REVIEW POTPOURRI: Beethoven’s 4th Piano Concerto in G Major

Arturo Toscanini

Peter Catesby Peter Cates

Beethoven’s 4th Piano Concerto in G Major

Back during the summer of 1965, the family had a General Electric table model radio which I listened to by the hour when it broadcast classical music from WMTW-FM then located in the old Poland Springs Hotel, at the foot of Mount Washington. Anyways, it regularly programmed stereo recordings as part of its nightly Evening Concert which ran for two hours from 9 to 11 p.m., except for Saturday nights when Ray Smith hosted his weekly show of big band jazz records.

As an obsessed record collector, I wanted to hear every disc that came my way and took note of piece and performer for consideration with my very limited purchasing power; I remember the thrill of discovery with certain works – the Brahms 3rd Symphony with George Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra and its life-affirming opening pages or the sweetly exquisite Faure’s Pelleas and Melisande incidental music via the Charles Munch/Philadelphia Orchestra album.

Usually the station avoided recordings from before the late ‘40’s LP years but, one evening, the announcer stated that an exception would be made with an RCA Victor release of a 1944 broadcast from the NBC Symphony led by Arturo Toscanini and pianist Rudolf Serkin of Beethoven’s 4th Piano Concerto in G Major because of its merit as a performance.

Like the Emperor Concerto, the 4th opens with the solo piano; unlike the Emperor with its bold assertive flourishes, its notes are of a gentler nature, and then the orchestra re-states the opening melody with very beguiling sonorites. The 2nd movement is a conversation between the meditative piano and the abrupt, at times abrasive orchestra which shortly leads, without a break, into the joyful concluding Finale with its knuckle-busting chords.

Serkin and Toscanini pulled it off with driving ferocity that some even considered too hectic, not including myself; the pianist would later record two distinguished 4ths with Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra and leave another fine broadcast with an Italian radio orchestra that was released during the ‘80s on LP and CD.

Other superb 4ths were left by such titans as Artur Rubinstein, Walter Gieseking, Claudio Arrau, Alfred Brendel, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Van Cliburn, Guiomar Novaes, Clara Haskil, Van Cliburn, Wilhelm Backhaus, Edwin Fischer, Wilhelm Kempff, Friedrich Gulda, Artur Schnabel, Julius Katchen, Gina Bachauer, Emil Gilels, Artur Schnabel, Clifford Curzon, Glenn Gould and Leon Fleisher.

Elvis vs. Boone

In 1955, Elvis Presley was the opening act for Pat Boone in a Cleveland, Ohio, concert. In 1957, a poll was taken among teenagers as to which singer had more fans. Among boys, Boone was preferred 2 to 1 over Elvis, and 3 to 1 among girls. Both singers did have a high regard for each other and both made a number of fine records.

Winter quote from the Greek philosopher Aristotle – “To appreciate the beauty of a snowflake, it is necessary to stand out in the cold.”

REVIEW POTPOURRI: Poet Isaac McLellan

Isaac McLellan

Peter Catesby Peter Cates

Poet
Isaac McLellan

Portland native Isaac McLellan (1806-1899), whom I have written about previously, celebrated our Pine Tree beauty, with wondrously enunciated place names in a minor masterpiece, The Shores of Maine; amidst the frigid long nights of January, one can hope that spring-pleasant temperatures arrive quickly and on time March 21:

“Far in the sunset’s mellow glory,
Far in the daybreak’s pearly bloom-
Fring’d by ocean’s foamy surges,
Belted in by woods of gloom,
Stretch thy soft luxuriant borders,
Smile thy shores, in hill and plain,
Flower-enamelled, ocean-girdled,
Green bright shores of Maine,

“Rivers of surpassing beauty
From thy hemlock woodlands flow,-
Androscoggin and Penobscot,
Saco, chill’d by northern snow,
These from many a lowly ravine
Thick by pine-trees shadow’d o’er,
Sparkling from their ice-cold tributes
To the surges of thy shore.

“Bays resplendent as the heaven,
Starr’d and gemm’d by thousand isles,
Gird thee, Casco, with its islets,
Quoddy with its dimpled smiles:
O’er them the fisher’s shallop,
And tall ships their wings expand,
While the smoke-flag of the steamer,
Flaunteth out its cloudy streamer,
Bound to foreign strand.

