More Persuasive Percussion

Sleeve Notes:

In 1959, nobody had ever heard of Command Records. “Persuasive Percussion” was the label’s first release … a record made by an unknown orchestra for an unknown record company with the title that led some people to think it was a collection of drum solos.

Neither “Persuasive Percussion” nor Command Records remained unknown for long. “Persuasive Percussion” was the record that, in the view of many historians of the recording industry, changed stereophonic recording from a novelty to a method of achieving a new and exciting musical dimension. For the first time, stereo recording was not simply a method of having sounds come out of two different speakers: it meant music skilfully arranged in order to achieve brilliant musical results by using all the glittering high frequencies and full bodied low frequencies that could be reproduced by a remarkable team of imaginative sound engineers. In the years since then, Command Records has built steadily along the adventurous path that they started on with “Persuasive Percussion”. A break-through of great importance was made in 1963, with the discovery of Command’s Dimension 3 Process. A recording system which, without adding a third speaker to the playback system, produced the effect of a third speaker in between the usual left and right speakers.

The result was tremendously increased clarity, a much richer display of sound and a far more exciting use of musical colours which could be blended or separated in three streams instead of the two to which stereo was limited before. “More Persuasive Percussion” is the culmination of all these adventures in musical sound reproduction.

It has often been said that “Stereo did not make Command-Command made stereo”. And it is true. The devices of stereo recording existed before Command Records did. The difference came in the use that Command made of these devices. This remains true today. Command continues to lead the way, to open the doors and to make exciting and provocative use of what it finds behind each door.

that has been learned in the years of Command’s remarkable history, directed towards the new, challenging ventures that lie ahead.

 "More Persuasive Percussion" is the culmination of all these adventures in musical sound reproduction. It has often been said that "Stereo did not make Command-Command made stereo"

Label: Command SCMD 503

1966 1960s Covers

Ray Conniff His Orchestra & Chorus – HiFi Companion

Sleeve Notes:

You Do Something To Me, They Can’t Take That Away From Me, Hello, Young Lovers, Where Or When, All The Things You Are, People Will Say We’re In Love, On The Street Where You Live, Moonlight Serenade, The Way You Look Tonight, As Time Goes By, Smoke Gets In Your Eyes, Lullaby Of Birdland, Cheek To Cheek, Thanks For The Memory, Easy To Love, Laura, It Might As Well Be Spring, Warsaw Concerto, I Could Have Danced All Night, I’ve Grown Accustomed To Her Face, An Improvisation On “Lieberstraum”, Young At Heart, An Improvisation On “Dance Of The Sugar Plum Fairy”, I’ll See You Again

Ray Conniff His Orchestra & Chorus - HiFi Companion

Label: CBS 66011

1966 1960s Covers

Vikki Carr – The Way of Today!

Sleeve Notes:

She has the vibrancy of a young girl, but the maturity of a woman. Her voice is crystal clear. In a personal appearance, her every gesture expresses feeling. Her smile is contagious and her eyes radiate warmth. The lady’s presence demands attention. The lady is Vikki Carr! Her previous albums for Liberty Records have always produced an excitement. This album is certainly no exception. Vikki has taken some of the best of today’s popular tunes and given them her personal interpretation. With the tremendously successful “Nowhere Man” and “My World Is Empty Without You” she has changed the tempo and opened a whole new world of feeling. Her interpretation of “Can I Trust You?,” which was a winner of the San Remo International Music Festival, must be heard to be believed. Vikki Carr must be heard to be believed. She is The Way of Today! – Richard Oliver

Vikki Carr - The Way of Today!

Label: Liberty LBL 83028
Cover Photography: John Engstead
Art Direction: Woody Woodward

More about Vikki Carr

1966 1960s Covers

Leonard Bernstein, New York Philharmonic – Dvořák/Smetana – The Moldau And Other Favorites

Sleeve Notes:

Notes by HERBERT KUPFERBERG Editor for the Arts of the New York Herald Tribune

Few rivers have been celebrated in music as memorably as the Moldau. The Mississippi was glorified in a famous song from the Broadway musical “Show Boat”, the Seine in a French popular song of a few years back, the Danube in Strauss’ best-known Viennese waltz, the Volga in a dirge-like Russian work chant. The Moldau alone has had a famous tone poem written about it.

The Czechs call their great river the Vltava, but it is known in German as Moldau, and it is under this name that Bedřich Smetana’s tone poem has won world fame. Smetana, even more than Dvořák, was the Czech composer who best expressed his country’s nationalistic pride. According to one story, on a visit to Liszt in Weimar Smetana heard a Viennese composer named Herbeck remark that the Czechs were imitative rather than original, and he determined to prove him wrong. He did so by eventually producing two undoubted masterpieces, the opera The Bartered Bride and the symphonic cycle My Fatherland (Má Vlast), from which The Moldau is taken.

