Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 30, No. 1. 1967.
The record buying public owes a vote of thanks to RCA for the large number of Rubinstein releases. One of the highlights of last year's reviewing was the opportunity to listen to his recordings of Liszt's Sonata in B minor and Schubert's "Wanderer" Fantasy (RCA Victor LM 2871 Mono) and Mozart Concerto no 17 and Schubert impromptus Op 90 no's 3 and 4 (RCA Victor LSC 2626 Stereo).
His latest release—"Artur Rubinstein Chopin" (RCA Victor LM 2889 mono) surpasses any of the records that I have previously heard. John Gruen, the associate critic of Music and Art for the New York Herald Tribune says on the sleeve-note "The Chopin-Rubinstein combination is one of the musical treasures of this era." Extravagant as this claim may appear, this excellent disc certainly substantiates the remark.
The performances are impeccable—what more can one say? II seems impossible to try and describe these masterly renditions without trotting out a horde of superlatives, so I will confine myself to listing the works performed—Barcarolle in F sharp major. Op 60 3 Nouvelle Eludes, Op Posth.Bolero in C major,Op 10 Fantasie in F minor Op 49 Berceuse in D flal major, Op 57 and Tarentelle in A flat major. Op 43. An interesting point is that this is the first recorded performance of the "Bolero" and the "Tarantelle"; it is amazing that these delightful works have remained in obscurity until now.
The recording is very good, although my copy had a rather noisy surface. Highly recommended.
"Baroque Guitar" (RCA Victor LM 2878 Mono) by Julian Bream Is a disc of superb performances of an interesting range of material. Gaspar Sanz: Pavanas. Canarios, Bach; Prelude in D minor. Fugue in A minor Fernando Sor: Fantasy and Minuet. Leopold Weiss: Passacaille. Fantasie. Tombeau sur la mort de M Comte da Logy Dobert de Visee: Suite in D minor.
All the pieces Bream has chosen are characterized by slow tempo—everything is quiet and sedate, however they are given beautiful, poetic performances and the record never becomes monotonous. Although I suspect that the LP will only appeal to earnest guitar enthusiasts I recommend it as worth buying solely for the most attractive Bach Fugue ( an arrangement of the G minor violin fugue from the first unaccompanied sonata).
(A rather amusing sidelight is that, Weiss's career was Interrupted for a year in 1722 when a French violinist bit his thumb, "almost severing the first joint"). The mono recording is good and it is pleasing to notice that Bream's balance is such that extraneous noises are kept at a minimum. The microphone obviously has not been as close to the guitar as on some other recordings where the listener is able to trace every movement of the guitarist's fingers because of the persistent loud squeaking picked up.
"Fiesta Flamenca: The Flamenco Guitar of Juan Serrano" (RCA Victor LSP 3596 Living Stereo) is a dynamic recording of a reasonably good flamenco guitarist and group. "In his guitar we feel the mysterious, ritual 'duende' (ghost) which, awakening suddenly, fills with incredible deepness the space in which its chords are intoned." states the sleeve; I wouldn't take much notice of that. If you are wanting a disc with a wide range of flamenco music well recorded, this is a good buy.
At present the biggest question in the pop world is "Who is going to replace the Beatles?" One of the top contenders is "The Monkees," an American group with a distinctive "early-Beatle" sound. The phenomenal success of their two singles "The last Train To Clakesville" and "I'm a Believer" (at the time of writing the latter is entering its ninth week at no 1 on the American charts,) suggests that teenagers are looking for a group that sound like the "Pre-revolver" Beatles.