Karajan: Gaite Parisienne / Faust Ballet Music - FCX 789 (ds), perfect jacket
Jacket NM / Vinyl EX / French pressing
This truly lovely LP – the jacket is perfect – from Columbia (FCX 789, French Pathe-Marconi pressing, blue/silver label, mono – no stereo edition exists, booklet included dowel spine) features Herbert von Karajan and the Philharmonia Orchestra in 3 brilliant and enchanting ballet sequences. Karajan has seldom been on such charming form and the Philharmonia again demonstrate why they were – during this time – arguably the world's finest orchestra.
All sessions were held in the fabled acoustics of London's Kingsway Hall in January 1958 (producer: Walter Legge / engineer: Douglas Larter).
The exact contents are as follows:
Jacques Offenbach (orch. Manuel Rosenthal): La Gaité Parisienne
(Oveture, Nos. 1, 2, 6, 8-18, 21, and 23)
Gioacchino Rossini: Passo a tre e coro tirolese, from Guillaume Tell (William Tell)
Charles Gounod: Ballet music from Faust
(Act V: les Nubiennes – Adago – Danse antique – Variations de Cléopâtre – Les Troyennes – Variations du miroir – Danse de Phryné – Bacchanale)
This French Columbia issue is arguably the finest release of these performances, coming in a heavy, textured "baguette"-style jacket with a dowel spine inner sleeve. And this copy is in fine condition. It is these type of pressings that reminds one what a work of art the LP once was and how much was lost in the transitions to later formats. And included with this copy is the 12-page booklet, some often missing from these issues.
In reviewing a later EMI re-issue of some of this material ("Popular Orchestral Music"), the critic A.M.L. wrote in his review for the February 1985 issue of The Gramophone: "In those days Karajan did not linger over phrases to the extent that he later came to do. At the same time the interpretations here do tend to lack a touch of warmth and passion or the relish that, say, Beecham would have brought to a collection of lollipops such as this. But one can only admire the sheer beauty and technical perfection that Karajan was able to elicit from the Philharmonia in those days.
"The recorded sound, too, still seems remarkably good for the recordings' age. So, just as Karajan's performances served to introduce me to the popular classics all those years ago, I would very happily offer this collection to my own children or, indeed, anyone else wanting a collection of popular classics. I should have thought, though, that something below full price might now have been in order for recordings of this age."
Incidentally, the striking cover design was executed by Atelier Cassandre Joubert. The fine liner notes included in the booklet – printed in French only – were witten by Jacques Slyper.
CONDITION – PLEASE READ VERY CAREFULLY:
The gradations of condition I use are as follows: MINT, Near-Mint, Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor.
The condition of the heavy "baguette"-style jacket is near-MINT. There is some minuscule wear at corners, perhaps, but really the jacket is in outstanding condition and appears almost as new – overall, a truly lovely collector's copy.
The condition of the booklet is near-MINT. Some slight discoloration perhaps, but that is all. The pages remain bright and crisp, the binding solid.
The condition of the dowel spine is EXCELLENT. One of the words on the dowel is slightly illegible, but that is all – a fine collector's copy.
Both sides of this disc have been carefully auditioned from beginning to end condition are graded conservatively as EXCELLENT. There is occasional light surface noise in the Rossini, but otherwise the surfaces are very clean and playback is excellent Those requiring a flawless or near-MINT copy, however, are kindly advised to look elsewhere – overall, this rates as an collector's copy.