It took Smetana five years (1874-79) to complete Má Vlast, and his purpose was simple: he wished to exalt his country, then under Austrian rule. He dedicated his symphonic cycle to the city of Prague, and he selected as the subjects for its six tone poems the various historic and geographic sites which symbolized some aspect of his nation’s greatness. The second of these was the river Moldau, and Smetana himself has left us a graphic description of what he meant to depict in this tonal portrait:

Two springs pour forth in the shade of the Bohemian forest, the one warm and gushing, the other cold and tranquil. Their waves, joyfully flowing over their rocky beds, unite and sparkle in the morning sun. The forest brook, rushing on, becomes the River Moldau, which, with its waters speeding through Bohemia’s valleys, grows into a mighty stream. It flows through dense woods from which come the joyous sounds of the chase, and the notes of the hunter’s horn are heard ever nearer and nearer.
It flows through emerald meadows and lowlands, where a wedding feast is being celebrated with song and dancing. At night, in its shining waves, wood and water nymphs hold their revels, and in these waves are reflected many a fortress and castle—witnesses of bygone splendour of chivalry, and the vanished martial fame of days that are no more. At the Rapids of St. John the stream speeds on, winding its way through cataracts and hewing the path for its foaming water through the rocky chasm into the broad river bed, in which it flows on in majestic calm toward Prague, welcomed by the time-honoured Vysherad [the citadel], to disappear in the far distance from the poet’s gaze.

The music illustrates this programme with admirable clarity and beautiful colours. Flutes depict the first gushing spring, clarinets the second. The flowing Moldau theme first appears in the strings; it gives way temporarily to the romantic sounds of a hunt (horns and trumpets), and to the rhythms of a polka, indicating a rustic wedding on the shores. There are suggestions of moonlight on the waters (muted strings, embellished by woodwinds and harp), and then, after the Moldau theme is briefly restated, the river courses through the turbulent rapids. Finally, the Moldau theme takes command in its full majesty as the mountain stream becomes a mighty river flowing past the citadel Vysherad, reflecting in its waters the glories of a great people, and then receding into the distance, with two decisive chords signalling an end to the work.
The Moldau theme itself is a stroke of genius. Few melodies could suggest a river more vividly than this flowing, rolling music, whose very phrases lead into one another with a constant forward surge. It is music of majestic spirit, tinged ever so slightly with sadness (its first appearance is in a minor key), and somehow having the flavour of a folk song. Oddly enough, the Central European folk melody which served as Smetana’s inspiration for this work was later adapted as the Zionist hymn Hatikvah (The Hope) and eventually became the national anthem of Israel. Thus, The Moldau, in a way Smetana never dreamed of, became an expression of the unconquerableness of the human spirit.

Just as The Moldau is Smetana’s greatest symphonic work, so The Bartered Bride is his operatic masterpiece. Stage performances of this bubbling rustic comedy have increased in recent years, but audiences continue to know the work chiefly through the Overture and Three Dances which typify its gay’ and cheerful spirit. The Overture ranks with Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro Overture as a pure distillation of comedy into music. It is compounded principally of material from the Act II Finale of the opera, and is one of those pieces that make thematic analysis seem superfluous and pretentious. The Three Dances are a Polka, a Furiant, and the Dance of the Comedians. All stem from the colourful stage action, the Polka occurring at the climax of Act I, when a group of Bohemian villagers stage an impromptu dance, and the Furiant at the outset of Act II, following a joyous chorus in praise of beer – “a heavenly gift, which drowns all trouble.” The final dance takes place where a circus troupe arrives on the scene and performs a pantomime act.

Antonin Dvořák succeeded Smetana as Bohemia’s leading composer and won even wider acclaim abroad. His Slavonic Dances, which first made his name known in his own country and beyond, were written both in two-piano and orchestral versions.

The Carnival Overture, written in 1891, has remained one of his most popular compositions. It originally was part of a symphonic work which Dvořák took with him on his visit to the United States in 1892, and which he conducted at his debut concert in New York’s Carnegie Hall. This tripartite work was entitled Triple Overture: Nature, Life, Love.

Subsequently, the parts were separated, and the Life portion was published under the title Carnival. Never noted for its subtlety, Carnival’s spirited Slavonic measures provide a rousing picture of mirth and merriment. Dvořák once said that this work was meant to depict the feelings of “a lonely, contemplative wanderer reaching a city at twilight when a carnival is in full sway. On every side is heard the clangour of instruments mingled with shouts of joy and unrestrained hilarity of the people giving vent to their feelings in songs and dance tunes.” A quieter middle section, full of murmurings of winds and strings, suggests that, even during the revelry, there is a passing moment for pastoral romance. The Carnival Overture remains in our day, no less than in Dvořák’s, a brilliant and exciting orchestra showpiece.