“Bright from many a rocky headland
Fring’d by sands that shine like gold,
Gleams the light-house white and lonely,
Grim as some barronial hold.
Bright by many an ocean valley
Shaded hut and village shine;
Roof and steeple, weather-beaten,
Stain’d by ocean’s breath of brine.”

After years residing in Massachusetts, Europe, New York City, Virginia and North Carolina, McLellan, a bachelor, lived out his last years at Greenport on Long Island.

REVIEW POTPOURRI — Composer: Pietro Mascagni; TV: Perry Mason; Singer: Neil Sedaka

Peter Catesby Peter Cates

In April, 1940, Italian composer Pietro Mascagni (1863-1945) conducted the La Scala Opera Orchestra and Chorus in a recording of his masterpiece, Cavalleria Rusticana, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of its 1890 premiere, at the invitation of the record label, La Voce del Padrone, in a very hea­vy set of 11 breakable 78s; since then it has been reissued in LP and CD formats and can also be heard on YouTube.

The story takes place in an impoverished village and the two main characters are Santuzza and Turiddu; Santuzza is madly in love with Turiddu but he is paying more attention to an ex-girlfriend, Lola, who is welcoming his ad­vances while now married to the very jealous Alfio. Tragedy inevitably occurs in a knife fight.

Currently, it has been my favorite opera to listen to and the composer’s recording can be added to distinguished ones of De Los Angeles/Corelli and Tebaldi/Bjoreling, both of which are also on YouTube. After its premiere, it was presented 14,000 times just in Italy before World War I began, and is often, due to its one hour length, presented the same evening as Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci, with its own immortal Vesti la Giubba.

Beniamino Gigli

The composer chose tenor Beniamino Gigli (1890-1957) as Turriddu and soprano Lina Bruna Rasa (1907-1984) to sing Santuzza. Rasa and the composer met in 1928 when he conducted her in a Cavalleria before a crowd of 35,000 people. She brought such beauty, dramatic intensity and sorrow to the role that Mascagni considered her his favorite Santuzza from then on and would not accept any other soprano in that role.

Lina Bruna Rasa

Very sadly, Lina was emotionally very fragile and suffered frequent breakdowns after the age of 25, which only worsened after her mother died in 1935. She would pull herself together for brief periods when singing but then would have strange hallucinations and periods of depression that manifested themselves in sadness and passivity. Her friends and colleagues adored her and were very protective of her. But the breakdowns increased and she made her last stage appearance in 1942. She would spend the rest of her life in and out of a mental hospital in Milan.

* * * * * *

Raymond Burr as Perry Mason

I have started bingeing on episodes of the CBS TV show, Perry Mason, which was produced from 1957 to 1966. My favorite characters are Ray Collins’s Lieutenant Tragg, William Hopper’s private investigator Paul Drake and the wonderful Barbara Hale’s Della Street who was Perry Mason’s private secretary. Also, the courtroom trials were edifying lessons in procedural strategies and the most entertaining portions of the program.

* * * * * *

Neil Sedaka

Pop singer Neil Sedaka recently posted a YouTube testifying to his recovery from Covid-19. He’s close to 82 and sang three songs, including his mega­hit Cal­endar Girl from more than 60 years ago, while accompanying himself on the piano.

 

 

 

 

 

 

REVIEW POTPOURRI: Romanian Christmas Carols

Valeriu Anania

Peter Catesby Peter Cates

Romanian Christmas Carols

Electrechord, ST-EXE 01971, vinyl LP, recorded 1982) is a selection of 16 carols performed by soloists and the Choir of the Romanian Patriarchate, led by the Reverend Iulian Carstoiu.

The annotator Valeriu Anania writes: “Romanian Christmas carols are deeply rooted into the soul of a nation who not only created them but also experiences them within its intimate nature, handing them down from generation to generation, mainly through the voices of children. Unlike those of some other peoples, these are not family festive songs but a message extended by the members of a Christian group to their own community.”

Romania and a few other countries in Eastern Europe commemorate church holidays more often than here in the states; the singing, lighting of candles and other reverent practices are the very stuff of life in its long history of oppression by internal and outside totalitarian forces. Translations of titles convey the special yuletide awe – Great Wonder; Holy Mother Stepping Down; In a Land of Flowers; Downhill at Bethlehem; Lord O Little Lord from Heaven; and Well-Wishing Blossom Bough.

