Friday, November 2, 2012

Preview: Night Music

Part 1 (of the poster's 17) of the 1990 New York City Opera telecast of Stephen Sondheim's A Little Night Music

by Ken

The German Nachtmusik is literally "night music," but by extension it's also the standard term for "serenade." As for example:

MOZART: Serenade in G, K. 525 (Eine kleine Nachtmusik)

Vienna Philharmonic, Bruno Walter, cond. Victor 78rpm set M 364, recorded Dec. 17, 1936, digital transfer by F. Reeder

London Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir Thomas Beecham, cond. Victor 78rpm set DM 1163, recorded 1945, transferred and restored by Bob Varney
[Restorer Bob Varney notes of the 1945 Beecham set: "A 1947 magazine ad showed this recording priced at $3. That would be the equivalent of about $30.25 today and would buy only 16 minutes of music."]


We'll be hearing what I think qualifies as the ultimate in Night Music. Here's a glimpse. Note that in the opening two-horn dialogue, the theatrical first part is played by the Chicago Symphony's legendary Dale Clevenger (born 1940), who has been the orchestra's principal horn since 1966 -- and, yes, is still on the job.

Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Georg Solti, cond. Decca, recorded May 1971

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