December 20, 2009


(Marguerite Long - Grande Dame of the keyboard and controversy to match)

Two short works tonight. First up is the 1931 recording for French Columbia of the Ballade for Piano and Orchstra by Gabriel Faure featuring pianist Marguerite Long with the Paris Conservatory conducted by Phillipe Gaubert. Long was a close friend (for a time) with Gabriel Faure as well as Maurice Ravel. It was her recording of the Ravel Piano concerto, made weeks after the premier that was considered to be the definitive performance, since the recording was also billed with Ravel as conductor (which was not the case as conductor Pedro Freitas Branco did the honors). And the concerto was dedicated to her (presumably with twisted arm). Her relationship with Faure went on for many years, and Long was responsible for premiers of many of his piano works, including this one.

The next piece is something of a bonus, the forgotten conductor Volkmar Andrae leading the Zurich Tonnhalle in a 1930 recording for Swiss Columbia of the Feruccio Busoni arrangement of the Overture to The Abduction From The Seraglio by Mozart. Andrae was active into the lp period and his recordings of the early symphonies of Anton Bruckner have been long sought collectors items on the vinyl market. However, his fame did not really extend past the European continent and he is almost completely unknown here in the States. Andrae was a devoted interpreter of the music of Bruckner and was one of a handful of conductors who regularly programmed his symphonies at concerts, bringing an awareness of a composer not easily understood during the early part of the 20th century.

. . and don't forget . .

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