The singing is sublime. Highly recommended, despite the language barrier, as a refreshing change from the usual Deck the Halls Stale Holly, etc.

* * * * * *

Christina Rosetti

Wintry Christmas imagery from the superb English poet Christina Rosetti (1830-1894):

“Lord God of all things
Be they near or far,
Be they high or low;
Lord of storm and snow.
Angel and star.”

When not writing poetry, Christina Rosetti reached out to unwed mothers, women in prison and prostitutes in her good works, and friendship. When her oldest brother, the poet and painter Dante Gabriel Rosetti (1828-1882) took ill for several years before he died, she and other siblings moved into the same house and were his caregivers.

She was a small woman and would sit quietly at social occasions. However, she did once stand up, stated, “I am Christina Rosetti – a poet!” and then sat down again.

REVIEW POTPOURRI: Christmas classics

Peter Catesby Peter Cates

Christmas classics

Allastair Sim

In 1942, Columbia Masterworks released a set of three 12-inch 78s, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, starring Basil Rathbone (1892-1967) as Ebenezer Scrooge and several other more minor actors and actresses from Hollywood’s truly Golden Age of the ‘30s and ‘40s, when work there was much more plentiful. Although the 1951 Allastair Sim black and white English film is my gold standard for this ever fascinating story, Rathbone brought a powerful, at times mean-spirited edginess to his speaking voice in this 25-minute presentation, one definitely more captivating than the recording of Lionel Barrymore (1878-1954), who drawled his way through a bit too much.

Basil Rathbone

The one good guy role I remember of Rathbone was the series of Sherlock Holmes films with the perfectly cast Nigel Bruce (1895-1953) as Watson. His villains in such classics as A Tale of Two Cities, Captain Blood, David Copperfield and The Mark of Zorro were singularly persuasive as was his appearance in Spencer Tracy’s late ‘50s The Last Hurrah.

The Barbirolli Society, a label devoted to the recorded legacy of the great conductor Sir John Barbirolli (1899-1970), released a two CD set, SJB 1084-5, of an October 20, 1960, concert Barbirolli led at the very spacious Free Trade Hall, in Manchester, England, one of the most important classical music events in Great Britain during the last 50 years of the 20th century, the significance of which I hope to convey presently. The concert featured Danish composer Carl Nielsen’s 5th and Gustav Mahler’s 7th Symphonies, both of them powerful large scale pieces now commonly performed but then rarely. The BBC took a risk sponsoring the concert and pushed the envelope by combining two different orchestras, Barbirolli’s Halle Orchestra and the BBC’S Northern Symphony, both of them groups which regularly concertized in the Manchester metropolitan area. They and Barbirolli felt that this was a one time opportunity to provide at least 200 players, instead of the usual 80 to 100, that both Mahler and Nielsen hoped for in their own performance instructions.

The results were two hours of very inspired music-making and a highly recommended cd set to adventurous listeners.

Ellen Hamilton Latzen as Ruby Sue

The late New Yorker jazz critic Whitney Balliet (1926-2007) left a description of singer Tony Bennett’s rented stretch limousine, picking him and his daughter up in front of the New York City Upper East Side apartment building where he resided with his family during the 1970s: “the length of the one Jelly Roll Morton said he had to take to Central Park to turn around pulled up at the curb.”

Chevy Chase’s 1989 National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is quite riotous as a comedy film, if a bit overblown at times. Ellen Hamilton Latzen almost stole the show as the eight-year-old Ruby Sue, daughter of an impoverished brother-in-law and family who drop in unexpectedly.

 

REVIEW POTPOURRI: A Down-Home Country Christmas

Peter Catesby Peter Cates

A Down-Home Country Christmas

Sea Shell
P 14992, LP, anthology released 1981.

The above anthology featured selections from the Columbia/Epic Special Products catalog of artists. It was one of dozens of such Christmas anthologies released during the decades of LP availability and these records were usually priced at $1 under the auspices of Goodyear’s, B.F. Goodrich, Grant’s or other outlets.

Ray Price

Ray Price (1926-2013) sang Jingle Bells with commendable persuasiveness via his rich effusive baritone, although my favorite version of this song is still Peggy Lee’s with a children’s chorus.

Initially, Price had considered majoring in veterinary science after high school graduation but had second thoughts, because of his small size, working around large steers and horses in his native Texas. Having already shown talent as a singer and guitarist during his teenage years, he began performing on local radio, made some recordings for small labels and, by perseverance, and sheer luck, achieved fame and fortune.

