Mahler Symphony No. 1 - Walter/NY

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moldyoldie
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Mahler Symphony No. 1 - Walter/NY

Post by moldyoldie » Mon Nov 06, 2006 10:35 am

I have an LP I picked up at a library sale of Mahler's Symphony No. 1 featuring the Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra of New York conducted by Bruno Walter. (Not the Columbia Symphony recording.)

It's Columbia Masterworks ML 4958.

There's not a clue on the sleeve nor the disc as to when it was recorded or released. Googling a variety of entries yields nada. Can anyone help?

Thank you in advance. :)

moldyoldie
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Post by moldyoldie » Mon Nov 06, 2006 11:12 am

Never mind. Here's a Netherlands site that says it was recorded in 1954 and, I presume, released the following year.

Thanks anyways :D

Heck148
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Post by Heck148 » Mon Nov 06, 2006 1:11 pm

a good Walter Discography:

http://www.geocities.com/walteriana76/BWrecordsB.htm

<<Mahler: Symphony No. 1

(f) New York Philharmonic

January 25, 1954; Carnegie Hall
• LP: Columbia SL 218; ML 4958; CBS A 01150; 39770; CBS/Sony SOCF 121; 20AC 1955; Philips ABL 3044; ABL 3222

• CD: CBS/Sony 32DC 577; Sony (Japan) SRCR 8685; Sony MHK 64428>>

my CD of this performance is 63328... :?: :?

Jack Kelso
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Post by Jack Kelso » Tue Nov 07, 2006 3:36 am

That is a collector's item, an important historical recording---since Walter was a close friend of the composer.

I'm not sure, but didn't Bruno Walter record the First again later with the Columbia Symphony Orchestra (around the time he did the Bruckner 4th, 7th and 9th)?

At any rate, in his autobiography ("A Mingled Chime") Walter refers to the Finale as being more (raw) emotion than symphonic form.

With advanced modern recording techniques, I prefer Kubelik/Bavarian Radio-Sym. or Ozawa/Boston Sym.

Jack
"Schumann's our music-maker now." ---Robert Browning

val
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Post by val » Tue Nov 07, 2006 4:41 am

In both versions (NYP and Columbia Orchestra) Walter is extraordinary in the first three movements. The first movement, in my opinion, can only be compared with the one of Kubelik.
But in the last movement, although very dramatic, I think that Walter doesn't have the coherency and balance of the Horenstein version with the LSO.

pizza
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Post by pizza » Tue Nov 07, 2006 8:36 am

Jack Kelso wrote:That is a collector's item, an important historical recording---since Walter was a close friend of the composer.

Jack
A 1954 recording isn't "historical" yet. I bought the LP when it first appeared. :wink:

Jack Kelso
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Post by Jack Kelso » Tue Nov 07, 2006 9:00 am

pizza wrote:
Jack Kelso wrote:That is a collector's item, an important historical recording---since Walter was a close friend of the composer.

Jack
A 1954 recording isn't "historical" yet. I bought the LP when it first appeared. :wink:
Granted. But for me, anything recorded before the advent of stereo (1957) is "historical"......

Tschüß,
Jack
"Schumann's our music-maker now." ---Robert Browning

pizza
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Post by pizza » Tue Nov 07, 2006 11:13 am

Jack Kelso wrote:
pizza wrote:
Jack Kelso wrote:That is a collector's item, an important historical recording---since Walter was a close friend of the composer.

Jack
A 1954 recording isn't "historical" yet. I bought the LP when it first appeared. :wink:
Granted. But for me, anything recorded before the advent of stereo (1957) is "historical"......

Tschüß,
Jack
RCA commercially released several stereo recordings on pre-recorded open reel tape in 1954. Strauss' Also Sprach Zarathustra recorded by Reiner/CSO is one of the more famous ones.

Robert Blake, who was Remington's recording technician, recorded Sibelius' "The Origin of Fire" in stereo in November 1953 with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra conducted by Thor Johnson.

