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4 Apr 2010

Thurston Dart / Philomusica - J.S.Bach. 6 Brandenburg Concertos - L'Oiseau-Lyre 1959


Johann Sebastian BachThe Six Brandenburg Concertos:
Concerto no.1 in F major,  BWV 1046       /     Concerto no.1 in F major,  BWV 1046 - reissue
2 files zip FLAC  Mega Download
Concerto no.2 in F major,  BWV 1047   /     Concerto no.3 in G major,  BWV 1048
2files zip FLAC   Mega Download  
Concerto no.4 in G major,  BWV 1049  /    Concerto no.5 in D major,  BWV 1050      /      Concerto no.6 in B flat major,  BWV 1051               
3 files zip FLAC   Mega Download
Philomusica of London  directed by  Thurston Dart, harpsichord
L'Oiseau-Lyre  SOL 60005/6  STEREO  Original 1959 LP's/matrices: ZTT 495 -1K / 496 -1K + ZTT 497 -1K / 498 -1K
1958 mono issues: OL 50167 (1/2/4) & OL 50160 (3/5). Concerto 6 re-recorded 10/11 October 1958 - Decca West Hampstead Studios.
No.1 additionally from DPA 577 (1977: matrices 2A/2A).  Files re-edited March 2013     Sleeve-notes, etc + 1958/9 EMG reviews >>>



37 comments:

  1. I remember the excitement I felt when I bought these 2 records way back when. One of my favorite performances of these works. Still own the LP originals but great to have them in digital form.

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  2. Must admit I had never previously listened to these, as a whole. I moderated my comments (which I then saw repeated upon checking the EMG letters) as didnt want to discourage folks too much! There are a few signs of under-rehearsal (or musicians going-their-own-way) but theres plenty to enjoy - especially the trumpets/recorders and Darts harpsichord-playing. Also considered the Anthony Lewis Purcell LP (SOL 60002) with the same group - but that is two-thirds vocal. Was also eyeing the Adolf Busch performances of these + the Suites on 78s (+ the 1980 WRC remastering of the latter) - but it is not necessary as they are easily available on CD. Thanks for your interest and comments. Might pop-in something Popular sometime ie: Felicia Weathers singing Kodaly/Spirituals was tempting - though In Copyright (Decca 1967 - the Kodaly - which is quite superb - and never on CD..)

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  3. Frank,

    Thanks much! This will most assuredly be a fine listening experience for me!
    Might I be so bold to ask if Dart's Water Music is on the way? :)

    Fred

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  4. Hello Fred. No reason why I cant do the now out-of-copyright Water Music very shortly (original 1959 stereo LP, as before) - and it would fill-out 2CD-Rs. Theres also a jolly JC Bach Organ Concerto on mono-only OL 50132 (otherwise vocal-works - as with the Purcell mentioned). Did wonder what the Munch/BSO versions were like (have on LMs) - but think you transferred those recently?

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  5. Those trumpets in the first concerto do take a bit of getting used to. Dart's justification for using them is interesting - thanks for providing his sleeve notes.

    Thanks also for your wonderful site. I only discovered it recently and have enjoyed re-aquainting myself with some long forgotten recordings that I used to own and finding many more that I never knew existed. Your informed and enthusiastic commentary further adds to my pleasure. I hope you enjoy putting the site together at least as much as I am enjoying using it.

    5 April 2010 21:09

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  6. Hello Stephen. Thanks for your comments... I think Messrs EMG were pretty taken-aback by those Trumpets - but they really are quite exciting - and the system I typically use doesnt exactly hide their Brilliance!! Am always open to Suggestions re: items to add as, due to time constraints, havent (and essentially cant..) upload all that much..though if I keep going until next year then quite a lot more Stereos become available. Ive been avoiding Vocal (though have just checked an old Oiseau Boyd-Neel/de Lalande + Falla on Ducretet)- and Chamber - where there are still some early/nice LXTs not reissued on CD - but I need to attend to the other blog - either with some shellacs or LP reissues, as those have been pretty popular so far. Frank

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  7. Tin Ear,

    I think this was my second LP set of the Brandenburgs, the Collegium Aureum on RCA being my first. I am listening now, early morning in the USA. That first concerto sounds brilliant. I would never part with the original LPs (expensive back then--those covers were seductive too) but I love these transfers.

    Thank you.

