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1  Little-known music of all eras / Discussion of obscure composers / Re: What are you currently listening to? on: June 24, 2018, 02:17:51 pm
Playing now! The 2000 recording of Princess Ida on the Newport Classics label with dialogue! I have found myself gradually warming to the Ohio Light Opera recordings. Even the recordings I wasn't so impressed by. Like this one! The quality of the singing is a little more variable than on their recordings of Utopia Limited,The Sorcerer and their fantastic Ruddigore;but,taken as a whole,I feel this recording is livelier,and less soporific,than some of the English recordings. I also think I prefer it to the 1965 D'Oyly Carte recording in which John Reed's King Gama sounds unusually gruff (for him!). It also lacks dialogue. The women are particularly good in this recording. The 1966 and 1989 BBC recordings,with dialogue,are as good as can be expected from that source. For a commercial recording this could well be my first choice,now. The occasional intrusion of an American accent really doesn't bother me. It's the quality of the performance that is important to me. Anyway,their English accents are,generally,very good. I can imagine them going home and practising it on their families! And there is something strangely fascinating about listening to Americans performing such a hallowed British institution!
2  Little-known music of all eras / Discussion of obscure composers / Re: What are you currently listening to? on: June 24, 2018, 01:27:56 pm
Playing here now! The 1962 D'Oyly Carte recording of Ruddigore. The omission of dialogue is the big disappointment for me. I'm definitely in the pro dialogue camp when it comes to G & S. And Ruddigore has one of the most,if not the most entertaining plot,imho,of the lot,with it's ott dastardly villain,Witch's curse,ghosts and I mustn't forget Mad Margaret! Fortunately,if you like the dialogue,the Ohio Light Opera released a first rate and hugely entertaining Ruddigore in 2009 (on the Albany label) and there is also the excellent 1966 BBC Studio recording (the best recording with dialogue ever) which can be found online (just put 1966 BBC Ruddigore into Google,or whatever Search engine you use & it's not the one posted on Youtube,if you want good sound!) and the (very good)1989 BBC recording,which can be downloaded here. The D'Oyly Carte recording is up to their usual standard,but contains some cuts. An excellent performance of Cox and Box adds to the entertainment value of this release.
3  Little-known music of all eras / Discussion of obscure composers / Re: What are you currently listening to? on: June 19, 2018, 12:46:05 pm
The 1966 BBC recording of Patience,with dialogue. Possibly the best recorded performance with dialogue ever. Peter Pratt,who did the patter songs for the D'Oyly Carte,before John Reed took over. Prunella Scales and Andrew Sachs are among the actors performing the dialogue. Peter Pratt,as always,does his own. In very clear mono. This is one of the best of the 1966 BBC series. The 1966 D'Oyly Carte recording is very good,but this is even better! Superb! Smiley

http://gasdisc.oakapplepress.com/patbbc.htm
4  Little-known music of all eras / Discussion of obscure composers / Re: What are you currently listening to? on: June 18, 2018, 01:02:54 pm
Unfortunately,one half of the recording of The Grand Duke is actually the D'Oyly Carte recording! Sad

But which half, as Strephon was heard to wonder? 

"What's to become of my upper half when I've buried my lower half I really don't know! ... You see they're two to one, which is a strong working majority. Queen. Don't let that distress you."
Quite! Grin

Incidentally,after saying that they were all in very clear mono,I should point out that the 1966 recording of Utopia Limited,which I hadn't listened to,is not! I had to turn the bass controls on my mini hi-fi to 0 and my treble control to it's maximum setting. After this I was finally able to enjoy the,less than crystal clear,recording! But at least it was all there!! Funnily enough,I am beginning to warm,more and more,in the direction of some of the Ohio Light Opera recordings (on Newport Classics and latterly,the Albany label). These have 'complete' dialogue and have provoked a,decidedly mixed,and often hostile reception from G & S devotees. Yet,on my recent (ongoing) traversal of G & S recordings in my collection,it is the OLO that often seem to make the most favourable impression on me. At least among recordings with dialogue,anyway! For example,Princess Ida,which has never been a favourite of mine. Yet,after listening to the Malcolm Sargent recording (with the D'Oyly Carte) and the two BBC recordings,from 1966 & 1989,respectively,it was the Ohio Light Opera recording which made the most favourable impression on me. For once I found myself listening to,and actually enjoying the dialogue,instead of "switching off" through large passages of it (and I'm pro dialogue!!). Yes,some of the singing on the OLO sets can be variable (why are the women always so good,though?!) but,while the singing on the D'Oyly Carte and BBC recordings,to some extent,is obviously more consistent,it does seem to me as if some kind of torpor seems to set in at times?