CharmNewton
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Post by CharmNewton » Wed Nov 08, 2006 12:20 am

pizza wrote:
Jack Kelso wrote:
pizza wrote:
Jack Kelso wrote:That is a collector's item, an important historical recording---since Walter was a close friend of the composer.

Jack
A 1954 recording isn't "historical" yet. I bought the LP when it first appeared. :wink:
Granted. But for me, anything recorded before the advent of stereo (1957) is "historical"......

Tschüß,
Jack
RCA commercially released several stereo recordings on pre-recorded open reel tape in 1954. Strauss' Also Sprach Zarathustra recorded by Reiner/CSO is one of the more famous ones.

Robert Blake, who was Remington's recording technician, recorded Sibelius' "The Origin of Fire" in stereo in November 1953 with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra conducted by Thor Johnson.
Toscanini's final concert from April, 1954 was recorded in stereo and has been released in that format, maybe even officially (but not by RCA). RCA recorded the broadcast of Tchaikovsky's Pathetique from March 21, 1954 in stereo as well. Robert C. Marsh was of the opinion that both sound and performance were substandard. Portions of Monteux's December, 1953 recording of excerpts from Delibes' Coppelia have also appeared in stereo.

If stereo is the criteria for non-historical, then some cylinders from the 1890s would fall in that category. Bell Labs made some now famous stereo recordings in the Academy of Music in the early 1930s and Alan Blumlein made a stereo recording of Sir Thomas Beecham conducting Mozart's Jupiter Symphony in 1934. EMI issued a portion of this in a Beecham centennial box of LPs back in 1979.

John

Jack Kelso
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Post by Jack Kelso » Wed Nov 08, 2006 3:12 am

Well....whaddya know----I honestly wasn't aware that there were hi-fi/stereo recordings prior to 1957. Thanks to all for the eye-opener.

Hmmm....live and learn....

Jack
"Schumann's our music-maker now." ---Robert Browning

Eetu Pellonpää
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Post by Eetu Pellonpää » Wed Nov 08, 2006 5:00 am

Bit off topic, but if I remember right, isn't the start of the 60's Star Trek series overture nearly a carbon copy of the opening of Mahler's 1st symphony? :wink:

CharmNewton
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Post by CharmNewton » Wed Nov 08, 2006 10:33 pm

Jack Kelso wrote:Well....whaddya know----I honestly wasn't aware that there were hi-fi/stereo recordings prior to 1957. Thanks to all for the eye-opener.

Hmmm....live and learn....

Jack
The adoption of electrical recording techniques in the making of commercial recordings in 1925 was (for me) the single biggest leap in the history of recorded music. All recordings made electrically have the potential to be high-fidelity and in the early days there is quite a bit of variability as engineers learned to cope with the possibilities of the new medium. Most persons who hear well-reproduced 78s are struck by the presence captured in the grooves and the size of the sound image. Even the best CD transfers lose some of this immediacy.

It is a mystery why it took until 1925 for Victor (or Columbia for that matter) to utilize the process developed by Western Electric, a division of Bell Telephone Labs. Western Electric had perfected its process c. 1919 and electrical methods were used to record radio transcriptions after the commercial introduction of that medium in 1920. Columbia seems to have been unaware of the process, at least that is how the story goes. But the electrical reproduction of sound via loudspeakers in radios seemingly must have raised the question of electrical reproduction in Vicrolas and other record producing devices. But then the manner in which the telephone turns acoustical energy into electrical energy didn't register as a recording medium to recording companies either.

The delay in the introduction of the process meant that some artists are lost to us in the high-fidelity medium, notably Caruso and the conductor Nikisch. I'm sure there are many others as well.

John

pizza
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Post by pizza » Thu Nov 09, 2006 1:28 am

CharmNewton wrote:The adoption of electrical recording techniques in the making of commercial recordings in 1925 was (for me) the single biggest leap in the history of recorded music. All recordings made electrically have the potential to be high-fidelity and in the early days there is quite a bit of variability as engineers learned to cope with the possibilities of the new medium. Most persons who hear well-reproduced 78s are struck by the presence captured in the grooves and the size of the sound image. Even the best CD transfers lose some of this immediacy.

