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Subject: Re: Fw: Historic recordings (Was Re: Another announcer - David Elliott (WHRB Boston))
From: Bob Rideout <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Bob Rideout <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Thu, 15 Feb 2018 16:22:35 +0000
Content-Type:text/plain
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text/plain (446 lines)


Donald

It is hard to know where to begin, and more importantly, what
it means for the future of opera, and perhaps "serious" music,
whatever that means.

In NYC, not that long ago we had George Jellinek, Robert Lawrence,
William H. Wells, Father Anthony Coggi and Stefan Zucker, all of
whom had their own radio program devoted to "vocal art". They
were not just outlets for the distribution of music, they were centers
of learning for those who took the time to listen. My life would be
very much poorer, had they not been mentors and guides. I may have
missed a few, and for that my apology!

And, for the record, over the years, my commentary on this forum
has included discussion of such diverse artists as Mahalia Jackson,
Mabel Mercer, Simon and Garfunkel, Edith Piaf, "Judy", "Ella" and
a host of others. They have had an enormous influence on my
appreciation of music, and vocalism in particular.

Bob

On Thu, Feb 15, 2018 at 11:02 donald kane <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: donald kane <[log in to unmask]>
> Date: Thu, Feb 15, 2018 at 11:01 AM
> Subject: Re: Fw: Historic recordings (Was Re: Another announcer - David
> Elliott (WHRB Boston))
> To: Don <[log in to unmask]>
>
>
> Even in New York City, home of the Metropolitan Opera, of the
> Philharmonic, of Carnegie Hall, and Lincoln Center, there is nothing
> to be heard on the radio like David Elliot; we have WQXR, once an
> edifying tapestry of classical music broadcasting, now a threadbare,
> patchy, hand me down, and that's about it.
>
> I wonder if there might be any samples on Youtube of Elliot's work.
>
> dtmk
>
> On Thu, Feb 15, 2018 at 8:49 AM, Don <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
> > I guess I travel in the wrong circles or else living in New Mexico
> shields
> > me from some things.  Unfortunately it also shields us from programs
> > like  the David Elliot show.  I had never heard of him until this recent
> > series of postings on him and I've never heard the expression "sound
> > sissies".   I love those old recordings too, not for the sound naturally,
> > but but to get a glimpse of what singers sounded like in the past to
> > compare with singers today who have all the advantages of better
> equipment,
> > miking and such.
> > DonD
> >
> > On Thu, Feb 15, 2018 at 12:56 AM, Russ Geschke <[log in to unmask]>
> > wrote:
> >
> > > "(in 1852)" (below, fifth line above the bottom) refers to Alboni and
> so
> > > belongs at the end of the sentence.  Just noticed this.  Sorry.
> > >
> > > ----- Original Message ----- From: "Russ Geschke" <
> > [log in to unmask]
> > > >
> > > To: <[log in to unmask]>
> > > Sent: Thursday, February 15, 2018 12:40 AM
> > > Subject: Historic recordings (Was Re: Another announcer - David Elliott
> > > (WHRB Boston))
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > I wanted to get back to you, to probably close this thread. Yes,
> there's
> > a
> > > lack of imagination and of a sense of history. At least Edison in the
> > 1880s
> > > vastly improved his recording technology and then sent representatives
> to
> > > Europe to record various celebrities, which is why we now have
> recordings
> > > of
> > > Sir Arthur Sullivan, William Gladstone, Florence Nightingale, Alfred
> > > Tennyson and Peder Schram (1819-1895). And a cylinder (now lost) was
> > > recorded in Vienna by Marie Wilt. It seems that there were other such
> > > recordings, but they were not preserved for posterity. Personally, my
> > > biggest regret is that it seems that no attempt was made to record
> > Marietta
> > > Alboni (1826-1894), reportedly the greatest contralto of the 19th
> century
> > > ("the elephant that swallowed a nightingale" – Rossini) and who
> > (according
> > > to Emma Eames) was still singing, privately, and well, in Paris right
> up
> > to
> > > her death. Critics reviewing Clara Butt on her first visit to New York
> > (in
> > > 1852) referred to her having "the grandest contralto voice heard here
> > since
> > > Alboni." We have Butt's records, but all we have of Alboni are
> > descriptions
> > > of her singing and photographs, her head with its pleasant and regular
> > > features atop a Junoesque physique. Forgive me for rattling on but
> music
> > > history as preserved on records is just so endlessly fascinating.
> > >
> > > ----- Original Message -----
> > > From: "Paul Ricchi" <[log in to unmask]>
> > > To: <[log in to unmask]>
> > > Sent: Tuesday, February 13, 2018 9:21 AM
> > > Subject: Re: Another announcer - David Elliott (WHRB Boston)
> > >
> > >
> > > I could not agree more, and I like the “sound sissy” term - these
> people
> > > lack imagination.
> > >
> > > We could have had sound recordings much earlier then 1877 - but Edison
> > took
> > > a break to perfect the electric light.
> > >
> > > Much earlier all the technical necessities were present: spring motors
> > > (clocks), the ability to attach a cutting stylus to a diaphragm, and a
> > > medium to capture the vibrations. We could have known what Jennie Lind
> > > sounded like, as well as the great castrati.
> > >
> > > One who has not listened to these relics has an incomplete education
> > about
> > > singing.
> > >
> > > Sent from Astro <https://www.helloastro.com> for iOS
> > >
> > >
