08 July 2024

24/48: Beatrice Lillie / LSO / Skitch Henderson - Peter and the Wolf -&- Carnaval des animaux - Decca 1960

Sergei Prokofiev: "Peter and the Wolf", op.67

Camille Saint-Saens: "Le Carnaval des animaux"
(Julius Katchen & Gary Graffman, pianos & Kenneth Heath, 'cello)

2 files 16/44 FLAC  Mega Download           2 files  24/48  XR FLAC  Mega Download

Beatrice Lillie, Narrator - London Symphony Orchestra  conducted by  Skitch Henderson

Decca  SXL 2218  1973 pressing/matrices: ZAL4785 -5W / ZAL4786 -4W.  Recorded: 10/12 February 1960 - Kingsway Hall.
As mentioned in the Peer Gynt - this fills-up my original Mega allowance, bar a mono upload: so, in that regard, it's a matter of B.Lillie's end-remark  ("Peter & the Wolf"):   .....gooooood-night...........children..     Session photograph / Rear sleeve / EMG review >>>


  1. Milestomozart09 July, 2024

    I will always have a soft spot for the Carnival of the Animals, having had the chance in high school to play the second piano part for a school orchestra concert. This is such a fun recording - thank you for the transfer, Tin Ear! The combination of Katchen and Graffman - amazing!

    To complement your EMG review above, according to The Stereo Guide, Volume 2, this disc got 3 stars and a demonstration "D", and I quote: "The Decca version of the Carnival of the Animals opens with some realistic sounds from the animals themselves, recorded at London Zoo, then goes on to present an excellent performance of the music, nicely recorded. However, the introductory verses of Ogden Nash dominate every section of the record and if, like me, you find them clumsy and destructive of the composer's much daintier wit you will, like me, hope that Decca re-issue the music without the narration (as an alternative version)."

    1. Seems you've additionally splashed-out on the SRG's (am missing 3 & 4 of the 9)..
      I've a soft-spot, too, for Columbia CL 720 (original Red label: Coward/Godfrey/Kostelanetz)- the 1949/50 versions - which are remarkably fine.
      US Columbia's rarely got UK issues - though the Coward have also on Philips GBL (+1957 K's Walton Facade)..
      Just noticed High Fidelity were less than impressed with Bea Lillies 1955 '"An Evening With" - also the Caedmon 'Nonsense LP'.
      She was an old-trouper by 1960 as have some acoustic Columbia 80's of "Cheep"/"Bubbly" revues pre-1920.
      Decca 1980-ish reissued (on 'Viva') the Phase 4 Dorati Britten YPGTTO without James Bond narrating - have a factory test - which includes Ralph Richardson's P&W (also on SPA c/w Prokofiev Sym.1 - Sargent conducts from around 1960.
      This transfer sounds rather good - I retain the 'raw' version - but the difference is minimal. The pianists really are good in Carnaval - indeed, as I mentioned, the LP is A Hoot (and being downoaded quite-a-lot (.......................................................)!

    2. Milestomozart10 July, 2024

      I thank you for informing me about the SRG to begin with. I knew of the Penguin guides but didn't realize that the SRG was their predecessor. I managed to find volumes 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6, and the first Penguin guide through an online used thrift bookstore in the US. Volume 4 seems very hard to locate. It's really enlightening to read the contemporary reviews and the comparisons between the "top" choices of the day.

      Haha, I had to look up which James Bond was narrating the YPGTTO - Sean Connery, of course! One of the Columbia SAXes I never bothered to get (although Meles really liked it) was the Peter and the Wolf with Peter Ustinov. Perhaps I should reconsider. I previously liked the one with Efrem Kurtz conducting the Philharmonia and Michael Flanders narrating (also coupled with the Carnival, Abbey Simon and Hephzibah Menuhin on pianos).

      Occasionally, I find UK Columbia issues of US Columbia records here in the US. I've found a few Szell and Bruno Walter recordings that way.. Never did a proper comparison with the US issues but always wondered if the British pressing quality was superior. As you pointed out, many of the early US Columbias ones were released by Philips.

      I'm glad to hear that your transfer is being frequently downloaded!!

    3. Scarce as mostly OOP by 1970-odd. Got 5-8 for 70pence each (+ several doz Gramophone Classical quarterly catalogues @ 10p each) from Buckingham Palace Rd 'Central Music Library' - late-80's - and 1/2/9 (cheaply) from eBay. Don't have the SAX/ASD versions.

  2. Replies
    1. A tad livelier then Angela Rippon's 1977 'Enigma' versions.
      I notice the Sargent (SPA 90)was last on CD in 1991..