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  8. Can you comment on the interesting (maybe somewhat disconcerting) stereophonic effect in the last section of BB No. 1? I believe it's in Trio II, near the end: where the ensemble shifts entirely to the LEFT audio channel. Was this an attempt to create an off-stage or 'echo' effect by th producers? The surface noise on the right audio channel continues throughout, with a very faint trace of bleed through: so it's obviously on the stereo LP this way, and not a defect of your digital transfer. I haven't found any observations about this odd effect in any reviews or commentaries on the Net.

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  9. I did notice something whilst editing the waveform, and I suppose I could check the reissue pressing. As you can see theres a section from 15:45 to 17:47 where the RH volume is noticeably reduced (its on the WAV file - an enlargeable screenshot is attached). Various sessions/concerti were obviously quite heavily edited.. Sorry to hear there was *noticeable surface noise..Clearly I should have used the 1977 pressings. However I dont NoiseReduce, etc, etc, these files..which are merely transcriptions of LPs - via CD-RW - and edited free of virtually all pressing defects.

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  10. For which we have known this music through Goebel violent concept, this version sounds soft and melliflous, but I always learn something new in each listening.
    Congratulations for the brilliant restauration.

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  11. Tinear:

    Thanks for responding to my query about the left channel only section in BB 1, near the end.

    However, you quoted me as saying that I had objected to surface noise, saying "Sorry to hear there was *noticeable surface noise.."

    I did not mean that at all! What I was saying is this:

    1. The normal stereo arrangement suddenly changes, with ALL the instruments now only on the left channel for a while.

    2. I could hear the 'continuum' -- i. e., the record surface -- of the right channel throughout this part, just without any instruments audibly playing: they had panned over to the left. This is merely the residual background and I did not find it objectionable; I merely pointed this out, to prove that the actual audio signal FROM THE RECORD was not changed in your transfer -- or, in other words, a connection did not come loose. The record left and right continued to play; but the producers had panned the INSTRUMENTS all the way to the left channel, only.

    3. When I isolate this passage and listen to the right channel, I can hear the faintest trace of the music, now actually underneath the background residual. This is the typical 30+ dB separation factor you get from a good phono cartridge; i. e., not absolutely perfect but some slight bleed-through from the other channel.

    I have NO objections to the pressing you used, and did not find the noise intrusive.

    And I am not criticizing YOUR work; far from it! It's EXCELLENT, as always!

    I am merely pointing out a rather odd production characteristic of this record. When I listen normally, on stereo speakers, I get the impression that this particular passage is intended by the producers to come only from one channel.

    Either that, or something went wrong during the original Oiseau-Lyre (Decca engineered?) recording session. But that doesn't seem likely. I cannot think of a SINGLE example of any Decca stereo record suddenly losing an entire audio channel for a protracted period of time. No: I think this was an intentional stereophonic effect. It seems odd, but this was, after all, early stereo. Maybe it was (as I suggested) a sort of creative, Culshaw-like (or Phase4 type!) stereophonic trick.

    It would interest me to know if your other set of stereo LPs of this BB 1 has the same odd effect at this point...

    My best to you, and my unabashed enthusiasm for your superb efforts, which are beyond criticism!

    Yours,
    A Retired Professional Sound Engineer

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  12. Have now checked that LP side against the reissue (track 1/ side 2 - matrix 2a - so only the second tape to disc transfer) which Doesn't show that degree of imbalance, though there is still an overall faintness . Presumably that mastering fault (cant imagine it was an isolated pressing defect) was allowed to go uncorrected for almost 20years... As noted here, I wasnt au-fait with the complete set. Additionally, LPs are transferred in Silence (using a Stanton CS100/D98Stereohedron for most latter dubs), so only saw the waveform + listened to the decent computer-speakers sound: located some feet above me, and me directly under the RH speaker... Will now likely offer a second dub of the Brandenburg 1st... Thanks for your comments/interest - I wasnt assuming the surface was *objectionable, but without some Audio Monosodium Glutamate Gizmo there will, inevitably, be some evidence of the physical-contact taking place. Decca pressings were only getting quieter around 1958/9 - so would anyway expect later-type mid 70s-on vinyl to have a better inherent S/N ratio.

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  13. Thanks for the comparison of your two pressings of BB1. Interesting that the right channel is not normal in this short passage in EITHER generation's pressing of the two sets.

    Incidentally, I also want to emphasize that I do appreciate actually HEARING the record surface, as this was reassuring. It proved that there was no disconnection and that we were hearing "the real truth" -- what was ACTUALLY on the record.

    This cannot be said of almost ANY other blog of classical LP rips. Almost everybody else uses too darned much noise reduction, and it's not necessary at all. I *appreciate* hearing the actual unvarnished, honest, accurate sound!