> > > On Feb 13, 2018 at 10:11 AM, Russ Geschke <[log in to unmask]>
> > wrote:
> > >
> > >
> > > According to information posted on the internet and just accessed,
> David
> > > Elliott is a Harvard class of 1964 graduate, which makes him 76 or in
> his
> > > 76th year.
> > > He apparently realizes that the vintage recordings he plays have a
> value
> > > beyond being merely "scratchy recordings with faded voices." The
> earliest
> > > recordings take the listener back 160 years to the mid-19th century, an
> > > extraordinary bridge back into the past, and besides allowing us to
> hear
> > > the
> > > beaux restes of the voices of some legendary singers, also document
> > singing
> > > styles and performance practices. Wouldn't you be willing to accept a
> bit
> > > of
> > > surface scratch to hear a faded voice when the voice is that of for
> > > example,
> > > such a legendary and tremendously important singer as Adelina Patti
> > > (1843-1919, recorded December 1905 and June 1906), the most acclaimed
> > > singer
> > > of her time, who had an international career up and running in the
> 1860s
> > > and
> > > was the admired friend of among others Rossini and Verdi? And
> reportedly
> > > her
> > > recording of Norma "Casta diva" incorporates ornamentation sung by the
> > > first
> > > Norma, Giuditta Pasta, which Patti had learned directly from Maurice
> > > Strakosch, who had accompanied Pasta in that music in the 1830s/1840s.
> I
> > > know that there are many listeners and opera lovers who can't bear the
> > > sound
> > > of old recordings – the "sound sissies" (I know, name calling, how not
> > very
> > > adult) – but that simply is an attitude I cannot understand given all
> the
> > > history and beautiful singing contained in all those recordings, from
> the
> > > earliest (even the aged Patti) right on up through Leider, Gigli and
> all
> > > the
> > > many others leading into the 1940s.
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > ----- Original Message -----
> > > From: "A Katalin Mitchell" <[log in to unmask]>
> > > To: <[log in to unmask]>
> > > Sent: Sunday, February 11, 2018 8:00 AM
> > > Subject: Re: Another announcer - David Elliott (WHRB Boston)
> > >
> > >
> > > Another important detail about David Elliot... if you like the
> > programming
> > > he provides after the opera, it will no longer be on the air once he is
> > > gone
> > > There is nobody in all of Cambridge, much less at Harvard Radio, who
> has
> > > his
> > > enormous knowledge and interest in artists of the past, or even opera
> for
> > > that matter. All those scratchy recordings with faded voices that he
> > plays
> > > may drive me batty (yesterday I could not even bear to tune in, I
> wanted
> > to
> > > keep those marvelous voices in my mind) but it is such an instructive
> and
> > > wonderful program, and gorgeous once he gets into the 40s and 50s of
> > > course.
> > > K
> > >
> > >
> > > On 2/11/18, 8:45 AM, "A Katalin Mitchell" <katimitchell.pr@gmailcom>
> > >
> > > wrote:
> > >
> > > Yes, I am quite sure he had a stroke. He is also old, I have met him 10
> > > years ago and he already looked like someone in
> <https://maps.google.com/?q=d+like+someone+in&entry=gmail&source=g> his
> mid 70s. He
> > > practically owns the station (it’s a joke - he has run the classical
> > > programming for almost half a century), so he will be on the air as
> long
> > as
> > > he feels like he is up to it. None of the young folk in charge of WHRB
> > > would dare to ask him to step down.
> > > And I am sure it gives him great pleasure to do it, even if it sounds
> > > effortful.
> > > K
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > Katalin Mitchell
> > > Press and Media Relations Representative
> > > Commonwealth Shakespeare Company/BabsonARTS
> > > 231 Forest Street
> > > <https://maps.google.com/?q=231+Forest+Street&entry=gmail&source=g> /
> > > Sorenson Center / Wellesley, MA 02457
> > > FEAR AND MISERY IN THE THIRD REICH | DEATH AND THE MAIDEN | OLD MONEY |
> > > MACBETH | RICHARD III on the Boston Common
> > >
> > > On 2/10/18, 11:23 PM, "Discussion of opera and related issues on
> behalf
> > > of Jon Goldberg" <[log in to unmask] on behalf of
> > > [log in to unmask]> wrote:
> > >
> > > As long as we're talking opera/classical announcers - does anyone
> > > know what has happened
> > > to the fantastic David Elliott on WHRB? He does a lead-in to the Met
> > > every Saturday, plus an
> > > extensive and always great "post vocal program" after the Met
> > > broadcast.
> > >
> > > But all this season, he's been very uncomfortable to listen to. With
> > > my limited knowledge of
> > > medical issues, it sounds like he has possibly had a stroke. His
> > > words slur, he speaks slower,
> > > and talking just sounds difficult for him - yet he bravely soldiers
> > > on. But nothing, to my
> > > knowledge, has been said about it - I don't believe he has, and I
> > > don't believe the station
> > > has. I keep wanting to email the station to ask something, but I
> > > also feel uncomfortable
> > > doing *that*. (Even typing this message is a bit awkward for me. I
> > > just don't want to pry -
> > > and yet I hope maybe someone knows what has happened.)
> > >
> > > It's to the point where I just don't listen to his time on the air
> > > anymore - and I used to love
> > > that post-Met time. It's very hard to hear him struggle, especially
> > > when it seems no one is
> > > being upfront about his condition.
> > >
> > > I want to wish him the best (and really I do), but I also wonder if
> > > it's time for him to pass
> > > on the torch?
> > >
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