Symphony No. 9 in E minor ('From the New World'), B. 178 (Op. 95) (first published as No. 5): 1. Adagio - Allegro molto
Symphony No. 9 in E minor ('From the New World'), B. 178 (Op. 95) (first published as No. 5): 2. Largo
Symphony No. 9 in E minor ('From the New World'), B. 178 (Op. 95) (first published as No. 5): 3. Scherzo: Molto vivace
Symphony No. 9 in E minor ('From the New World'), B. 178 (Op. 95) (first published as No. 5): 4. Allegro con fuoco
Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 43: 1. Allegretto
Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 43: 2. Tempo Andante, ma rubato
Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 43: 3. Vivacissimo
Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 43: 4. Finale: Allegro moderato
Paul Paray was an appealing artist who achieved wonders with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in the late 1950s. His interpretations were swift, lean, elegant, and sharply focused. It's a style of conducting that has all but... more » vanished today, and these two performances bear eloquent testimony to his talent as an interpreter. It's common knowledge that tempos have been getting slower over the course of this century, though no one knows exactly why. Paray's recordings hark back to an earlier style of conducting, and they do it in very good sound. Unique and compelling. --David Hurwitz« less
Paul Paray was an appealing artist who achieved wonders with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in the late 1950s. His interpretations were swift, lean, elegant, and sharply focused. It's a style of conducting that has all but vanished today, and these two performances bear eloquent testimony to his talent as an interpreter. It's common knowledge that tempos have been getting slower over the course of this century, though no one knows exactly why. Paray's recordings hark back to an earlier style of conducting, and they do it in very good sound. Unique and compelling. --David Hurwitz
The great Paray defines his legacy in Dvorak and Sibelius
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Paul Paray, Detroit Symphony conductor between 1951 and 1962 is now a cult figure, a maestro for maestros. And it's easy to hear why. This samp ling from his legendary catalog for Mercury gives us the realm of his intellect in two dissimilar symphonies, the New World and Sibelius's Second. In the first, the rattle-and-snap of his technique inspires the DSO to blaze away into a New World of freshness and vitality inherent in Dvorak, but only hinted at in other recordings. The Sibelius takes us wide-eyed into the expansive world of the North, lakes and mountain ranges, the Northern Lights, tundra and sun...and far away from the trying occasional piece the work can so often be. The combination of amazing orchestral execution and the blinding inspiration of the supreme artist is the realm of Paul Paray, a realm of wonder, wide-sweeping, away from mundane cares. Our souls clamor for the man and his art...and he never disappoints. Nearly twenty years after his death, Paray's Dvorak and Sibelius simply astound us who think we know their greatness. With Paul Paray we quite simply live it. Give this disk to everyone you truly love for the joy of an orchestra with virtuosity to burn and directorial inspiration of the highest order. The experience is one that one incorporates into one's self. END"
The Greatest New World Symphony: Unsurpassed
Rachel Garret | Beverly Hills | 01/08/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Paul Paray conducts the greatest interpretations of Dvorak's Ninth Symphony, the so called "New World Symphony" and Sibelius' Second. His musicianship and expertise is worthy of praise and even Dvorak and Sibelius himself would have highly esteemed him and used him for conductor of their symphonies. Paul Paray recorded these symphonies back to back in 1959. The Mono sound is not a problem, as it has been digitally remastered. The sheer excellence and magnetism of the music is not sacrificed and sounds perfect. Never before has orchestral music sound so clear, so precise, so elaborate. Paul Paray was an artist as much as he was a conductor.The 9th Symphony of Antonin Dvorak is entitled "The New World". It was a musical portrait of America, especially that of Native American culture. The melodies, especially the adagio with its yearning, spiritual inflections on flute and strings, seems to be a prayer. The fourth movement is war-like, a powerful storm that crosses the plains. It is undoubtedly Dvorak's greatest symphony, his most well-rounded and most colorized. With Paul Paray as conductor, the music comes to life, painting a marvelous landscape as real and vivid as the landscape of America itself.Sibelius also paints a homeland portrait in his Symphony No. 2. Describing the polar north, his native environment, namely Finland, Norway, Greenland, etc. The music is thrilling, majestic, escapist. The orchestra conjures images of snow-covered mountain peaks, lakes frozen in winter and barren trees across the hills. The serenity of the isolated regions are especially striking. Sibelius was a gifted composer, a Romantic who pushed the barrier into something nearly jazz-like, something as impressive as the score to an epic film. He was, in my personal opinion, more of a twentieth century composer than a turn of the century composer. Paul Paray is at his best in this recording. This is worth the price and highly recommended to fans of classical music and fans of the Toscanini twin, Paul Paray. Your car cd will leap with symphonic beauty, your home music system will escort you to a new world, and the music is so diverse and grand that it overwhelms you and you become lost in the cosmos. Try this cd. You will see what I mean."
