contributions in the late 1940s.) Goberman's first major recording project was undertaken with a chamber orchestra he helped found, the New York Simfonietta, and comprised the first-ever recording of the eight symphonies by William Boyce:

William Boyce: The Eight Symphonies
(edited by Constant Lambert)
The New York Simfonietta conducted by Max Goberman
Recorded c. 1937
Timely set 1-K, nine 10-inch 78-rpm records
Link (FLAC files, 156.17 MB)
Link (MP3 files, 94.87 MB)

Max Goberman was the musical director for Timely Records, a small New York-based company founded around 1935 and originally specializing in political material, which in 1937 was sold to an insurance executive named Leo Waldman. Waldman changed the focus of the label to esoteric classical material, and this Boyce set was the first issue under his aegis. Within two or three years the label was defunct, its assets sold to General Records' owner Hazard Reeves, the famed sound engineer.

The Boyce symphonies were available in those days only in an error-ridden edition by Constant Lambert, who himself would record extracts from them in 1940 as part of a ballet, "The Prospect Before Us." At the time of his death, Goberman was working on a new edition of the symphonies, which has since become the standard.

Incidentally, the 52nd birthday that Max Goberman didn't get to celebrate is a landmark I expect to reach this May. Furthermore, Goberman died a mere five months before I was born. Eerie, isn't it, that Fate should place these records in my hands at this time of my life!


  1. Alternate links:



  2. No! I can't believe it - I've been hoping to hear this for so long... You are a genius! Best wishes, Nick

  3. Thank you for this, I love Boyce symphonies.