Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Mitch Miller plays Handel

For this debut entry in my new blog, I wish to pay tribute to Mitch Miller, who passed away on Saturday, July 31, 2010, aged 99.  For Americans over a certain age he will always be associated with his series of "Sing Along With Mitch" LPs (and the television show which these inspired, which ran from 1961 to 1966).  One of my very first records, received with my very first record player (at Christmas 1965), was a 6-eyes Columbia LP of "Still More Sing Along with Mitch" which I am listening to in this photo:

Long before his career as a sing-along leader, however, Mitchell Miller (as he was billed on his classical recordings) was well-known for his fine oboe and English horn playing.  No less a conductor than Leopold Stokowski admired his playing, and when Stokowski conducted a recording of Dvorak's "New World" Symphony in 1947, he hired Mitch to play the famous English horn solo in the second movement, and insisted that Mitch be credited on the label, at a time when such credits were rarely given.  From 1935 to 1947 he was oboist in the Columbia Broadcasting Symphony Orchestra, who accompanies him on the first of two Handel recordings below:

Handel: Oboe Concerto No. 3 in G minor
Mitch Miller and the Columbia Broadcasting Symphony under Howard Barlow
Recorded June 19, 1939
Columbia 69660-D, one 78-rpm record
Link (FLAC file, 16.3 MB)
Link (MP3 file, 8.34 MB)

Handel: Oboe Sonata in G minor, Op. 1, No. 6
Mitch Miller, oboe; Yella Pessl, harpsichord
Recorded August 4, 1938 (information courtesy of Don Tait)
Victor 15378, one 78-rpm record
Link (FLAC file, 15.51 MB)
Link (MP3 file, 7.28 MB)

Both of these recordings have been transferred from my own 78-rpm shellac records (although, in the case of the Sonata, from a cassette copy, as I no longer own the record).


  1. Bryan,

    Thanks for the rare Mitch Miller recordings.

  2. Bryan,

    Welcome to the blogging world. Really looking forward to your posts.

  3. Thanks Bryan - looking forward to more.

  4. Hey Bryan,

    Nice blog. I'm looking forward to your postings. Always interesting stuff from the harpsichordian!