In this respect I have found some of the Ohio Light Opera recordings a,veritable,breath of fresh air! Also,as well as finding it amusing,and strangely fascinating,to hear Americans performing such a hallowed British (English?) institution as G & S,I can't help wondering if some of the hostility from G & S devotees (groupies?! Grin) is the fact that Americans should have the temerity to perform,record,and thus defile,these illustrious products of Empire?!! In fact,some of the comments on the main G & S website,do strike me as,downright,catty;as opposed to constructive criticism (which is fair enough). For instance (in a review of their recording of The Mikado) referring to Julie Wright (Associate Artistic Director of Ohio Light Opera) as "her ladyship"! As to the American accents slipping in,now and again? I actually don't mind that much;as long as the performances are good. That's what is most important to me! Most of the time their English accents are very convincing to my ears. And done with aplomb! They must have practiced for some time. I can almost imagine them speaking to their wife,or husband,in english accents,at home,just to make sure they get them right!! And waiting for the intrusion of an American accent is probably part of the fun of listening to these recordings! I also like the feeling of being in a theatre,as opposed to a sterile studio. (Although,it is obvious some of these recordings aren't quite what they are made out to be!)
Their recording of Ruddigore is,easily,the most "fun" I have ever heard! (The 1966 BBC recording the all time best). I even enjoyed the Monty Python "women" voices!! And yet,I wasn't too keen on some of their recordings when I first heard them,either! I may even invest in some more,now? (New prices are frightening,yuo have to look for them s/h!) I also really enjoyed their recording of Victor Herbert's The Red Mill. Quite a find,imho! Often described as a Sullivan without a Gilbert! The Irish recently recorded his operetta,Eileen! It has received enthusiastic reviews.

But that's another story,for another post!! Grin
5  Little-known music of all eras / Discussion of obscure composers / Re: What are you currently listening to? on: June 16, 2018, 12:29:18 pm
Playing here,now. The 1966 BBC complete recording,with dialogue,of Gilbert and Sullivan's The Gondoliers. These recordings are imho,vastly superior to the 1989 BBC Series (good as they are). The characterisation's,the liveliness of the interpretations,and the acting of the dialogue is superb. I'm pro-dialogue,when it comes to operetta,but even I have to admit that allot of the dialogue in the old D'Oyly Carte recordings is a bit of a yawn! The delivery of the dialogue in the 1966 recordings is so good I'll actually find myself listening to every word. The key? They treat it as a radio play,rather than just a,let's do the dialogue read-through. If you ignore the quaint introductory narration's (in an old school BBC posh accent) which I find fun;and the fact that the most of the character's dialogue is actually performed by actors (not the singers themselves) with the notable exception of Peter Pratt; these are very probably the best performances of G & S dialogue ever,period! In fact,if the dialogue had been performed this well on the commercial recordings that were released,it might have been more popular with music lovers,who usually find it tedious and boring! And as I say,the performances are absolutely superb. I would even go so far as to say,fan of the old D'Oyly Carte as I am,that these are among the best G & S recordings of the last sixty years (taken as a whole). And Peter Pratt performing the patter songs! Smiley The Recording of The Pirates of Penzance is the one big disappointment,with Vilem Tausky conducting,and no Peter Pratt. But no one can replace Owen Brannigan,in the role of the Sergeant Major,for me,anyway!! The good news? While the recordings have never been released commercially,they can be downloaded for free,in very clear mono from the internet. I'm not telling you where;but if you want to hear them,just put 1966 BBC Gilbert and Sullivan into Google (other search engines are available! Grin) and you'll find them. Unfortunately,one half of the recording of The Grand Duke is actually the D'Oyly Carte recording! Sad The remainder are in very clear mono!
6  Little-known music of all eras / Discussion of obscure composers / Re: (Some) Twentieth Century British Symphonies not yet on cd: an update on: June 13, 2018, 03:59:31 pm
Thank you,Gareth! Smiley I hope so and look forward to it's release. I thought the last Cpo release was,very possibly,the finest Holbrooke cd ever?! Although,I like all the Holbrooke cd's I've heard! I hope that the latter comes to fruition. I'd love a chance to hear his choral music. I may be in a minority,but I love his music.
7  Little-known music of all eras / Discussion of obscure composers / Re: (Some) Twentieth Century British Symphonies not yet on cd: an update on: June 13, 2018, 02:11:52 pm
I read somewhere that Howard Griffiths was stepping down this year,from his post as conductor of the Brandenburgisches Staatsorchester. If this is true it might not bode well for any further recordings of Holbrooke,I fear?! Sad
8  Little-known music of all eras / Discussion of obscure composers / Re: (Some) Twentieth Century British Symphonies not yet on cd: an update on: June 12, 2018, 04:49:45 pm
Yes, I fully understand and accept that. I have removed the symphony from my list above.