    I started collecting record, myself, in 1949. So I'm not "afraid" of phonograph records, like these 'youngsters' seem to be. Give them a knob, and they are COMPELLED to turn it, no matter what damage is caused.

    Your blog is one of the few to which one can turn for TRUTH. I've only made comments on one or two, because usually the blog owner is rather clueless and all the material -- no matter how much it may attract an interest -- is new to that person. To me, this stuff consists of 'old friends' that I first 'met' many decades ago.

    But, I do appreciate that you have taken the infinite pains to remove useless, unmusical gouges and splats -- by hand, as it were -- from time to time, rather than just to turn on a switch and let software do it automatically. Most declickers also add a layer of IM distortion on extended brass passages, percussive transients, and piano attacks. (I have been doing digital recording and editing since 1983, much of it in my professional work.)

    So, CARE has to be taken...and few blog contributors, enthusiastic and well meaning amateurs though they may be, are not motivated to put in the time that would be considered a moral obligation by a professional. You, sir, seem to be doing that very thing; and my sincerest thanks!

    Yours,
    A retired pro sound engineer, classical recordist, and audiophile

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  14. Hi Frank, You say these Brandenburgs have never been on CD - in fact, Pickwick issued them in 1990 in its 2-CD Duet series, cat. no. DUET 29 CD. So poorly packaged and marketed, it's hardly surprising no one knows about them. Dart has been appallingly served by Decca, so thanks for your work on his behalf!

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  15. Never knew That.. In fact, was mislead by the claim here ( http://www.jsbach.org/dartbrandenburgconcertos.html ) that it had received no CD issue..

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  16. Hi - Thanks again - Jerry

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  17. Thank you so much for these files. Your understanding of audio technology ...and acute hearing... have done wonders here. I find these performances full of delight. Concerto 4 is truly joyous. I repeat...many ..many thanks!

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    1. Eh, what was that you said..??

      Some items are noticeably less well recorded - and I found 5/6 to contain rather 'uninspired' playing: but, on the plus-side, I removed more than a few 'retained clicks' from #2 (which, with the clarino playing, is my favourite - and this original LP captures it so much better: #1 sounds a bit gruff/'transistory' in the 1977 transfer).

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  18. :)

    The sense of joie de vivre comes across often in many sections ...not a common feature in some modern performances which seem to want to be as fast as possible as their main aim.. I see fom Wiki that Dart died quite young. A great loss.

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    1. Probably his last recording was the Argo ZRG 687/8 JS Bach Suites (ASMF/Marriner: have a new 1971 set) and recall the review (Records & Recordings?) where it was mentioned that he was so ill that there was a bed in the studio; though there is no mention of another harpsichordist - despite Dart dying before the set was complete.

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  19. Hello,

    To add to the debate about the sound on the Dart Brandenburg #1 veering off the left.

    For some reason reading this blog has sent me to find and listen to the same Dart recording that I have on cassette which was issued by Pickwick International in the UK as a double pack, back in the early 1980s. I am not inspired by JS Bach - the only bits that I possess are the orchestral suites and concertos - you can keep everything else. Oh, and the orchestral transcriptions by Wood, Elgar, Stokowski, etc. are great. Well listening intently to the Dart recording, which is amazingly underwhelming, and wouldn't inspire anyone to get "switched onto JS", there does not appear to be any left channel bias at the place that your other correspondents find it. Not a very good stereophonic recording - not very well focused - perhaps "electronic stereo"? By the way on the same series of double pack cassettes Tutti Camerata has some fantastic arrangements of Bach choral stuff along with similar from other composers. It would be good if you could consider this for future release, if you have the recording - ex Phase 4 recordings if I remember correctly.

    On another issue - do any of your readers have a suggestion as to how to listen IN REAL TIME to my extensive vinyl collection, with enhanced/improved sound (minus the clicks and pops), without having to re-record/transcribe to digital form. Not "Googled" this topic yet. Would be interesting for any comment.

    Do hope that I have added to the debate!!

    Cheers,

    Douglas (UK)

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    1. RE: Phase 4: am not venturing past January 1963 releases - and don't have/recall that one.: presumably Salvatore Camarata: he of the Verdi Spectacular! (have a c.1950 Decca-recorded Brunswick of his - Gershwin: Rhapsody/American, possibly not reissued?)

      I've deliberately made these 'separate' downloads as am unconvinced, myself, about some of the playing (the #6 re-recording seems very 'routine' to me) - but people will have differing responses/expectations about any performance/s.