A superb performance and recording
Feller who likes Old Yeller | Webster, NY | 04/19/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a highly spirited, vigorous performance. It is highly exuberant and energetic, truly a joy to listen to. It is also very tight and polished. Really a fantastic performance of these works. Also, the recording quality is really superb. Even though this was recorded in 1959 and 1960, it sounds very realistic, natural and present. I'd like to hear more contemporary recordings made with just two microphones like this one is - it really sounds like an orchestra sounds in real life. This is my favorite orchestral recording."
Why Paul Paray's Tempos Were so
W. Frank | Bethesda, MD United States | 06/13/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"1960s tempi were fast, so fast that over the last 30 years or so I've developed a great affection for a more moderate pace. I've not, however, lost my previous affection for many of the performances at the fast clip conductors tended to employ during the reign of the analog record. I do prefer a tempo that allows me to hear most of the notes played and hear all of the sonorities the piece is supposed to contain. I note that the tempo of this 1960 performance of Dvorak's 9th obscures a great deal; however well done, and it is certainly well done, the 9th wasn't written to be played at the tempo Paul Paray used.
The main editorial review of this album states, I think incorrectly, that while tempi slowed during the later years of the 20th century, "no one knows why."
Not true. Here is a biography of famed record producer and impresario Goddard Lieberson of Columbia Records that sums it up rather well.
The demands of the marketplace coupled with the development of the "long-playing" record and then the conversion to compact disc explains, in part, the tempo changes quite well -- as the text below indicates, you can't fit Beethoven's 9th on two sides of a 33 and a third RPM vinyl record if it comes in over 60 minutes -- Furtwangler refused to perform it at the requisite tempo -- Von Karajan did not refuse.
Along with the markeplace and the technology add this: the personalities of those in the position like Lieberson.
See this bio. It takes nothing away from those who raced through the repertoire at fearsome tempi - but let's at least be honest about the reasons therefor.
When Leonard Bernstein felt obliged to disassociate himself from Glenn Gould's "radical" choice of slower tempo and relatively balanced ensemble volume in performing Brahms' 2nd piano concerto, Bernstein wasn't making an artistic announcement -- he was covering his commercial rear end. He needn't have troubled himself: fast or slow, it's all good.
"There is a tendency, in writing and reading about classical recordings, to forget that they're as much a part of business as art--and that, as a result of this duality, executives can play as important a role as artists in determining what we here and how we hear it.
Goddard Lieberson of Columbia Records is one such example. Along with Walter Legge, his opposite number at Britain's EMI Records, Lieberson was perhaps the most influential executive in the field of recording, and specifically classical recording, in the entire world from the 1940's until the 1960's.
He was responsible, directly or indirectly, for facilitating the industry-wide switch from the three-minutes-to-a-side 78 rpm shellac disc to the 33 1/3 rpm long-playing record, which revolutionized classical listening (as well as jazz and, eventually, pop and rock as well); he was the guiding force behind some of the earliest recordings of complete operas ever done in America; he was the head of Columbia Records during the subsequent switch-over from monaural to stereo recording, a new technology change that Lieberson and Columbia Records transformed into an opportunity, pursuing an aggressive policy of re-recording the standard repertory that, in the process, helped turn newly appointed New York Philharmonic Music Director Leonard Bernstein into a media superstar, and further broadened the audience for classical music in the process; and, as an adjunct to all of this, Lieberson was also the father of the modern Broadway cast recording. ... Ever since someone attempted to cut the first classical piece of more than three minutes' duration, probably in the first decade of the twentieth century on an Edison cylinder, the record industry had chafed under the restricted running time of its existing software. The cylinder's successor, the 78 rpm platter could, under the best of circumstances, hold around four minutes of music on a side. This was a vexation on the artist and the recording manager--individual movements of works like the Beethoven Symphony No. 5 took up at least two sides, and sometimes three, on two platters, requiring the listener to change platters and interrupt the piece at least once or twice on each movement. Additionally, the artist had to tailor a recording, regardless of the tempo they might've normally used in concert, to meet the side-break at a spot that was as unobtrusive as possible--that meant hitting the end of a bar, and the right bar, at a pause, at just the right moment in a recording. And the platters themselves were heavy and very brittle, and, thus, easily broken. To top it off, all recording in those days outside of Germany, where they'd perfected a primitive but viable form of magnetic recording tape, was done to disc, on wax masters. There was no such thing as "playback" as such--if a producer or artist wasn't sure if a note had been hit wrong, or a passage flubbed somewhere deep in the orchestra, they either had to order a test-pressing and wait anywhere from two weeks to a month to get it back, or do it over then and there.
If there was doubt, it was faster and cheaper to redo the entire side; thus, retakes were the order of the day--when Dimitri Mitropoulos and the Minneapolis Symphony cut the first ever recording of the Mahler Symphony No. 1, for Columbia Masterworks in 1940, it took most of a morning just to get through the first half of the first movement.
RCA-Victor had devised an experimental long-play disc in the early 1930's, able to fit seven or eight minutes on a side, but it required new playback equipment, and springing that on the public during the depths of the Great Depression, with unemployment inching up to 20% or more and record company profits dropping by 90%, didn't seem like a good idea.
