Saturday, March 18, 2017

Rosario Bourdon

Rosario Bourdon
Like Victor Herbert before him, and like Hans Kindler after, Montreal-born Rosario Bourdon (1885-1961) began his musical career as a successful cellist before turning to the baton. Very likely his employment by the Victor Talking Machine Company for over twenty years provided the impetus for him to begin conducting. He was hired in 1909 as their in-house cellist (among the most famous recordings for which he served in this capacity is the Bach Double Concerto played by Kreisler and Zimbalist), but he seems to have been conducting regularly for the company by 1915, and beginning in 1920 he shared the post of music director at Victor with Josef Pasternack. Nearly a thousand of the acoustical recordings on which he participated can be heard at the Library of Congress' National Jukebox. After electrical recording was introduced he appears to have made no records as a cellist. Most of his conducting work was accompanying soloists, but he was also responsible for a good bit of light classical orchestral material, of which the following is a fairly representative sample:

Nevin: Narcissus, Op. 13, No. 4
Mendelssohn: Spring Song, Op. 62, No. 6
Victor Concert Orchestra
Recorded February 21, 1928
Victor 21449, one 10-inch 78-rpm record

Rubinstein: Melody in F, Op. 3, No. 1
Rubinstein: Romance, Op. 44, No. 1
Victor Concert Orchestra
Recorded September 4, 1929, and April 8, 1930
Victor 22508, one 10-inch 78-rpm record

Kreisler: Tambourin Chinois, Op. 3
Kreisler: Caprice Viennois, Op. 2
Victor Salon Orchestra
Recorded May 26, 1939
Victor 26306, one 10-inch 78-rpm record

All conducted by Rosario Bourdon
Link (FLAC files, 53.13 MB)
Link (MP3 files, 32.53 MB)

Bourdon left Victor in 1931 to concentrate on radio work, so the last of these 78s represents a rather mysterious guest re-appearance. It lasted barely a year in the catalogue.


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  2. Thank you very much, as ever! All the best, Nick

  3. Thanks so much Bryan for this captivating post.
    So interesting to hear the way these tunes were arranged and performed too !