Friday, January 21, 2011

Haskil, Gould, Menuhin from Membran – ハスキル、グールド、メニューイン





I saw in HMV site that the label called Membran released enormous collection of historic recordings for surprisingly bargain prices, and was interested in Clara Haskil’s Bach. I actually ordered 3 box sets including Glenn Gould and Yehudi Menuhin. Each 10 CD box set sells for only 1132 Yen. Now is an amazing time for old listeners!

Gould’s box include Goldberg Variations recorded by CBC in 1954, one year before he made the phenomenal debut recording for CBS in 1955, and I had heard of the recording with a great interest. This performance was not as sparkling as 55’s while it hinted his development to follow. Gould played Goldberg in 42 minutes 29 seconds here in contrast to 38 minutes 20 seconds in the 1955 album. The recording quality is a bit annoying with some distortion that sounded as if the master was a vinyl disc rather than a tape. 1955 performance was actually included in the second disc of this box, so I made a comparison to the genuine CD ablum released by CBS. The sound was apparently different. Membran version was slightly louder in volume and also had more bass in regard with the tonal balance. The box had no information regarding Membran itself or the sound sources, and I could only vaguely find in the website that they are a German book publishing company and that the music and the video were claimed to have cleared the license.

Upon the delivery, I first listened to Haskil’s Bach. The F-minor concerto BWV1056 was conducted by Pablo Casals but the recording was not quite telerable unfortunately. C-major concerto for 2 klaviers BWV1061 was with Geza Anda, and I enjoyed this performance very much.

The first CD of Menuhin’s box was also Bach, D-minor concerto BWV1043, and the partner violinist was Gioconda de Vito. This gorgeous coupling was actually the reason why I put this box in the shopping cart. The performance itself was a kind of relaxed Bach before the movement of reconstructing Baroque music came, I would say. The box also included violin sonatas No. 3, No. 4 and Chaconne, and they were the music even after more than 60 years that draws us direct into Bach’s world.
I have just picked Bach to listen first, and have no idea how soon I would finish the total 30 discs.

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