I am a little surprised that you have not castigated me for including the unrecorded Holbrooke symphonies, Gareth, but I am never quite sure which still are extant and-equally important and more difficult-how to number them
Indeed! And here I am,impatiently waiting,for the next release in the Cpo series,which,apparently,includes his Symphony No 3 "Ships"! Grin Can't wait to cross that one off my "list"! Smiley
9  Little-known music of all eras / New recordings / Re: Lyrita? on: May 05, 2018, 10:55:35 am
Thea Musgrave. I can recall a time when her music (including operas) seemed to make quite regular appearances in the Radio 3 schedules. What is the opinion of members here on her compositions?

I would have thought releasing the remaining Daniel Jones' symphonies would be a priority?!! Huh Sad I'm just being impatient though,aren't I? Living in Wales,in these post devolution times,I do find it very sad that such a fine cycle of symphonies has been neglected in such way. If only orchestral music by Welsh composers had the appeal of Rugby?!! Roll Eyes Grin  Although,looking at recordings of American composers over the last few decades,it seems we're pretty lucky in the UK,by comparison. Only recently,I was thinking how much Howard Hanson had done in respect to recording music by American composers. He seems to have been on a one man mission in some ways. Robert Whitney and the Louisville Orchestra series also spring to mind. If only there was as much missionary zeal over there today. Gerard Schwarz seems to have done quite a bit in more recent times,but seems to have been scuppered by poor sales?!!
Meanwhile,Ireland seems to have been funding some recordings of their composers on the RTE Lyric FM label.

I also noticed this. I quite like some of Mathias' music;and I have enjoyed his Piano concertos. I like the way he assimilates some popular influences. We need some recordings of "the other" Welsh composers though!!!

http://www.tycerdd.org/recording-studio/label/william-mathias-new-release
10  Little-known music of all eras / New recordings / Re: Dutton? on: May 04, 2018, 03:41:46 pm
Wise words, Dundonnell - and thank you for writing so cogently to Lewis Foreman. As you say, I shall not stop buying Dutton CDs if they continue to record interesting and unusual repertoire and shall continue to be grateful to them for doing so. But, my goodness, they need a lesson in public relations!
I didn't buy the Ina Boyle cd,but I certainly won't be buying any more cd's directly from their websites,or any of those bargain basement offers from them,anymore. Not because I think it will affect their business;I just think their customer service sounds rude,and I'm a sensitive old soul!! Shocked Grin
11  Little-known music of all eras / New recordings / Re: Dutton? on: April 16, 2018, 06:46:20 pm
I just read one of the replies to one of the letters to Dutton,at the "other forum". I have not bought one of these cd's;but I was quite shocked at the tone. Interestingly,I was watching an episode of Fawlty Towers the other night! As the satirical,periodical,Private Eye might say;"I wonder if by chance they could be related?"!! Grin I remember the Chandos cd of Cyril Scott Chamber Works had a track,that wouldn't fit on the issued cd;but Chandos,very graciously, allowed you to download an Mp3 of the track from their website. (I must admit,I never did! Roll Eyes).
12  Various / Computers and Programming / Re: File conversion software on: April 09, 2018, 09:19:25 am
I would use Audacity, which is free, and is an all-purpose audio editor; rather more than just a conversion tool. But you can import an audio file in one format and export it in another. You can also edit it and tidy it up in the process if so desired. Also good for recording. You do have to search for add-on libraries to handle .mp3 and .m4a, but they are not hard to find.
Thank you,Gauk. I did have Audacity on my old pc. I must admit I haven't really explored most of it's functions,as I'm still a bit of an analogue man at heart Roll Eyes. I will read up about it,now. Previously,I have only used it for the odd online recording,and a bit of simple editing.
13  About music in general / The listener / Re: What are you listening to today? on: April 08, 2018, 02:21:30 pm
Playing,now. Robert Simpson's Ninth. One can admire the structure;but I think I preferred 2,3,4 & 5.
14  Various / Computers and Programming / Re: File conversion software on: April 08, 2018, 02:18:50 pm
Audio files,at the moment. In the last few days I've converted FLAC and MP4 music files to MP3's. I use other software for Zip files and RAR. Usually to Mp3. Apologies,for not making myself more clear!
15  Various / Computers and Programming / File conversion software on: April 08, 2018, 01:42:10 pm
There used to be quite a few free downloads of file conversion software on the web. Some of them had a limit of so many days;or a limited number of conversions before they stopped working. You could get around that by downloading it again,of course. I did find some software that converted audio & video files,without a limit on days or the number of times you could use it. Unfortunately,it went down with my last pc! What  "Free" software do members use here here,currently. And if I do choose to pay? Which software would be the best choice,and not break the bank?! (NB: The more file formats it can handle,the better!) And what about ones that do video,as well? Sometimes I need to! I am using two with a 21 day limit,at the moment.
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