One of the many hats I wear is that of CD Reviewer. Each month, or so, I receive a list of newly-released CDs, and pick anything that takes my fancy therefrom to review. In my personal case, I’m especially interested in piano music, of course, and particularly from less-well-known composers.
Last month a particular CD caught my eye. It was a reissue of the original 1941/42 recordings that Moura Lympany made of the Complete Rachmaninov Preludes for Piano.
Of course, while the sound quality was the best it could be at the time, and there are today’s digital enhancements, you’d still probably choose a modern version for the sound. Then again, whereas today’s artists can correct any slipped note or error, back in 1940 it was a question of burning the whole thing in one take on a shellac, and just hoping no slips crept in. Yes, this is like any live performance, but every glitch, error, misreading, or spurious noise are all faithfully captured for posterity, and, of course, normally become more aggravating with each successive hearing.
If you’re a classical-music-lover of a certain age, and lived in Plymouth at the time, you would surely have heard of the late Charles May. Charles was a GPO/BT engineer by day, but who had a passion for classical music, and virtually single-handedly brought all the best pianists and orchestras, Leeds International Piano Competition winners and runners-up to play in Plymouth Guildhall, and occasionally in the then newly-built Theatre Royal – and, what’s more, not only did he achieve this, but the audience sizes were equally just as impressive, too.
Dame Moura Lympany was born in Saltash, and soon became an international concert-pianist in her own right. Charles managed to bring her back almost to her roots on more than one occasion, when she played in the Guildhall. I can remember, as a schoolboy at DHSB, being one of the programme-sellers on one of them.
If you follow the link to my recent review of her Decca Reissue, you will read of some further mutual connections, as well as a lovely biography of Moura on the Saltash Town website.
You can read my review or Moura’s CD here.
You can find some further information, listen to some short sound-bites, and buy the CD here.
Decca Eloquence Label – CD Reissue of Moura Lympany’s ‘Complete Rachmaninov Preludes for Piano’
Review at Music Web International – Friday October 27, 2017
Philip R Buttall
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