After 20 years, the Holy Grail CD is finally mine!

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Dennis Nicholls, Feb 26, 2003.

  1. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    I grew up in a household that didn't appreciate classical music. To my father, Lawrence Welk was "classical music". Only when I began dating my first girlfriend, a good Jewish fiddler (both of which pissed off my father), did I discover the vast wonderland of classical music.

    I went to college at Crown College of Univ. Calif. at Santa Cruz. Each of the small liberal-arts colleges at UCSC had certain academic specialties. Crown's were physical sciences and music. This was a wonderful combination for me. In the early 1970's UCSC had the draw of a great school, and Crown was a school of 400 students that was a cross between Caltech and Juliard.

    So I listened to enourmous amounts of music. I wouldn't just listen to one recording of a particular piece. My friends and I would borrow or buy all the recordings of a favorite piece and listen to them en banc. I never before or since had to opportunity to be exposed to such musical choice among a circle of knowledgeable friends.

    The one recording I discovered in those days that was a personal Holy Grail was the recording of the JS Bach violin sonatas and partitas by the Polish violinist Henryk Szeryng. Heifetz and Milstein were a poor second to his interpretations.

    Szeryng recorded the sonatas and partitas twice: once in the early 1950s for Columbia, and a second time in the mid 1960s for DGG. The early recording was to my ears the superior: a young musician bursting with talent and vigor. The later one was more suave but less passionate. I was pleased to own the LP version of the former on the budget Odyssey label (CBS Odyssey 32 36 0013). This set won the Grand Prix du Disque in France. To put it bluntly, when Artur Rubenstein first heard Szeryng perform Bach, he fell on his knees in tears and begged to be Szeryng's accompanist. Rubenstein doesn't exactly do that for just any violinist.

    Sadly when the CD format came out in 1983, only the later DGG set of Szeryng performing the sonatas and partitas was available (DGG 437 365-2). The Columbia set went missing. Sony took over Columbia but a limited pressing of the early Szeryng was impossible to find. For many years I've searched for it in used CD shops, but could never find it. I discovered it available in European shops, but certain details always put me off. Basically the Sony set was advertised as having been recorded in 1965.

    So I was glad to learn about ArkivMusic www.arkivmusic.com . They had the Sony set at a price I could gamble on: $25 shipped. This disk just arrived today. Yes, the packaging says "recorded 1965" on it. But that is just plain wrong. I compared it to the (long since memorized) LP version, and it's the early 1950's version. There's one place in the Chaconne where Szeryng scratches on a note, and this is the way I could match the two performances.

    So this is the Holy Grail CD that I've been coveting for Twenty Years! You may purchase it as Sony/masterworks Portrait #MP2K 46721, and be assured that it's the early Szeryng performance.

    No matter what your taste in music, you should go buy this set. It is reasonable to consider it the greatest recording of any music in the history of recorded music.
     
  2. Eric_E

    Eric_E Supporting Actor

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    Hi Dennis,

    I'm a classical music enthusiast myself, and while I lack the breadth of knowledge you obviously possess, I always love to hear about particularly noteworthy performances such as this one. I am interested in picking this up based on your stellar recommendation. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.
     
  3. Jonathan Perregaux

    Jonathan Perregaux Screenwriter

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    Oh, I got all excited because I thought you had spotted the elusive-as-a-white-rabbit CD soundtrack for Monty Python and the Holy Grail somewhere.
     
  4. Seth_S

    Seth_S Second Unit

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    Dennis Nicholls,

    Many OOP and hard to find recordings in the states are widely available in Japan and Europe. Checkout:

    www.hmv.co.jp and www.mdt.co.uk
     
  5. Shawn McBride

    Shawn McBride Stunt Coordinator

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  6. Seth_S

    Seth_S Second Unit

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    Shawn McBride,

    Checkout these on NAXOS:

    Shostakovich String Quartets - Eder Quartet
    Bruckner Symphonies - Georg Tintner
    Mendelssohn String Quartets - Aurora Quartet
     
  7. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    Dennis,
    Have you heard Oleg Kagan's performance of the sonatas/partitas? If so, what do you think?
     
  8. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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  9. DanaA

    DanaA Screenwriter

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    Dennis,

    You're a dream come true. I've been trying to find a perfect thank you for the help a friend has given me in building my classical music collection. So far, I've been able to find him a circa 1930 book on opera as he has a collection of opera books, but recordings are another matter altogether as he has approximately 9000 classical CD's, albums, etc. To find one I can surprise him with that there's a chance he doesn't have is wonderful...and he loves violins and Bach. I ordered it as soon as I saw it. If he has it, it goes in my collection and I keep up the search. If he doesn't, bravo!!!
     

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