Allen Tanner: Scriabin, Liszt, Brahms, Debussy, et al. - Melos MLP 6001 (2LP set) - very rare
Jacket VG / LPs VG
This fascinating – and extraordinarily rare – 2LP set from Melos (MLP 6001, US pressing, blue labels, mono) features the only commercial recordings, pressed in very limited numbers, of the enigmatic pianist Allen Tanner (1898-1987), who enjoyed a prominent career in Europe between the World Wars and who was the lover of the Russian artist Pavel Tchelitchew, whose portrait of Tanner graces the cover, and later of the poet Charles Henri Ford. These remarkable recordings were made in New York City circa 1967 and have never been re-issued in any format.
The exact contents are as follows:
Alexander Scriabin: Poeme Op. 32 No. 1
Alexander Scriabin: Poeme Op. 32 No. 2
Franz Liszt: Sonetto del Petrarca No. 104
Alexander Scriabin: Etude Op. 65 "Broken Glass"
Enrique Granados: The Maiden and the Nightingale
Johannes Brahms: Intermezzo Op. 117 No. 2
Sergei Rachmaninov: Prelude in G-sharp minor Op. 32 No. 12
Alexander Scriabin: Prelude in C-sharp minor Op. 11 No. 10
Claude Debussy: Clair de lune, from the Suite Bergamasque
Sergei Rachmaninov: Prelude in D Major Op. 23 No. 4
Alexander Steinert: Danse Exotique (1922)
J.S. Bach / Allen Tanner: Sinfonia-Cantata No. 12 "Wienen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen"
J.S. Bach/ Allen Tanner: Sonatina-Cantata No. 106 "Gottes Zeit Ist Die Allerbeste Zeit"
J.S. Bach / Franz Liszt: Fantasia in G minor
In the Dickinson College [online] Archives & Special Collections one can find the following biographical sketch of Tanner:
"Allen C. Tanner (1898-1987) was an Illinois-born pianist. At fifteen he was awarded a scholarship to study music in Chicago. There he met Margaret Anderson, editor of the Little Review. Tanner then moved to New York City where he performed in musical salons and accompanied many musical greats of the era including Marguerite Namara and Marguerite d'Alvarez. In 1922, Tanner left for Berlin, where he met Russian artist Pavel Tchelitchew and the two men became lovers. In 1924 the pair moved to Paris to pursue their artistic careers. There they became friends with literary greats Gertrude Stein and Edith Sitwell. Tanner and Tchelitchew ended their relationship in 1934. Tanner returned to the United States where he coached piano students in concert repertory. In 1967 he released the album Allen Tanner Plays Bach, Debussy, Scriabin, Granados, Rachmaninoff, Liszt, and Steinert. The collection contains correspondence, writings, programs and publicity, news clippings, financial documents, sheet music, sound recordings, photographs, and books. The correspondence comprises the bulk of this collection. In addition to Tanner's correspondence with fellow musicians and cultural figures, Tanner also exchanged letters with authors and publishers who were interested in his memories of individuals such as Tchelitchew, Gertude Stein, Edith Sitwell, and Margaret Anderson."
The interior panels of the gatefold jacket carry eloquent liner notes by Tanner himself, as well as a memorable photo of the pianist with Pavel Tchelitchew and Edith Sitwell, taken in France in 1929. The striking album design was executed by Patricia Trento.
CONDITION – PLEASE READ CAREFULLY:
The gradations of condition I use are as follows: MINT, Near-Mint, Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor.
The condition of the gatefold jacket is VERY GOOD. There is some cracking along the spine (no splits), and minor corner wear, but that is all. There are no seamsplits, owners’ markings, bends,or other defects, and the whole remains solid, bright, and highly attractive – overall, a very good collector's copy.
The condition of the 2 LPs is VERY GOOD. Although there is light surface noise, in general playback is quite fine. Really, I believe these are unplayed, or lightly played, copies and that the surface noise stems from the original sources and/or from the quality of the pressings, not from poor handling or storage of the set.
There are a few pressing bubbles, but these do not affect play. However, if you must have flawless or NM surfaces, then please do not buy this set. Overall, these are very good collector's copies.