John
I read an article -- can't remember in which journal -- claiming that if engineers had pursued the development of acoustical techniques with the same interest and intensity as electrical, the degree of recording fidelity would be greater than what we have now!

CharmNewton
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Post by CharmNewton » Thu Nov 09, 2006 11:29 pm

pizza wrote:
CharmNewton wrote:The adoption of electrical recording techniques in the making of commercial recordings in 1925 was (for me) the single biggest leap in the history of recorded music. All recordings made electrically have the potential to be high-fidelity and in the early days there is quite a bit of variability as engineers learned to cope with the possibilities of the new medium. Most persons who hear well-reproduced 78s are struck by the presence captured in the grooves and the size of the sound image. Even the best CD transfers lose some of this immediacy.

John
I read an article -- can't remember in which journal -- claiming that if engineers had pursued the development of acoustical techniques with the same interest and intensity as electrical, the degree of recording fidelity would be greater than what we have now!
It must have occurred to enginers at the time that they were hitting the limits of acoustical recording and reproduction. How does one capture the low frequency waveforms acoustically given the length and amplitude of the waveform? Using (analog) electrical techniques, the amplitude of frequencies can be lowered during recording and boosted in playback (78s have little if any treble roll-off as none was needed given the speed of the disc. LPs required more intervention at both ends of the spectrum.). I once saw a demonstration that showed that even the earliest acoustical discs (c. 1903) had some harmonic information out to 10KHz (but not in the amplitudes we would find natural for listening). Still it provides hope that perhaps computer programs may one day be able to make predictions and reconstruct these old waveforms and restore some form on normal balance as we know it.

BTW, I remember two singers made a recording acoustically (one might have been Domingo), possibly during the Caruso centennial year, 1973. I wonder how a cleanly mastered and pressed (on vinyl) copy of that recording would sound on modern equipment.

John

anasazi
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Post by anasazi » Sat Nov 11, 2006 2:42 am

Don't most of us think of the lp? 1958? Stereo? But stereo reproduction was used on tape long prior to that. 1940, Walt Disney released Fantasia. And if he could have gotten theaters to upgrade their audio equipment, it would have been in stereo, or what he called it then, fantasound I believe.
"Take only pictures, leave only footprints" - John Muir.

jserraglio
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Post by jserraglio » Sat Nov 11, 2006 5:54 am

Thanks, I just ordered the Walter NYP Mahler First from the library on LP and also on CD, the Sony Masterworks Heritage issue already OOP.

About stereo:

Code: Select all

1931 - In December, Harvey Fletcher and Arthur C. Keller of Bell Labs with Leopold Stokowski used improved electrical recording equipment in the Academy of Music in Philadelphia to record and transmit monaural and binarual sound. Also in December, Alan Dower Blumlein filed a patent application in Britain for stereo recording. 

1932 - March 12 Stokowski recorded his first stereo disc, Scriabin's "Poem of Fire" for Bell Labs in Philadelphia using vinyl rather than shellac, with the dynamic range extended to 60 db and response to 10,000 hz. The master disc was gold-coated by vacuum-sputtering. At first, for the Scriabin recording March 12, Bell had recorded two separate grooves for each channel, but later Arthur Keller in the patent #2,114,471 described the 45/45 method in one groove. The patent application was not filed until 1936 because Bell did not see an immediate commercial application of the method. Keller was unaware of Blumlein until the 1950s when his 45/45 system was re-invented by Westrex. 

1933 - April 27 Stereoscopic sound was transmitted to the National Academy of Sciences and many invited guests at Constitution Hall, Washington. Transmission was over wire lines from the Academy of Music in Philadelphia and three channels were used with microphones respectively at left, center and right of the orchestra stage and loud speakers in similar positions in Constitution Hall. The orchestra in Philadelphia was conducted by Alexander Smallens while Dr. Stokowski in Washington manipulated the controls so as to enhance the music in accordance with his own views. 