By the middle of the 1940's, however, a musician and producer at Columbia named Peter Goldmark proposed another attempt at a new kind of long-playing record--Lieberson saw the potential that this held and got the development budget allocated, and by 1947 engineers at Columbia had perfected the long-playing, microgroove record, capable of holding 15 minutes on a side in its 10-inch version, and 22 minutes on a side in its 12-inch form. The advent of the long-playing record, introduced by Columbia in 1948, revolutionized the whole recording industry, though not immediately.
Almost simultaneously with Columbia's new innovation, RCA-Victor debuted its own new music software, the 45 rpm single. It, too, was an improvement over the 78, holding the same 3-4 minutes of music but far lighter, cheaper and easier to make, and far less breakable. Moreover, RCA-Victor, as owner of the National Broadcasting Company, had its own radio and television outlet through which to push the 45 disc. The formats battled it out for three years, although by 1950 there were no more classical 78s to speak of.
Some recordings were released in all three formats, and a few as LPs and 45's (one of the oddest releases in opera that one can find is London Records' 45 rpm version of the Beecham recording of The Tales of Hoffmann, from the soundtrack of the 1951 film--twenty 45 rpm discs that allow the listener to go through the opera in 40 three-minute bits--this writer describes it was the juke-box version of Tales of Hoffmann).
Eventually, the LP won out for classical and jazz, and as a vehicle for grouped pop releases, while the 45 became the standard for popular music. Coincidental with the development of the LP, Lieberson also established a contractual relationship between Columbia Records and the Metropolitan Opera. The LP made the recording and release of complete operas (which had been done on a very limited basis in Europe in the 1930's, before the war) feasible for the first time.
Beginning with the Met recording of Puccini's La Boheme in 1947, Columbia began an enviable and unique body of operatic releases that vastly broadened the range of the entire existing classical catalog.
Additionally, at approximately the same time, the label began recording various non-operatic classical works whose length would have made a pure 78 rpm release impractical.
The most important of these was Bruno Walter's 1947 New York Philharmonic performance of the Mahler Symphony No. 5, the first complete recording of the piece. All of this new recording entailed a massive switchover of equipment in the home. There were tens of millions of old-style 78 rpm players out there, and a hundred times as many wide-tipped steel needles (the V-Disc program alone during World War II had distributed billions of steel needles to troops to play 78's), all of which were useless in playing the LP.
The new format spoke its virtues in loud volumes, but more encouragement was needed. Columbia provided this--for a time in the late 1940's, through retailers, the record company supplied new 33 1/3 long-play phonographs at virtually below cost to listeners, in exchange for a commitment to buy a certain number of Columbia LPs. ... When Leonard Bernstein was made the Music Director of the New York Philharmonic in 1957, however, Columbia under Lieberson seized a dual moment--the label had switched to stereo that year, and here was a chance to sell it, and a generation of new recordings, to the public. The Philharmonic's sales under outgoing music director Dimitri Mitropoulos and his predecessors had always lagged behind those of the Philadelphia Orchestra under Eugene Ormandy, who were also signed to Columbia. Lieberson and Columbia saw the young, charismatic, media-conscious Bernstein as offering the chance to correct that imbalance and sell the new stereo format--with Bernstein as their point-man, getting lots of publicity (including a fair amount from the CBS network) at the time, as the first American-born Music Director of a major American orchestra (and it should be remembered that these things seemed to, and indeed did matter a lot more to the public and the press in those days), the company embarked on an ambitious program of recording. Bernstein and the orchestra were offered every chance to go into the studio, recutting (or cutting for the first time) any piece of repertory that might reasonably seem like it would find a serious audience. The result was the creation of a classical music media superstar, and the generation of sales figures for the Philharmonic that not only delighted Columbia but also the orchestra's management. This led to an era in which the Philharmonic musicians' salaries were raised, and the orchestra's schedule expanded to virtually the year round, all to fill the demand. Bernstein and the Philharmonic became the first classical musicians that millions of American children heard, and the only classical musicians that many teenagers of the late 1950's and early 1960's ever heard. The opening of the Philharmonic's new home, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, in New York in 1963 was crowning touch, atop these other successes. ... Leonard Bernstein, whose excitement and sales had slackened in the late 1960's, had given up his Columbia contract and the Philharmonic. His successor, Pierre Boulez, made some very important recordings that didn't sell nearly as well, and his successor, Zubin Mehta, was to make less important recordings that sold even more poorly. The world had changed around Goddard Lieberson. Lieberson died of cancer in the spring of 1977, leaving behind about as large a legacy of important recordings as any man in music. Although his credits as a producer were rare (he was moved up past that level early), he facilitated many important projects in classical music, made Columbia Records' Masterworks division a giant in the field of classical music, and remade the music industry.
"Paul Paray' s distinguished refinement not only improved but enhanced the persuasive sound of the Detroit Symphony, leading this ensemble to one of the most remarkable in the Fifties. His devoted passion for the French music was evident but his broad vision included Dvorak and Sibelius with exceptional results.