Wednesday, 13 September 2017

A record rescued

Two views of the same record, one that I bought during my recent trip to Kuala Lumpur. I had gone to a shop at the Ampang Park shopping mall, which faces closure in one or two months' time, and had picked up several records. One of them, this one, was in particularly bad condition. When I removed the record to inspect it, I found that several small insects had died and their dried shells had been compressed against both surfaces of the record. A thick crust of dried insect exoskeleton. I showed it to the store owner and she agreed to reduce its price.

After I returned to Penang a few days ago, I put this record through my usual cleaning process and managed to remove all traces of the dried insects. The rescued record, I must say, looked in quite pristine shape. I must also add that the sound was unaffected, safe for the usual slight clicks and pops that I would normally expect from an old record.

So here now is the record playing on my turntable: Baroque Brass by The Philip Jones Brass Ensemble.

Side 1: Sonate A 7 (Heinrich Biber), Sonate from Die Bankelsangerlieder (Anon), Intrada (Melchior Franck), Intrada V (Hans Leo Hassler), Sonata for Trumpet and 3 Trombones (Daniel Speer), Sonata for 3 Trombones (Daniel Speer), Sonata for 4 Trombones (Daniel Speer), Sonata for 2 Trumpets and 3 Trombones (Daniel Speer), Canzona A 10 (Samuel Scheidt)
Side 2: Chorale "Nun Danket Alle Gott" (JS Bach), Aria and Fugue in Imitation of the Postillion's Horn (JS Bach), Sonata K380 (D Scarlatti), Sonata K430 (D Scarlatti), Sonata K443 (D Scarlatti), Menuetto and Courante for Solo Tuba (JS Bach), March (CPE Bach)

From the liner notes:
Side 1 begins with a Sonata by the Bohemian violinist/composer Heinrich Biber (1644-1704), and is a typical example of baroque trumpet writing using fanfare motifs. Like most of the trumpet pieces of this time its strength lies in its simple form and bold colour heightened by the addition of timpani. The anonymous Sonata (c.1684) comes from a collection of Northern German vocal and instrumental music under the general title 'Bench Singers Songs', while the Intrada of Melchior Franck (1573-1639), composer and kapellmeister of the Duke of Coburg, is one of a collection published in 1608. Hans Leo Hassler (1564-1612) studied in Venice for a short time with Andrea Gabrieli and this Intrada from his 'Lustgarten' collection of 1601 shows clearly, in its warmth and suavity, the Venetian influence. Daniel Speer (1636-1707) wrote important treatises on musical theory and the manner of playing all the current instruments of his time. These Sonatas show his ability to write effectively for brass. The Canzona of Samuel Scheidt (1587-1654), which closes the first side of this record, comes from a collection of 32 dances in four and five parts published in 1621. This one lends itself to stereo treatment and it has been revoiced for two answering groups of five players each.
Side 2 opens with a sonorous Chorale from cantata no.79 by JS Bach (1685-1750) and is followed by the last two movements of his Capriccio (BWV 992) entitled 'on the departure of a dearly beloved brother'. The departure is signalled by the postillion's horn, creating the best possible excuse for transcription onto brass. Three Sonatas by Domenico  Scarlatti (1685-1757) transcribed for us by Stephen Dodgson (whose original brass works we have recorded on earlier Argo discs) were the result of a conversation one day on the possibility that Scarlatti was influenced somewhat in his compositions by the small town bands he must have heard while living in Spain. Be that as it may, K443 certainly begins in a very brassy fashion. Cello music is not generally associated with brass instruments, but the two movements from Bach's Cello Suite No.1 lend themselves to reincarnation on John Fletcher's tuba, an instrument invented some 100 years or so, after Bach's death. The record ends, appropriately for brass, with a rousing March attributed to CPE Bach (1714-1788).

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