1934 - Jan. 19 Alan Blumlein recorded Thomas Beecham at the Abbey Road Studio in stereo, conducting Mozart's "Jupiter Symphony" with a vertical-lateral technique using a stylus to vibrated in 2 directions, first recording one channel of sound in a groove laterally and then recording another channel of sound in the same groove vertically. 

1940 - Harvey Fletcher and Stokowski made another stereophonic demonstration at Carnegie Hall April 9 and 10, with recorded stereo music from a three-channel system using sound on film with a frequency range of 30 to 15,000 cps and a volume range of 120 decibels. A 4th track was used as a loudness playback control track. The New York Times reported April 10 "Sound Waves 'Rock' Carnegie Hall As Enhanced Music' Is Played" and "The loudest sounds ever created crashed and echoed through venerable Carnegie Hall last night as a specially invited audience listened, spellbound, and at times not a little terrified." 

1945 - Decca's early stereo LPs used a Teldec/Neumann Stereo cutter to record one channel lateral and another vertical, each on the opposite wall of a groove; but the dual tracks could not be reproduced with heavy mono pickups on the turntables and record players. 

1949 - General Motors asked Magnecord to make a stereo tape recorder to improve spatial analysis of automobile noise. Magnecord modified its PT-6 tape recorder that had been introduced in May 1948 at the National Association of Broadcasters show. This modified recorder was introduced at the 1949 Audio Fair in New York with two record/play heads 1.5 inches apart, each with its own amplifier. 

1951 - Emory Cook made the first stereo recordings of railroad trains in the field for the LP titled "Rail Dynamics" demonstrated at the 1951 Audio Fair in New York. 

1953 - The Robe had 4-track stereo sound; was the first CinemaScope film and led the release of 33 stereo films in 1953, but stereo failed to transform motion picture soundtracks and would not reappear until 1975 with Dolby optical stereo sound. The Robe used directional sound, footsteps of Roman Legions marching from right to left, thunder and wind and rain of the crucifixion scene. The first time off-screen voices are actually heard off-screen, when voices warn Marcellus of his ship departure to Judea. Only Fox and Todd-AO would record dialogue with directional sound. All other studios provided some music in stereo for magnetic soundtracks, but recorded voices and sound effects in mono. 

1954 - Jan. 31, Edwin Armstrong jumped out of 10th floor window in Alpine, NJ, committing suicide due to the tangle of lawsuits over his invention in 1939 of FM radio (his wife Mariod continued the lawsuits of another 13 years and eventually won). FM radio with lower noise and greater frequency response than AM radio would be a major stimulus to the spread of stereo. 

1954 - Murray Crosby demonstrated FM stereo multiplex system in his Syosset, Long Island, lab to 16 executives of RCA; his demo was the result of a request by Leopold Stokowski to David Sarnoff; this was the first time the executives heard stereo and it led to the issue of RCA prerecorded open-reel stereo tapes; No. 1 tape that sold for $18.95 was "Also Sprach Zarathustra" by Richard Strauss, recorded by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Fritz Reiner using 2-track magnetic tape at 30 ips, 2 Neumann M-50 omnidirectinal mics 12 ft. high and placed 24 ft. apart with the orchestra in between. 

1954 - Feb. 21, RCA made its first commercial stereo recording of a symphony when Jack Pfieffer and Leslie Chase went to Symphony Hall in Boston to record the "Damnation of Faust" by Berlioz with a RCA RT-11 two-channel tape recorder and two Neuman U-47 mics. This same month, EMI in London made "Stereosonic" recordings at its Abbey Road studio that were announced to the public in April 1955.
http://history.sandiego.edu/gen/recording/stereo.html