In 1999, Price made headlines when he was arrested for possession of marijuana. When Willie Nelson, being no stranger to pot smoking himself, heard about Price’s arrest, he hailed it as good news for his friend, claiming that the arrest would give Price $5 million worth of free publicity.

Johnny Cash (1932-2003) narrated the seasonal Spirit of Christmas to the tune of Little Town of Bethlehem.

Jim Nabors (1930-2017) poured on his richly syrupy baritone in singing Come All Ye Faithful.

Jimmy Dean (1928-2010) intoned Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, a song introduced by Judy Garland in the 1944 movie, Meet Me in Saint Louis; who could forget Jimmy’s 1961 megahit, Big Bad John, his appearance in the 1971 James Bond film Diamonds Are Forever and his breakfast sausage.

Lynn Anderson (1947-2015) was the daughter of singer/songwriter Liz Anderson (1930-2011) and began her career as a regular on the Lawrence Welk Show for two years before heading to Nashville. A few years ago, I wrote a column about one of her Columbia albums, which was co-produced by her ex-husband, Glenn Sutton. She, like her mother had a sweet voice and her Soon It Will Be Christmas Day, not to be confused with Silver Bells, is quite lovely.

Marty Robbins (1925-1982) charted in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s with four very captivating classics, White Sport Coat and a Pink Carnation, Story of My Life, Seventeen, and Devil Woman. He died very early just after heart surgery. His Hark the Herald Angels Sing is good but not his best.

Now 62, Tanya Tucker did a very good Silver Bells during her teenage years after achieving fame and fortune at 14 years old with What’s Your Mama’s Name? and Delta Dawn. She had romances with singers Merle Haggard, Andy Gibbs and Glen Campbell, and actor Don Johnson.

The three remaining tracks are as follows:

Charlie Rich (1932-1995) – God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.

Jody Miller , now 79, What Child Is This.

And the last selection, an absolute gem, is the Chuck Wagon Gang’s a cappella Joy to the World.

A solid recommendation for Christmas music.

REVIEW POTPOURRI: Ten Famous Sopranos

Peter Catesby Peter Cates

Ten Famous Sopranos

London, OS 26206, LP, 1973 release.

This anthology makes for a wonderful introduction to the appreciation of great opera (I know some consider great and opera an oxymoron) via 10 of the finest sopranos active during the last century, although I notice two of London records finest artists Inge Borkh and Mirella Freni are missing.

Renata Tebaldi

Renata Tebaldi, 1922-2004, delivers a heart-rending Vissi D’Arte from Giacomo Puccini’s opera of tragedy, Tosca, in which she is pleading with God to alleviate her sorrow. During Tebaldi’s first engagement in Italy in 1944, she travelled the many miles to and from it on a horse-driven cart under heavy machine gun fire during wartime. Two years later, the great conductor Arturo Toscanini told her that ‘she had the voice of an angel.’

Joan Sutherland

Joan Sutherland, 1926-2010, sings an aria from Gounod’s Faust. She made her very successful Covent Garden debut in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor and was visited backstage by Maria Callas, who was a huge fan and one of her best friends. She and her husband, conductor Richard Bonynge, who’s still living, were both from Sydney, Australia.

Leontyne Price

Leontyne Price, still living at 93, had during her prime years a voice that combined sheer power and astounding beauty. She was from Mississippi and received a scholarship to study voice at Juilliard School of Music in NYC. Within a few short years, she had a recording contract with RCA Victor. Here she sings a magnificent aria from Verdi’s Aida.

Birgit Nilsson

Swedish soprano Birgit Nilsson, 1918-2005, had lungs of steel and recorded the dramatic roles in Wagner and Richard Strauss’s crazy operas — the Wagner 16 hour Ring cycle and Strauss’s violent masterworks, Salome and Elektra. She could also give sweet renditions of Swedish lullabies.

She sings a jubilant aria from Wagner’s Tannhauser.

Regine Crespin

French soprano Regine Crespin, 1927-2007, personified a delectable refinement in her low, middle and upper vocal register.

She was also notorious for her rough and tough high standards and bad temper; during the recording of Wagner’s Die Walkure with tenor James King, he missed a cue and she kicked him on the shin.

