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The cost of equipment/internet always rises (ie: a Decca Gold cartridge is now £847..internet +15%/yr - and new/obsolete PU/stylus's have become very rare).
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Sir Thomas Beecham / French National - Franck. Symphony - HMV 1957

Cesar Franck:
Symphony in D minor  
ILento - Allegro non troppo  ~  IIAllegretto  ~  IIIAllegro non troppo   
2 files zip FLAC  Mega Download
Orchestre National de la Radiodiffusion Francaise  conducted by  Sir Thomas Beecham    
HMV  ALP 1686   Original 1959 LP/matrices: 2XLA 36 -1N / 2XLA 37 -1N           
Recorded: 4/5 November 1957 - Salle Wagram, Paris.     
Not on CD    Slightly re-edited Dec.2014 with +1.4dB added treble EQ.   EMG review / sleeve-note >>> 


  1. Thank you - this is lovely.

    Michael Gray's discography has recording dates of 4 - 5 November 1957. Is he wrong?

    1. Probably a mix-up whilst editing the weeks-old Notepad - which also contained the 'Fantastique' data.. (???)

  2. Thanks TinEar - I'll compare it with (?) Alan's copy you made available some time ago. I know you dislike Franck but I still don't understand how an accusation of "vulgarity" could be aimed at it. It's not vulgarity, its just religiosity and not to the taste of the mid-20thC British. Franck was a very, if not over- refined musician who just thought in terms of 19thC French Catholicism, which was not at all like the English or even the Roman variety - French Catholics of the time rather thought they owned it, not the Popes. Beecham of course, would have played up any hint of vulgarity he found. In any case, as I mentioned re those earlier postings, its a far better performance than his stereo remake. Interestingly, for those who can get it (broadcast and online) France Musique is at present showcasing the FNRO every morning.
    Andrew Smith

    1. Hello Andrew,
      Thought you might be 'amused' by the 'stiff-upper lip' EMG comment.
      In any event, it's a very fine performance (the FNRO play extremely well) - and the work was/is popular (have Henry Wood's acoustic album (Columbia) and Stokowski's very early electrical HMV album for starters..).

      Downloaded Alan's version at the time - but haven't compared this transfer to it...but, presumably, as I don't noise-reduce/de-click it will have 'more clarity' (also resisted the temptation to add c.+1dB upper treble to provide a 'perfectly flat' transfer, as the treble was already quite OK).

      I used a new 'Factory Sample' copy (unwashed: as wasn't prepared to wet-clean it) and the LP was mastered at quite a high level (side 2 I slightly adjusted the transfer level upwards for a second dub, as it didn't quite match the side 1 levels), so there's virtually nil 'surface' (I hope..).

      Was thinking of transferring the 'French Ballet' ALP mentioned in the sleeve (the matrices are part of this French series) but 'Faust' had a strange pressing fault near the start.

  3. Hi TE, yes I rose to the bait. I think the RPO ALPs have all appeared on CD, but I am finding out that I have been wrong about many of TB's recordings.

  4. This was my FIRST EVER LP of this Symphony and, yes, I know all too well that it has never hit the compact disc stage. I remember the cover so well. I was living in the UK at the time and my father brought it home one evening. He egged me on and I started listening to it on a daily basis, as I always did when I liked a work. I never thought, to this day, that I would grow so attached to it. I was only about 11. But by then my Dad had already introduced me to Brahms 4th and Brahms 2nd Piano Concerto, both heard on a BBC live matinee broadcast from the RFH which my father recorded on his open-reel Grundig. Must have been 1960/61. I never knew who played or conducted. These tapes and LP's kept me going through my late teens, when we returned to Argentina. Life was never quite the same after that.

    Have to agree on Andrew Smith's appreciation of the French's Catholic fervor and Franck's dedication to it is latent in all his works. Perhaps that was the catch for me, coming from a Catholic country.

    Many thanks indeed for this wonderful memory!! A lovely LP!

  5. Thank you for sharing this superb recording, I believe that there is no Beecham recording that I don't love it.

  6. I've not traced a Matinee (live RFH, Sunday?) performance of the 2 Brahms; only a 3pm BBC SO (20 March 1960 - Brahms 4)- via The Times Archive - which didn't fully detail BBC Radio.

    Having listened a few times on the laptop I think a very slight 2-10kHz treble boost (I did for the 'dense' Lalo Symphony LP side) would have 'helped', as EMI LP's of that vintage do sound 'a bit creamy' -though I'd avoid making the balance 'artificial' (Mr Pristine's 'new release' Furtwangler/Fidelio mp3 excerpt has a substantial treble 'twist' (and CD bootlegged?) compared to my new, late '70's, EMI German 'Dacapo' box-set.

  7. Those EMG reviews "get it wrong" so often it's not funny! But thanks to AS for explaining where Franck was coming from, helped me to understand this piece a little better.

