Mackerras/Pro Arte O: Janacek Sinfonietta + 4 Preludes - Pye GSGC 14004
Jacket VG / LP NM / UK pressing
This wonderful LP from Pye (GSGC 14004, English pressing, blue/black label, stereo) features Charles Mackerras’ unsurpassed first recording of Janacek’s Sinfonietta, made with the Pro Arte Orchestra in demonstration quality sound in the sumptuous acoustics of Walthamstow Assembly Hall, London, during 19-24 July 1959.
Set down during these same sessions are Preludes to four of Janacek’s operas: Act I of The Makropoulos Affair, Katya Kabanova, The House of the Dead, and Jenufa. Though not credited on the jacket, the violin soloist heard in the Prelude to The House of the Dead is Raymond Cohen.
Wrote the wonderful author and critic David Hurwitz for ClassicsToday:
“This famous performance of the Janácek Sinfonietta was not superceded by Mackerras' somewhat heavy Decca remake, though his latest effort for Supraphon must take the prize in terms of both performance and sound. Still, the freshness and excitement of the music making on offer here comes through loud and clear, even if the Pro Arte Orchestra really isn't world-class. In a sense it doesn't matter because Janácek's music thrives on a certain roughness and edge, though groups such as the Czech Philharmonic provide the necessary timbral tang and also have plenty of sheer virtuosity in reserve. In any case, you won't find a better collection of the four opera preludes by anyone at any price. As might be expected, the additional items are very well done. Mackerras is such a musical conductor it's hard to find anything by him that isn't good, and the Romanian Rhapsody has particularly infectious high spirits even if this isn't exactly Silvestri conducting. Never mind: these are very enjoyable, even important performances that have withstood the test of time, and they have never sounded better.”
There are informative liner notes on the reverse side of the jacket by Enid Gibson, printed in English only. The striking cover photo is uncredited.
The gradations of condition I use are as follows: MINT, Near-Mint, Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor.
The condition of the jacket is VERY GOOD. There is minor wear at corners and ringwear to the rear panel, but that is all. There are no seamsplits, owners’ markings, bends, or other defects and the album remains solid, bright, glossy, and highly attractive – overall, a very good collector's copy.
The condition of the LP itself is near-MINT. Although surfaces are not absolutely silent (and thus I have rated it NM vs. MINT) this is a fine copy and playback is superb. If you must have perfect surfaces, then please do not buy this LP. Overall, this rates as a NM collector's copy.