      There used to be a Garrard 'Real-Time' de-clicker in the mid/late '70's ('Music Recovery Module, I think) and there 'must' be something similar later-on: but LP's are a total curse (aside from the sound-quality) and only with considerable (and unjustifiable) effort can the irritants be removed/subdued: so one might wonder why some are worth a near-fortune (an original Britten/Bridge Rostropovich LP I sold for £50 many years back: I now see 'valued' @ $1200, among numerous similar examples; and a 1969/70 Decca pressing is about the most 'crackle-prone'...but if all one does is 'collect' LP's then there's little need to bother about the 'noise' - as they're hardly intended to be played.

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  20. Thanks for your quick response.

    Wrt the playing of LPs with enhanced sound in "real time" - I was wondering whether there was a possibility of playing them "via" the computer, with some form of enhancement. Surely that is not beyond the capability of current technology? And at nil or low cost!!

    I'm with you about the "pain" of vinyl - don't believe all that guff about them "sounding better than digital". But would just love to be able to listen to my collection again (circa 5,000) without the distraction of the "fog" of superfluous noise.

    Thanking you.

    Cheers,

    Douglas (UK)

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  21. Thanks for another great upload. At least the 1st and 2nd are delightful performances, and the clarity of the sound does the music justice. Seems like they over-'enhanced' the sound for the reissue...interesting comparison.

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    1. The sound-variation between the 2 transfers of #1 are quite typical of early/late Decca stereo masterings: the former also being 'all valve' (vacuum-tube) - and half-speed mastered. As my dubbing equipment used is a later, '80's, generation of transistor-circuitry the differences remain apparent.

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    2. Very interesting - i've never had a chance to hear the difference caused by the mastering equipment used before, "even" the missus noted the deterioration.

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  22. Having just listened to all of these i'll respectfully disagree with Tin Ear's opinion on the performances and say that in my opinion they are indeed delightful and inspired - once again, easily my personal favourites (though, i only have a couple of other sets). So thanks for uploading even given your ambivalent feelings on these!

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    1. Somehow I don't think I said ALL the performances were 'uninspired'; the re-recorded no.6 definitely struck me as that though!

      Anyway, I've a new set (or two) of the also 'not on CD' Decca LXT 1950 Munchinger/Stuttgart performances; possibly even his, now out of copyright stereo Brandenburgs/Suites aren't on CD either?

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    2. Hopefully not...! ;) Since finding your blog i've really come to appreciate clarity in sound (those Bach Suites are a great example!), and it's just missing from a lot of CDs i've bought over the years, which sounded just fine before for me.

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    3. (i mean the Bach Suites from Munchinger/Stuttgart in another post of yours.)

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    4. ...so you are now accumulating lots of CD-R's ??

      Unfortunately I can't 'guarantee' future uploads (every last post could be 'the last post') to enable economical compilation/s; but will re-upload another 1950 not on CD Paris Conservatoire (Fistoulari: Ballet) + add Desormiere's 'Sylphides' - not made available by 'Testament'...the 'other side of his excellent Sleeping Princess, below (I don't feel like transferring Fistoulari's 'complete' performance of that from 2x LXT's, and have yet to transfer the Sylphides..).

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    5. Yes - it's a very familiar problem that the length of LP's and CD-R's don't coincide very well!

      At any rate, in the last 8 months that i've visited this blog, thanks to you i've learned so much about classical music, not least by listening to performers and composers (and the type of music!) i would've not acquired from anywhere else, that i'm really grateful, whether you ever post anything again or not.

      Nice to read that you still have some things to reupload, tho!

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  23. Anonymous13 May, 2013

    Thanks for this wonderful record.

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    1. I still have a few more Thurston Dart LP's - but am missing a few that looked tempting (whilst browsing through the 'ancient' catalogues).
      Even though it might not seem a 'must hear', Helen Watts' recital with Thurston Dart (unfortunately I don't have her next LP) is really fine..and the sort of LP that only had a limited audience when available.

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  24. I am like to request that you consider uploading the LP of Elaine Shaffer, George Malcolm and Ambrose Gauntlett playing J.S. Bach's flute sonatas on EMI HMV Semi-Circle ASD 633. This 1973 performance/recording is regarded as one of the best interpretations yet despite its legendary reputation among flautist/flutists it has never been released on CD. I have only heard a part played on the radio and would so like to hear the full recording. I have searched online without luck.

    A read of these review of the performances available will confirm my opinion http://www.audiophilia.com/wp/?p=7793

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  25. Thank you, I didn't know that there was a second LP.

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  26. Another fine transfer. Thanks very much Frank! Great to have all six by Thurston Dart. Thank you as well for renewing the dead link!

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