Leonard Bernstein, New York Philharmonic - Dvořák/Smetana - The Moldau And Other Favorites

Label: CBS 72461

1966 1960s Covers

101 Strings – Cole Porter

Sleeve Notes:

While Cole Porter is the sound and heartbeat of “Park Avenue”, his songs are internationally known and loved by people in all walks of life everywhere.

As a lyricist, he is Mr. Sophistication. As a writer of melodies, his lines have a broad lyric sweep with heart throbbing rhythms that at times are embroidered in minor key moods touched with Slavic colours.

Porter was born in Peru, Indiana in 1892 and began to study violin at the age of six. His parents were wealthy and he was schooled in law at Yale and Harvard.

He later transferred to music school at Schola Cantorum in Paris. He returned to the States and, at first, was rejected by Tin Pan Alley because of his wealth. After a few musical failures he joined the French Foreign Legion and would carry a portable piano on his back to play for his comrades.

His first success came in 1928 in a show called “Paris”. From 1928 until his death, the rest is musical theatre and film success history.

As his lyrics are so much a part of Porter’s charms, it is only fitting that the Holcombe Chorus joins the world’s largest recording orchestra in this fabulous programme of Cole Porter hits.

101 Strings - Cole Porter

Label: Marble Arch MAL 633

1966 1960s Covers

Der Zigeunerbaron – Goldene Operette

Sleeve notes:

A large cross-section with dialogue In two parts Script and direction: Kurt Feltz – Musical direction: Carl Michalski with Erika Köth, Rita Bartos, Margarete Bence, Luis Tom .. Reinhold Bartel, Kurt Böhme, Willy Schneider, Ernst Schütz. The Singgemeinschaft Rudolf Lamy, speakers: Fita Benkhoff, Karl Schönböck u. a. Bavarian Radio Orchestra

Der Zigeunerbaron - Goldene Operette

Label: Telefunken NT 729

1966 1960s Covers

Leonard Bernstein/New York Philharmonic – Debussy La Mer Afternoon Of A Faun/Ravel Daphnis And Chloe Suite No. 2

Sleeve Notes:


It is no novelty to be told that such and such generally acknowledged musical masterpiece failed miserably to please the audience at its first performance. However, not all these initial failures resulted from the music’s being too far in advance of its listeners, or even too far removed from their general aesthetic atmosphere.

A good many pieces failed, at first, for reasons having nothing to do with the composition in question, and some failed for reasons having nothing at all to do with music. The three pieces on this record, whose destinies were rather curiously intertwined, are peculiarly in the latter group. But it should be emphasized that what we are discussing here is the public reaction, not that of the professional critics. Claude Debussy’s La Mer is a case in point. After its first performance, under the direction of Camille Chevillard at the Concerts Lamoureux in Paris, the critics ex-pressed dissatisfaction for widely divergent reasons. Some apparently had glanced at their scores (or program notes), noted the titles of La Mer’s three movements (“From Dawn to Noon on the Sea,” “Play of the Waves,” “Dialogue of the Wind and the Sea”) and prepared themselves for some kind of wave-by-wave program music. They were quick to reveal disappointment over the music’s being evocative rather than explicit. Among them, perhaps, could be placed the shyly ironic figure of Erik Satie who, in commenting on “From Dawn to Noon on the Sea,” acknowledged that he particularly liked the little bit at a quarter to eleven. Other critics, on the contrary, such as Pierre Lalo, had anticipated a further development of the understated musical description which, particularly in Pelleas et Melisande, had helped to establish Debussy’s musical reputation. The com-plaint of these critics was that La Mer seemed too explicit—and, at the same time, too symphonic. Lalo intimated that the entire composition could not compare in impact to the grotto scene in Pelleas, “where only a few chords and a single orchestral rhythm gave the atmosphere of night and of the sea. . . . ” If the critics had varying and contradictory reasons for dis-liking La Mer, the Parisian audiences paid no attention to all the fuss in the press and cut right through to the heart of the matter—Debussy himself. It was not La Mer at all that was the focus of the public’s scathing attention, but Debussy’s private life over the three years in which he composed the work. In those three years, the composer had matter-of-factly proceeded to discard his first wife, Lily Texier, in favour of his second, Emma Bardac. Lily was a simple, beautiful, provincial girl who had been totally devoted to Debussy for the five years of their marriage. Emma Bardac was wealthy and worldly—already a wife and the mother of grown children.

