Thursday, July 30, 2009


I "borrowed" this post (and the links to the FLAC files) from my good friend Buster (with permission, of course). These are important, historic recordings made by the first great Copland interpreter, and Buster did a bang-up job remastering the sonics on these vintage records. I highly recommend everyone to check out his superlative and invaluable blog, BIG 10-INCH RECORD

Here are Buster's comments from his original post:

This post is in response to a request by friend of the blog David Federman. David says he has never heard a version of Copland's Appalachian Spring to rival the first recording, by the Boston Symphony and Serge Koussevitzky. So here is that mid-40s recording for David, and I imagine many others, in a mid-50s transfer on RCA - and a pretty good one, too.This also includes Koussevitzky's 1938 first recording of El Salón México, also sounding well, if enshrouded in reverb.This pressing of Appalachian Spring had a fault toward the end of the side, so I patched in a short section from a much later Victrola pressing, which almost certainly used the same tape transfer for its master.The latter album also included the BSO/Koussevitzky version of A Lincoln Portrait, with narrator Melvyn Douglas, so I have added that to the download as a bonus. Here the sound is a little cloudier and there is more pitch instability, possibly caused by making a new disk master from an old and creaky tape transfer. I am not that fond of Douglas' histrionic approach to Lincoln. Copland's words tell us that Lincoln was "a quiet and a melancholy man," but Douglas seems to disagree. Give me Charlton Heston with Abravanel, a more monumental approach that is well suited to the stylized (and much criticized) narrative and to Copland's music.By the way, I keep wanting to spell the conductor's name with an "s" before the "k" instead of a "z," and I think I did so in the download. It's not wrong, being a transliteration, but the z-version is the more usual spelling. Buster

1. Appalachian Spring (ballet suite) 24:23
2. El Salón México 10:57
3. Lincoln Portrait (narration by Melvyn Douglas) 13:43

Boston Symphony Orchestra conducted by Serge Koussevitzky