Saturday, April 16, 2011

Great conductors of the 20TH century EMI VOL.17 - Coates

CD1 [73.45]

Weber: Overture 'Oberon'; October 1926

Liszt: Mephisto Waltz No.1, S514; October 1930

Borodin: Symphony No. 2 in B minor; November 1929

Rimsky-Korsakov: Procession of the Nobles ('Mlada'); October 1930

Tchaikovsky: Francesca da Rimini, Op.32; October 1930

Mussorgsky: Gopak ('Sorochintsy Fair'); October 1929
London Symphony Orchestra; Kingsway Hall, London

Ravel: La Valse

London Symphony Orchestra; Queen's Hall, London; March 1926

CD2 [78.48]

Wagner: Overture 'Tannhäuser'; Kingsway Hall; September 1926

Wagner: Entry of the Gods ('Das Rheingold'); Queen's Hall; January 1926

Wagner: Magic Fire Music ('Die Walküre'); Queen's Hall; January 1926

Wagner: Siegfried's Rhine Journey ('Götterdämmerung'); Queen's Hall; January 1926
London Symphony Orchestra

Wagner: Love Duet ('Tristan und Isolde', Act 2)
Frida Leider & Lauritz Melchior
Orchester der Berliner Staatsoper; Berlin; September 1929
& London Symphony Orchestra; Kingsway Hall; May 1929

Humperdinck: Prelude ('Hänsel und Gretel'); Kingsway Hall; October 1926
Richard Strauss: Tod und Verklärung, Op.24; Kingsway Hall; October 1928
London Symphony Orchestra


Albert Coates was born in St Petersburg in April 1882. He learned the violin, cello and piano as a child, and, at the age of 12, went to England. After studying science at Liverpool University he returned to Russia, where he studied composition with Rimsky-Korsakov. He was appointed répétiteur to Arthur Nikisch at the Leipzig Opera, making his debut in 1904 in Offenbach's Les Contes d'Hoffmann. He became conductor at the Elberfeld Opera in 1906, worked under Ernst von Schuch at Dresden in 1907-8, with Artur Bodanzky at Mannheim in 1909, and, from 1910, with Eduard Nápravník at the Imperial Opera in St Petersburg. Returning to the UK in 1919, he headed the London Symphony Orchestra (1919-21), the Eastman Rochester Symphony Orchestra (1923-5), and made regular appearances in many of the world's leading musical centres until 1939. Having spent most of the Second World War in the USA, he then went to live in South Africa, where he taught and made occasional appearances until his death in 1953.


All the recordings featured in this fascinating survey of the work of an almost forgotten but masterly British conductor have been remastered either from the original metal parts (where they have survived) or from high-quality 78 pressings made for the American Victor Company. These new remasterings, using the latest technology, far outclass previous attempts to reproduce Albert Coates's early electrical recordings on CD. The compilation centres on Coates's flair in Russian repertoire and also confirms his reputation as a great Wagner conductor. The Tristan and Isolde of the day, Lauritz Melchior and Frida Leider, join him in the opera's Act 2 love duet, the first section recorded in Berlin (a rare venture for Coates, whose recordings feature almost exclusively the London Symphony Orchestra) and the concluding part in London. Coates was also a pioneer of modern music, as this recording, made in 1926, of Ravel's La Valse (its composition completed only six years earlier) testifies.


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