Micha

Post by Micha » Sat Nov 11, 2006 7:53 am

jserraglio wrote: 1953 - The Robe had 4-track stereo sound; was the first CinemaScope film and led the release of 33 stereo films in 1953, but stereo failed to transform motion picture soundtracks and would not reappear until 1975 with Dolby optical stereo sound. The Robe used directional sound, footsteps of Roman Legions marching from right to left, thunder and wind and rain of the crucifixion scene. The first time off-screen voices are actually heard off-screen, when voices warn Marcellus of his ship departure to Judea. Only Fox and Todd-AO would record dialogue with directional sound. All other studios provided some music in stereo for magnetic soundtracks, but recorded voices and sound effects in mono.
Not quite true. 4-track magnetic soundtracks on 35mm continued until the 80s on some releases. In 1955, 70mm film with 6 magnetic tracks was introduced and there were releases in that format until the early 90s. The mentioned Todd-AO format was the first of many based on 70mm film with 6 magnetic tracks. Directional mixing was fairly common for big budget productions until the late 60s or so.

Apart from the Fantasia soundtrack, the oldest stereo recording I have heard is the 1944 recording of Bruckner 8 with Karajan/Preussische Staatskapelle. Only the finale is recorded in stereo - but it sounds surprisingly good. Karajan wanted to redo the first 3 movements in stereo, too, but at that time, they had other problems...
There are older stereo recordings from the 30s, but I haven't heard any of these yet.

CharmNewton
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Post by CharmNewton » Sat Nov 11, 2006 1:01 pm

A commemorative album (2 LPs) of excerpts of the Bell Labs recordings made in the early 1930s was issued by A.T.& T. in the late 1970s, perhaps in honor of the centennial of the invention of the phonograph. It might pay to check one's library, but this is a rare and very desirable set of recordings. I believe the transfers were engineered by Ward Marston, some of his earliest work. Lance, do you have a copy of these?

Don Tait on his Collector's Item program on WFMT played some of these. They are true stereo and sound as good as recordings made in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

The Bell technicians recorded quite a bit of material, which included not only concerts but rehearsals. I have no idea how much of this material survives, but it is of enormous historical importance. As the original LPs are covered under modern copyright law, it is not likely one will see their independent re-issue any time soon.

Another area to frustrate and whet the appetite of collectors is that of radio broadcasts. Classical orchestral material was once featured on prime-time national radio, and many orchestras began broadcasting in the early to mid 1920s (the Chicago Symphony Orchestra began in 1925). Transcription discs were made by radio stations pretty early in the game, hence the enormous number of old-time radio shows (I once had a tape recording of a 1931 serial of Frankenstein, much different from the movie). The sound quality of some of these transcriptions, particularly those of the originating studio, can be startling in their realism. NBC gave about 250,000 discs to the Library of Congress a number of years ago and it is anyone's guess what is on them.

John

Micha

Post by Micha » Sat Nov 11, 2006 7:52 pm

CharmNewton wrote:Don Tait on his Collector's Item program on WFMT played some of these. They are true stereo and sound as good as recordings made in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
Really? Can they also compared to recordings from that period as far as s/n ratio and frequency response are concerned?

jserraglio
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Post by jserraglio » Sat Nov 11, 2006 7:56 pm

Micha wrote:
CharmNewton wrote:Don Tait on his Collector's Item program on WFMT played some of these. They are true stereo and sound as good as recordings made in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
Really? Can they also compared to recordings from that period as far as s/n ratio and frequency response are concerned?
A Stokowski enthusiast friend of mine played his LP copy of vol 1 for me once--my ears could not distinguish between it and a modern recording.

