Benny Goodman commissioned Aaron Copland's Clarinet Concerto in 1948, and although Goodman's stereo recording is well known, this earlier edition, from 1950, is not.
Columbia took Goodman and Copland to its 30th Street studio in New York for the November 1950 session. Benny sounds cautious but does no serious harm to this gorgeous composition.
A few months later, the illustrious New York Quartet went to the same studio to tape a thornier composition, Copland's Piano Quartet, for the Clarinet Concerto's coupling. These days, works in Copland's populist style are generally packaged together. Not so back then.
The New York Quartet had presented the first performance of the Piano Quartet a few months before this recording, which must have been all that Copland could have wished for. The quartet's members were Mieczyslaw Horszowski, piano, Alexander Schneider, violin, Milton Katims, viola, and Frank Miller, cello.
Perhaps Columbia sensed that they were creating historic recordings, because the sound is better than much of the sludge that came out of its 30th Street site. And these are historic recordings indeed. It's curious that they are not better known. Buster
The Columbia String Orchestra conducted by Aaron Copland
Benny Goodman, clarinet
Piano Quartet (1950)
2. I. Adagio serioso 6:26
3. II. Allegro giusto; III. Non troppo lento 14:11
New York Quartet: Mieczyslaw Horszowski, piano, Alexander Schneider, violin, Milton Katims, viola, and Frank Miller, cello.