She sings Santuzza’s heart-breaking lament, Voi Lo Sapete, from Mascagni’s gorgeous Cavalleria Rusticana, an opera that received 14,000 performances in Italy alone during the composer’s lifetime.

The remaining five sopranos are Pilar Lorengar, Zinka Milanov, Elena Souliotis, Marilyn Horne, and Gwyneth Jones who each sing, in order of appearance, arias from Puccini’s Madame Butterfly, Ponchielli’s La Gioconda, Verdi’s La Forza del Destino, Bizet’s Carmen and Wagner’s Flying Dutchman.

In short, a record to cherish.

* * * * * *

W. H. Auden

Some lines from the poem Little Things by the prize-winning 25-year-old Romanian poet Anastasia Gavrilovici in an English translation by Caterina Stanislav and Vlad Pojoga:

“Maybe people really do give their best shot when they’re crushed, just like olives/ Or maybe not, what do I know, my mind is a piece of Swiss cheese through which you can hear the music of lab rats.”

W.H. Auden wrote a poem, The Age of Anxiety, during World War II. Anas­tasia’s poem mirrors the current anxiety going on due to the pandemic and other on-going issues. She is definitely a poet of interest.

 

 

 

REVIEW POTPOURRI: Van Wyck Brooks

Van Wyck Brooks

Peter Catesby Peter Cates

Van Wyck Brooks

In his fascinating 1936 literary history, The Flowering of New England, Van Wyck Brooks (1886-1963) astutely commented on Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, in an essay, justifying the importance of a poet’s profession, its nobility and necessity to life itself:

“Poetry did not enervate the mind or unfit the mind for the practical duties of life. He hoped that poets would rise to convince the nation that, properly understood, ‘utility’ embraces whatever contributes to make men happy. What had retarded American poetry? What but the want of exclusive cultivation? American poetry had been a pastime, beguiling the idle moments of merchants and lawyers. American scholarship had existed solely to satisfy the interests of theology.

“Neither had been a self-sufficient cause for self-devotion. Henceforth, let it be understood that he who, in the solitude of his chamber, quickened the inner life of his countrymen, lived not for himself or lived in vain. The hour had struck for poets. Let them be more national and more natural, but only national as they were natural. Eschew the skylark and the nightingale, birds that Audobon had never found. A national literature ought to be built, as the robin builds its nest, out of the twigs and straws of one’s native meadows. “

Between 1620, when the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth, Massachusetts, and 1815, when the creative spirits were gaining firmer ground in New England, the country was fighting for survival in an untamed wilderness. Farming and the formation of a civil society under the eyes of a just, loving and wrathful God were facts of life. Art, music and literature were mostly frowned upon except during the few patches of free time.

But a few worthwhile poets did emerge – the Puritan Anne Bradstreet (1612-1672, who married her husband Simon when she was 16); the physician and pastor Edward Taylor (1642-1729, who moved to the remote settlement of Westfield, Massachusetts, in the Berkshires and wrote some very intricate verses during his spare time that were discovered 200 years after his death in the back rooms of the Yale University Library) and William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878, whose family was originally from Knox before settling in Massachusetts).

However, the Romantic period in England and Europe brought about a passionate, very subjective individuality that would inspire Longfellow, his friend Hawthorne and Emerson, Thoreau and other Transcendentalists.

For what it’s worth, English poets were writing Odes and other tributes to nightingales while Longfellow did celebrate the beauties of nature frequently and not just the twigs. I look out on the back lawn in November and see a lot of twigs and stripped branches but do look forward to the end of winter in late May.

REVIEW POTPOURRI – Composers: Cesar Cui, Mily Balakirev, Alexander Borodin, Modeste Mous­sorgsky and Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov

Cesar Cui

Peter Catesby Peter Cates

Cui

Orientale; Glazunov: Arabian Melody.
Hans Kindler, cello, with orchestra. Victrola 702, ten inch acoustically recorded shellac from May 27th, 1920, and December 12th, 1921.

Cesar Cui (1835-1918), along with fellow composers Mily Balakirev (1837-1910), Alexander Borodin (1833-1887), Modeste Mous­sorgsky (1839-1881) and Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908), forged a bond known as the Russian five in writing music with nationalist feeling, rhythms and melodies of their country’s history, legends and folk music sources.

Moussorgsky was best known for the opera Boris Godunov, the Halloween showpiece Night on Bald Mountain and Pictures at an Exhibition. Unfortunately he drank himself into an early grave.