It was not difficult to predict which of the two women would have the public’s sympathies in such an affair, and sympathy for Lily became outrage at Debussy’s behaviour when he not only failed to be visibly moved by Lily’s almost-successful attempt at suicide, but barely managed to spare a few minutes to visit her in the hospital on the way to join Emma Bardac. By the time of La Mer’s first performance, Debussy’s private affairs had become public property. They were to become even more so a few weeks later with the appearance of a play, La Femme nue, by Henri Bataille, which was a superbly written and undisguised account of Debussy’s life with Lily. Paris showed its anger at Debussy by greeting La Mer in the worst way it knew how—with an icy silence that hardly acknowledged the work’s existence. And while the critics began to recognize the unmistakable merits of “Debussy’s symphony” within a few weeks of its premiere, it was many years before the music’s stature with the public transcended the circumstances of its first performance. But a frigid silence is hardly a typical Parisian reaction, or even a typical Parisian negative reaction. Much more in keeping with the historical hot tempers of French audiences was the reception afforded a few years later, to the first performance of the ballet L’ Apres-midi d’un faune. It immediately became the subject of fiery controversy, and this time the audience was reacting neither to Debussy’s music nor to his private life. The Prelude a l’ Apres-midi d’un faune, Debussy’s musical interpretation of Stephane Mallarme’s famous poem, had grown musically successful since 1894, when it was per-formed at the Salle d’Harcourt and described by one irate critic as music for a pack of headhunters. In a terse preface to the score, Debussy said, “It evokes the successive echoes of the faun’s desires and dreams on a hot afternoon.” At its premiere as a ballet in 1912, under the aegis of Diaghilev, Nijinsky and the Ballet Russe, L’ Apres-midi evidently did much more than “evoke.” It became an instant and total scandal, with headlines screaming across newspaper front pages, editorials attacking and defending, and men and women insulting each other whenever the subject was brought up. Both the source and the nature of the controversy was made most explicit by Gaston Calmette, editor of Le Figaro, who suppressed a mildly disapproving review of the ballet in favour of his own far more pointed comment. His famous editorial, “Un Faux pas,” ended : “. . Those who speak of art and poetry apropos this spectacle mock us. It is neither a graceful eclogue nor a serious production. We saw a faun, incontinent, vile—his gestures those of erotic bestiality and shamelessness. That is all. And well-deserved boos greeted this too-expressive pantomime of the body of an ill-made beast, hideous from the front, even more hideous in profile. These animal realisms never will be acceptable.” It goes without saying that the “animal realisms” eventually proved inoffensive enough. In the meantime, the ballet was anything but harmed by the intense controversy, for an eager audience awaited every performance. Ironically, the only real harm done by L’affaire de “L’ Apres-midi” was to Ravel. Serge Diaghilev’s Ballet Russe was unquestionably one of the most potent catalysts of all time on artistic activity. Among the first artists attracted by the Ballet on its arrival in Paris in 1901 was Maurice Ravel. Ravel already had come to know Diaghilev through the composer’s attempts to persuade him to stage a full-length production of Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov during the impresario’s presentation of Russian works at the Paris Opera. Although Ravel failed to make Diaghilev share -his appreciation of Mussorgsky, he left unmistakable evidence of his own talents, and the com-poser was a welcome observer at the Ballet Russe’s rehearsals for their first Paris season. Like almost everyone present at those rehearsals, Ravel was intoxicated by the headlong verve with which the entire troupe seemed to behave. And when he began to compose the score of Daphnis et Chloe, he did so with the memory of the Ballet’s incredible debut—and Nijinsky’s legendary leaps—fresh in his mind. But for all of Ravel’s enthusiasm, and the respect in which he was held by the troupe, difficulties in mounting the ballet arose from the start. For one thing, Ravel’s conception of the ancient Greece against which Daphnis et Chloe should be set was not the same as that of Fokine, the choreographer, and Bakst, the stage designer. For another, the eventual estrangement of Fokine and Diaghilev was predictable be-cause of the increasing number of vehement arguments between the two. One reason after another postponed the staging of Daphnis et Chloe from season to season. What spoiled the eventual debut at the Theatre Chatelet in 1912, however, was not any definite artistic weakness in the production itself—but the furor over Debussy’s L’ Apres-midi, which had been given its premiere only the week before. Not only had Nijinsky’s intense preparations for the Debussy ballet (some one hundred twenty rehearsals) left little time and energy for the polishing of Daphnis et Chloe, but the intensity of the public debate over L’ Apres-midi left little energy, on their part, for any notice of Ravel’s work. While the music of Daphnis et Chloe has never been under-valued from the time of its first performance to the present, the production of the ballet, perhaps, has never been a success on the scale it might have been. Herein lies one more concrete reminder of the strange coexistence and mutual influence of Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel.
CBS is a Trademark of the Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc., U.S.A. Recorded in the U.S.A. by CBS Records, a Division of Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc.

Leonard Bernstein/New York Philharmonic - Debussy La Mer Afternoon Of A Faun/Ravel Daphnis And Chloe Suite No. 2 - another splendid record over from Cover Heaven

Label: CBS 72387
Cover Photo: Bob Cato

1966 1960s Covers