    And thanks for the work and upload, Tin Ear - very nice.

    1. Lots of back-biting/knives-in-the-back with the Arty Set of that era.
      Reading Paul Kildea's new (2013) bio of BRITTEN, it seems that Prig despised conductors such as Boult/Sargent/Beecham/Lambert..

    2. i see - well that explains the blatant "mistakes" - or idiosyncracies - in the reviews.

      Can you tell me, despised as opposed to which other conductors? Were people like Barbirolli, or Colin Davis, or Wood, in the other camp, then? In a documentary about Colin Davis, he was putting Sargent down a bit as a showman and egomaniac, i suppose - tho i couldn't fault his conducting.

      Perhaps i'll get that Britten biography, just for education, tho i've never really gotten into Britten's music.

    3. Nope - he seemed to despise 'pretty-well the lot' (though liked Ansermet/Munch)...also the Orchestra's - so that encouraged a bit of 'animosity' towards him..

      Excellent book (600pp) but have only got to 1947 (half way - so not encountered Davis [actually theres only a passing mention later-on ]- whose Philips ROH Peter Grimes was anyway after his death - though it was Atherton, I think, that conducted @ Covent Garden when I went in '79, or so) - but much better than a fairly recent book on Beecham (from where I got the 'rehearsals' on an attached CD)

    4. i see - thank you. Will see about the Beecham book also, just to get some insight into the music-making of these conductors so many of whose recordings i've got from here.

    5. Get them from a Library if possible (the Britten is £30 - 660pp inc index); the Beecham "Thomas Beecham: An Obsession with Music" by John Lucas, is heavily on his Father/early years - post-war is a quick run-through - so rather frustrating; but at least it's 'readable'...but another recent Britten book ("Britten's century : celebrating 100 years of Benjamin Britten"...edited by Mark Bostridge) is plain useless/boring..

    6. You are correct - Bookdepository has the Britten book on discount at the moment but still rather steeply priced - perhaps must wait for paperback edition (as there is one on the Lucas' Beecham book). Bostridge's book would, on the other hand, be on the cheap side even as hardcover, ha-ha!

      i've read & heard before about the English relying on their libraries to avoid frivolous expenses, last instance i read even the likes of Charles Darwin (ie. upper classes of 19th century) practising this - which also means your libraries must be well-stocked. Alas, not so at least in the small town i live in...

    7. Nope..not around here (a/the Major University county) - only in London with my, then, 'down the drive' Central Music Library in Buckingham Palace Road; where I 'devoured' numerous books - from the mid-70's.
      Still do (@ 50+ p/a; invariably 'biggies') but rarely that category (must put in some 'requests'..though I don't find the category too interesting 'as reading-matter').

      I guess most of these books get 'remaindered' after a while - and I wouldn't fancy nearly 700 pages of paperback: just got the recent 'Official M.I.5' history as a 1050pp Hardback - as the Paperback was quite unmanageable to read..

    8. You don't say - i have, almost as thick, the unofficial history ('Spooks') of that beloved agency of yours.

      But thanks, interlibrary loan could indeed be the way to go about this.

  8. I remember owning this stereo LP ... I might upset some readers by saying that while I liked the performance, I hated the sound. This was not one of EMI's better early stereo efforts and much of the record was plagued with distortion. I do believe that this has been digitally remastered with improvement.

    1. Ah..but this is the earlier MONO recording/LP !!!

      If I had access to the master-tape I could probably make 'improved' 24/96 files compared to a 16bit commercial CD; as it is this was highly-rated @ the time for sound - and EMG didn't give-out many 'EES' ratings.

      BTW: this is part of the recently-deceased Richard Attenborough's collection (mainly comprising EMI 'Factory Samples' - ie:'Freebies') which probably sold for Peanuts at a Rugby auctioneers: - and eBay prices achieved were to £300, and more, per LP .... bit annoying, as such material never turns-up around my area.

      Only bought this / Beecham's live ALP Dvorak 8 ('worth a fortune' - £50 almost 30years back ...x6 times most White/Gold ASDs!) - being the only bidder @ £4.99 each, inc p/p: so you may be right about the 'undesirability' - but at least they were 'mint/unplayed' !!

    2. Your album art is impeccable. Are you scanning these images from the original covers?

  9. Not sure why I am having this problem, but I am getting an error message trying to download this file. Has anyone else had this issue?

    1. Not your end at fault - have checked and get an error message - which infrequently occurs(ed).

      Have re-uploaded - and, when I've the time, will check all the links...

      Scans became increasingly less good (various LED lighting inconsistencies) well before this stage as the old Canonscan 670U was grossly over-used (1000 scans previous for Cast Album site)!

      Some months back, got a Canonscan Lide 200; at least as good/faster - but still takes time to 'assemble/tweak' the usual 6 F/B scans per sleeve.


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