Borodin was a medical doctor and organic chemist and composed on a part time basis but left the justly popular opera Prince Igor with its exotic Polovetsian Dances and the delicate tone poem In the Steppes of Central Asia. He succumbed to a heart attack while attending a ball.

Rimsky-Korsakov was a naval officer but also taught composition to such pupils as Igor Stravinsky. His arguably most famous work is Scheherazade.

Mily Balakirev

Balakirev was a composer, pianist and conductor who left a solo piano showpiece Islamey and 1 Symphony of note and was the leader of the group as well.

Cesar Cui taught fortifications and wartime strategies at several military academies and may be the least known of the group. His Orientale for cello and orchestra was recorded two years after he died and has a plaintive melancholy and beauty rendering it worthy of popularity. Dutch-born cellist/conductor Hans Kindler (1892-1949) gave a deeply felt performance.

Alexander Glazunov was a famed teacher of composition whose most well-known student was Dimitri Shostakovich. He would unfailingly show up at concerts of his students music, no matter its quality and would sit in front row center with seemly very attentive listening. What was not noticed by many was that Glazunov stuffed his ears with paper tissue so he could be alone with his thoughts.

His very lyrical Arabian Melody also received a rapturous performance. And this old record has stood up with several hearings and can be heard via the internet.

Hans Kindler started the National Symphony Orchestra of D.C. from a small community group in 1931 and, despite the Depression, achieved extraordinary success. He recorded a batch of music on Victor 78 sets including a very exciting performance of Tchaaikovsky’s 3rd or Polish Symphony. His google images have a photo of him shaking hands with FDR.

REVIEW POTPOURRI – Composer: Tchaikovsky

Peter Catesby Peter Cates

Tchaikovsky

Symphony No. 5
Paul Kletzki conducting the Philharmonia Orchestra; Columbia Masterworks, MM-701, six 12 inch 78s; recorded November 13 and 14, 1946.

Pyotr Tchaikovsky

Tchaikovsky finished composing his 5th Symphony in 1888; along with the 4th and 6th (Pathetique) Symphonies; it expresses the most intense extremes of emotion, ranging from harrowing despair to jubilation. The composer himself was manic and tormented his entire life by self-doubts and depression. These three symphonies mirror them but have memorable melodic material and development which have sustained their popularity in concert halls and recording studios since their composition. I have lost track of the number of recordings I have of them.

Tchaikovsky visited Hamburg, Germany, in 1888 and 1889 and was hosted by a locally-prominent music teacher Teodor Ave-Lallemant (1806-1890) during the first trip before he completed the symphony. The two struck up a fast friendship but had a most interesting conversation regarding the older man’s feelings about Tchaikovsky’s music.

Ave-Lallemant felt that the composer’s pieces heard then, which included the Serenade for Strings and 1st Piano Concerto, were horrendous sounding but blamed its lackings more on Russia’s cultural backwardness than on the composer. He insisted that Tchaikovsky had the makings of a great composer if only he would move to Germany to absorb its inspiring traditions.

Tchaikovsky wrote in his journals that “Evidently Herr Ave-Lallemant harbours a deep prejudice against Russia, and I tried as far as I could to mitigate his hostile feelings towards our country, which, incidentally, this venerable Russophobe did not actually express openly but merely allowed to shine in his words. We parted as great friends.”

He dedicated his 5th Symphony to Ave-Lallemant and conducted its German premiere on his 1889 trip to Hamburg. Sadly, the gentleman was too ill to attend and died the following year. Tchaikovsky’s German publisher wrote a letter to the composer conveying the news and the following comment:

“Good Herr Ave-Lallement has died. The most distinguishing event in his life was in any case that which put his name on your 5th Symphony. He accorded you his full sympathy. ”

Paul Kletzki (1900-1973) conducted an especially beautiful performance that was suffused with poetic lyricism and the 1946 recording can be heard on YouTube. Kletzki grew up in Poland and, while he was fighting for his country during its war with Russia, a bullet grazed his skull while all too many of his comrades were killed. Later he fled the Nazis but his parents and a sister were murdered during the Holocaust.

Every recording I have heard of him is quite good and many of them can also be heard on YouTube.

He died on March 5, 1973, after collapsing during a rehearsal with the Liverpool, England, Philharmonic.