-----------------------------------------------------

Those stereo recordings and other wide range recs have been transferred to 3 private CDs by THEO van der BURG and are still available on his site--
http://www.med.hro.nl/burtw/

Image
Early Hi-Fi Wide Range & Stereo Recordings, 2 CDs

Bell Laboratories 1931-1932, complete
Philadelphia Orchestra
CD 1 (vol. 1) 56.14 min.
Berlioz: Le carnaval romain, rec. 01/12/31
Weber/ Berlioz: Aufforderung zum Tanz, rec. 04/12/31
Mendelssohn: Scherzo from Ein Sommernachtstraum, rec. 05/12/31
Wagner: Prelude and Liebestod from T&I, rec. 19/12/31
Scriabin: Excerpts from Promethée, rec. 12/03/32 (stereo)
Mussorgsky/ Ravel: Pictures at an exhibition, rec. 03/32
CD 2 (vol. 2) 53.26 min.
Wagner: Excerpts from Der Ring des Nibelungen, rec. 04/32 (partially stereo)
Speech by Leopold Stokowski
Recorded by Bell Labs in the Academy of Music



Image
The Early Hi-Fi Wide Range & Stereo Recordings, vol. 2 - Bell Laboratories
-Speech by Stokowski
-Walkürenritt from Die Walküre
-Wotans Abschied & Feuerzauber from Die Walküre
-Waldweben from Siegfried
-Trauermarsch & Finale from Götterdämmerung
Philadelphia Orchestra, rec. live 29-30/04/32, partially stereo
53.35 min.

Evidently, Iron Needle also pirated some of them to CD.
Last edited by jserraglio on Sat Nov 11, 2006 8:28 pm, edited 3 times in total.

Micha

Post by Micha » Sat Nov 11, 2006 8:07 pm

What do you mean by a modern recording? One made in the last 20 years, or in the general stereo era? Do you know the Reiner recordings made for RCA in the 50s? How would you compare the recording you heard to these and these to good recent recordings? I mean, good ones, there are tons and tons of really bad recent recordings, despite the avilability of modern recording equipment.

jserraglio
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Post by jserraglio » Sat Nov 11, 2006 8:46 pm

Micha wrote:What do you mean by a modern recording? One made in the last 20 years, or in the general stereo era? Do you know the Reiner recordings made for RCA in the 50s? How would you compare the recording you heard to these and these to good recent recordings? I mean, good ones, there are tons and tons of really bad recent recordings, despite the avilability of modern recording equipment.
General stereo era--I heard it not long after it was issued, late seventies early eighties, and my recollection is that it sounded as good as or better than stereo recs of the sixties and seventies.

Not in the Mohr/Layton class to be sure--but for me, that's not an ideal orchestral sound anyway, gimme the Decca/Londons, the stereo Columbias of the Goddard Lieberson era, or even the hifi mono Columbia gave Ormandy and others in the '50s--but very good nonetheless. I was unable to tell the record was from the '30s, my friend didnt tell me till after I had guessed it was a recent recording. Stokowski, of course, routinely made superior-sounding recordings. I once owned quite a few of his prewar shellacs, uniformly stunning even when played on a $5 Dual 3-speed turntable fitted with a $20 78 stylus.


Maybe I should ask my friend to play this record for me again.

Micha

Post by Micha » Sat Nov 11, 2006 9:32 pm

Interesting. Does Theo also sell copies of these? I would really like to hear some of these early stereo recordings.

jserraglio
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Post by jserraglio » Sun Nov 12, 2006 3:43 am

Micha wrote:Interesting. Does Theo also sell copies of these? I would really like to hear some of these early stereo recordings.
Yes, Stokowski's Bell Lab stereo recordings are included on the 2 sets pictured above.

cf. a message of October 15, 2006 by Larry Friedman on the Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List . . .
  • Soon after I bought the Iron Needle disk (that has about half of the recordings), I found a "private" disk of all of the Bell recordings pressed by Theo van der Burg of the Netherlands. His site is http://www.med.hro.nl/burtw/. I have nothing to do with Her Burg, except that I am a happy customer of his. His product is extremely well done, very clear and open, and he was kind enough to send the set out to me even though PayPal had bollixed up the payment. I imagine the rest of his transfers are equally as good. http://palimpsest.stanford.edu/byform/m ... 00387.html
<div align="left">"That's the way Stravinsky was - bup bup bup - The poor guy's dead now - play it legato."--Ormandy

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